Terms of Debate

Speaking about Locke, and the way that in constructing his argument as a refutation of Filmer he was able to set the terms of debate in a way that favoured his position, but the general point is worth making:

A thinker’s greatest achievement lies not in convincing people that his answers are right but in inducing them to accept his definition of the questions. If they do that, they will be thinking in his terms, even when they disagree, and he will have placed his stamp on the whole dialogue. This was indeed Locke’s achievement.

James Daly, Sir Robert Filmer and English Political Thought, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979, p. 165.

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