In graduate school, the undersigned attorney once presented a paper on a comparative analysis involving a Chinese philosopher. At the end of the presentation, the professor asked a question pointedly: “Is there such a thing as Chinese philosophy?”
The question, of course, went straight to the traditional paradigm underpinning Western philosophical thought: of logical analysis; of syllogistic, Aristotelian methodology; of, “If A, then B”, etc. — as opposed to short, concise, declarative statements illustrating history, community, context and wisdom.
In other words, the difference between persuasion as a methodology in a universal sense, applied across any and all cultural lines, as opposed to the micro-application of wisdom within a given community. For, in either sense, it is ultimately wisdom after which we seek.
There is, indeed, a tradition in Western Philosophy, beginning with the Pre-Socratics, onward through Plato, Aristotle, the Medievals, to the present where deconstructionism has essentially inversely cannibalized philosophy, in which the issue of what constitutes a persuasive argument must be questioned.
Can a paternalistic declaration of wisdom prevail in a debate? Is a mere assertion of truth enough to convince? In any legal context, one must systematically present one’s case with facts and “the law”.
In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must take care and follow the traditional rules of persuasive argumentation. In a family, the rule of Mom and Dad may prevail; in a community, a Confucius-like paternalism may be effective; in the arena of law, one must take care and systematically present a persuasive, logically coherent argument.
Only by following in such a methodology of persuasion can one expect success in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire