Debate:How useful are contradictions in real debates

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The argument I'm making here is pretty simple. I've been stewing on it a while, and I can't help but imagine a philosopher has tackled the notion before. An informal deduction:

  1. The principle of explosion says that if you take two contradictory premises, you can conclude anything, and thus by intuition, at least one is false.
  2. In the real world, debates tend to be carried out in natural language.
  3. Natural language has nearly contradictory notions built into the definitions of some words.
  4. It's almost trivially easy to take any argument in natural language and construct some kind of verbal contradiction
  5. Contradictions are not very useful to suggesting flaws in verbal debates.

Is this a reasonable stance? Ikanreed (talk) 20:57, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Your logic makes sense, but I think that somewhere between #4 and #5, there's a chance for a genuine discussion (i.e. not argument) to make something useful out of a contradiction either by resolving it or clarifying the language used in #3. Mix in stubbornness (an occasional flaw of mine) and, yes, I agree completely with you: pursuing contradictions are not useful. MarmotHead (talk) 21:02, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
In general the principle of charity would be to assume that your opponent has a coherent point and that contradictions in their arguments are accidental as long as you can figure out which of the two points is the one they actually hold to be true, and as long as their argument does not require both contradictory positions to be true at the same time. It's a flaw if their argument is fundamentally contradictory like that they're arguing for the existence of a square circle, but seizing on any accidental contradiction is just a method of avoiding their central point by focusing on semantics. King Skeleton (talk) 21:06, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
Let's pretend for a moment I'm an asshole and only use debates as a chance to learn when I might be wrong or show my intellectual might against my obvious inferiors, and I'm not concerned with being generally accepting. If you take politeness out of the picture, does it still stand? Ikanreed (talk) 21:31, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
Then it is a means of proving that the enemy is stupid, bwahahahaha! King Skeleton (talk) 21:33, 4 December 2014 (UTC)