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Philosophy is good. Sophistry is bad. At what point does philosophy degenerate into sophistry? This is an important question. The answer defends philosophy from erroneous or malicious misclassification, i.e strawman attacks. Philosophy and sophistry do not mark opposing ends of a spectrum, so you must dispense with that supposition upfront.

Introduction to Indian Philosophy: A Free Online Course | Open Culture

Philosophy is not evasive. Philosophy is methodical, and transparent. The more rational the philosophy, the more methodical and transparent its processes, and the more it relies on objective, impartial evidence to support its conclusions. Less rational philosophies are more subjective, favour intuitive or traditional patterns, and present assumptions as premises.

Sophistry however is non-philosophy. It is evasive, attempts to distort or obfuscate, employs rhetoric in place of reason, and commits the many sins of poor philosophers (confirmation bias, ad hominem attacks, circular/faux reasoning, etc.). The sophist practices these methods purposefully, in order to avoid loss of face, deflect criticism, conceal error, or escape embarrassment. The sophist refuses to answer directly and refuses to provide explicit terms and comply with the standards of genuine debate. The sophist knows he can never win in the arena of philosophy so spoils the protocols and fouls the game.

Now consider your beliefs: are they philosophically supportable? Would you need sophistry to defend them?

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This I believe, based on my own experience and that of native speakers of other languages who have cracked tonal languages. After about two years of stumbling and fumbling idiotically with Chinese on a daily basis, something weird occurred inside my head. I can liken it only to the impression conveyed by the Buddha statues that show the Buddha manually splitting his head apart to reveal another, true self beneath.

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If, as is shown in this diagram, PR enclosed all communications and marketing activities, then it acquires commercial significance at a stroke. A logical case for this is also apparent: since all marketing activities concern publics, then Public Relations is the natural sphere in which those activities should be managed. For this to be refuted, marketing would be forced to make the bizarre assertion that its activities do not concern publics! Seen this way, only a small portion of the PR activities are indirectly commercial.

To me, the following configuration is an obvious solution to the problem of ascertaining the role of PR in revenue generation:

(Adapted from Cornelissen, 2020: 22)

A: corporate advertising (promotion of the brand, not a specific product)
B: direct marketing and sales promotions (e.g. e-mail and freebies, respectively)
C: distribution, pricing, and product development
D: corporate PR (internal communications and public affairs)
E: marketing PR (publicity and sponsorship, i.e. traditional public awareness activities)
F: mass media advertising (traditional advertising)

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The following model (by Cornelissen, 2020) shows the relatedness and constituent activities of marketing and PR. The C area intrigues me most. According to the author, activities in C concern price, distribution, and product development. Of the solid rings in the model, C is by far the largest. Does this mean therefore that a company's marketing is achieved through operations? Distribution (another name for "logistics") is typically managed as an "operation". Product development - although influenced by marketing - usually occurs as a separate operation (series of operations, to be specific), i.e. outside a marketing department, usually in a technical or engineering function.


(source: Cornelissen, 2020: 22)

A: corporate advertising (promotion of the brand, not a specific product)
B: direct marketing and sales promotions (e.g. e-mail and freebies, respectively)
C: distribution, pricing, and product development
D: corporate PR (internal communications and public affairs)
E: marketing PR (publicity and sponsorship, i.e. traditional public awareness activities)
F: mass media advertising (traditional advertising)

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This model centralises Tech Comm. This model is designed to describe communications practices in companies that are highly technical, so is less descriptive of communications practice in companies whose product is not technical. As in the PTC model described earlier, Tech Comm resides between Corp Comm and PR.

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This model describes another way of operating and conceptualising Corporate Communication, Technical Communication, and Public Relations as three distinct, but interrelated, departments or functions.

A: Corp Comm and Tech Comm joint-author messages for external stakeholders; PR acts as gatekeeper
B: Tech Comm authors messages for external stakeholders; PR acts as gatekeeper
C: Tech Comm and Corp Comm joint-author messages for internal stakeholders
D: Corp Comm authors non-technical messages for external stakeholders; PR acts as gatekeeper

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Let's consider what is these days a heresy: Corporate Communication is separate to Public Relations. The two operate largely in isolation, similar to the Marketing and PR silos described in the A ("Apart"/"Silo") model.

We will call this Model X, and illustrate it using the following model:

In Model X, PR and Corporate Communication are separate. PR handles all communications targeted at external stakeholders; Corp Comm creates all communications intended for internal stake holders.

Simple? Perhaps. But in companies that offer technical goods and services, can such a separation be operationally realistic? Must there not be some informational overlap? If the public require product knowledge, yes. If internal communications contain product information, yes. Given the certainty of these practical requirements therefore, how can these two functions be isolated? Stakeholders - both internal and external - will have technical information requirements, but the model features no such explicit linkage illustrating the mode or source of this adhesive.

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In Buddhism, striving is considered a cause of suffering so is best avoided. If a society observed this recommendation, its progress would be zero. Should people pursue progress and embrace the suffering allegedly caused thereby? Or should the benefits of progress be weighed against the suffering, in an objective sense? In other words, should the claims of belief be put through the crucible of practice and accepted or rejected based on the test? Or is that just too sensible?

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