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What do you call a person who will defend a point of view that she may not agree with not just for the sake of argument, but because the point of view is not represented in the argument?

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‘Playing devil’s advocate’ is the most common way of expressing this, though some would argue it's only applicable when you're defending a viewpoint that is clearly incorrect. The person you're talking about may also frequently start his argument with “just for the sake of argument”. (‘Sake’, by the way, not ‘shake’) –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 15 '13 at 20:10
    
Can you provide an example for what you mean by "because the point of view is not represented in the argument"? She defends a point that is not represented in order to draw attention to that point or for some other reasons? –  Nate Sep 15 '13 at 20:38
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@Nate For example, a group of Christians are trashing Muslims. There are no Muslims there to defend themselves, but a steps in and defends them. It is not about arguing, but about defending someone who can't defend themselves. –  TAAPSogeking Sep 15 '13 at 20:44
    
That would be a vicarious action, but I don't know if there exist any word for the person who performs it. Here is a definition of the word "vicarious" from Webster's dictionary: performed or suffered by one person as a substitute for another or to the benefit or advantage of another. Example: "a vicarious sacrifice". –  Nate Sep 15 '13 at 21:05
    
@Nate It shouldn't be about taking up the defense of those who are not defending themselves - that's a sociology issue. It should be about making points one believes to be valid and meaningful to society at large, even if no arguments are raised by those most affected. If your only concern is to properly and concisely describe the apparent thoughts of someone whose activities you've witnessed then, unless you can also demonstrate the effects of those activities, you are wasting time - everyone's. –  rgarrig Sep 15 '13 at 23:53

3 Answers 3

Such a person is being objective perhaps? In the sense of being neutral and rational.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivity_(philosophy)

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The phrase I would use would be defender of the underdog, which is an individual who defends people just because they need defending. It is different to devils advocate, which is an individual who adopts a position they may not agree with for the purposes of debate.

The defender of the underdog

Fearless defender of the underdog hailed

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The Walter Block syndrome - defending the undefendable.

This is a question that needs to belong to the philosophy department because to arrive at an answer, you would need to get behind the philosophy.

In conventional English, the title of the book would have been "defending the indefensible".

It is libertarian jurisprudence fulfillment of free-market principles.

The principle behind such sentiment is that every known position, contentious or otherwise, must be defended as a matter of economic principle.

What you see as defensible (a steel manufacturer executive) might be working the system to his/her benefit - could be ethically right but morally wrong. Is the non-criminal executive a lesser criminal than the pimp? Why is a grocer allowed to go about his/her business, while a pimp cannot? You, in your frame of mind, of course has the answer - "What, a pimp vs a grocer? Isn't that a no-brainer?"

The Libertarian viewpoint is that his so-called "so-called authorities" (cascaded so-called intended) are making an economic offer that the offeree is not allowed to refuse

  • the offer of protection for taxation
  • the offer of ethical values at the cost of freedom

That such offers are against free-market principles. In a free market, you are allowed to refuse an economic offer of trade.

Therefore, a Walter Block disciple/sympathizer/adherent.

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Were this on philosophy.SE, it would be a good answer. But 'a Walter Block disciple' really isn't recognizable in normal English. –  TimLymington Sep 16 '13 at 13:30

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