devil's advocate


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devil's advocate

One who argues against or attacks an idea, argument, or proposition—even if one is in favor of it—for the sake of debate or to further examine its strength, validity, or details. Refers to the "Advocatus Diaboli," a person employed by the Catholic Church to argue against the canonization of a saint (and therefore help determine if that person is truly worthy of sainthood). I'm all for universal health care, but I'll be the devil's advocate in asking how the government intends to fund such a massive undertaking. Tom is always the devil's advocate in any given conversation because he loves picking apart other people's arguments.
See also: advocate

devil's advocate

One who argues against a cause or position either for the sake of argument or to help determine its validity. For example, My role in the campaign is to play devil's advocate to each new policy before it's introduced to the public . This term comes from the Roman Catholic Church, where advocatus diaboli (Latin for "devil's advocate") signifies an official who is appointed to present arguments against a proposed canonization or beatification. It was transferred to wider use in the mid-1700s.
See also: advocate

a/the devil’s ˈadvocate

a person who argues against something, even though they really agree with it, just to test the arguments for it: Helen doesn’t really think that women shouldn’t go out to work. She just likes to play devil’s advocate.
See also: advocate
References in periodicals archive ?
We wanted to compare authentic dissent to the devil's advocate in their impact not just on thinking, but on the solutions they generated.
For Devil's Advocate and End of Days, a hero acts alone with his physical body to bring about redemption to the situation, for the time being.
The devil's advocate might respond that enhanced intelligence at the top could have a "trickle-down" effect, bringing technological and cultural blessings to the society as a whole.
As for his readers' reaction to the resurrection of the destroyed Devil's Advocate, Slonoff reported: "We lost a few subscribers, were taken to task on our editorial page by a few letter writers, but it was a decision I never regretted.
In light of these findings, researchers might consider the utility of adding a new character to Galbraith's (1984) existing cast of innovation roles: The role of the "devil's advocate" might offer a standpoint for those who voice objections to innovation adoption or implementation for very legitimate reasons.
Morris West, the Australian novelist who died in October, made his reputation first with The Devil's Advocate in 1959, a novel about a priest dying of cancer who is sent to a village in Calabria to help bolster the case against the canonization of a British officer shot by the Communists during World War II.
I would like to say that, in this month's feature, Stephen Abram is playing devil's advocate. But, alas, no irony is involved--we seem inevitably headed online, wirelessly yet.
During classes, no matter what position we took on an issue, he would play devil's advocate, taking the other side to impress upon us the importance of critical thinking.
We sometimes play devil's advocate, asking, `Is this the best way to do it?'
As tax professionals, have you ever played "devil's advocate" in order to test your beliefs?
El segundo lugar fue para el tambien recien estrenado "Devil's Advocate" (El Abogado del Diablo), con 12,2 millones de dolares.
Likewise, the role playing of devil's advocate challenged the correctness and soundness of the leader's advocated (directive leader) or suggested (participative leader) solution or any other member's suggested solution shortly after it was presented to the group, emphasized the importance of the decision making process for selecting the highest quality or best solution, invited others to present different alternatives in response to any solution offered by any group member, and encouraged the substantiation or rationale for any given solution by any given group member.
Make sure you aren't regularly playing the devil's advocate or sleuth.
Less well known, perhaps, are his invention of the aqualung, his World War II Resistance work, and his irascible nature, which has led to occasional breaks with his family (he recently filed legal papers against his son Jean-Michel in a dispute over a resort in Fiji), and to devil's advocate positions in interviews like this one.
In contrast, the right hemisphere acts as a devil's advocate that, when necessary, bursts through defenses and organizes a revision of the internal status quo.