play devil’s advocate

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MOTIVATION

같이 일하는 사람들끼리 밥을 먹다가 누구한명이 획기적인 앱 아이디어라며 이런 제안을 합니다.

“우버같은 비슷한 컨셉으로, 하지만 자동차공유가 아닌 개인집 화장실 공유를 하는거야! 리뷰시스템도 달고…”

아무리 sharing economy(공유경제)가 대세라지만 개인화장실 공유라니.

하지만 그 친구는 이런저런 이유를 대어가며 자신의 아이디어의 타당성을 주장합니다.

하지만 문제점도 많이 보입니다. 예를들어 위생문제, 사생활 보호문제, 볼일 후 냄새문제 등은 어떻게 처리할 것인지.

저는 친구의 의견에 완전히 반대하는 것은 아니였습니다. 단지 최고의 결론을 모색하기위해 일부러 반대되는 의견을 낸 것입니다.

이처럼 “누군가의 아이디어를 반대하는 것은 아니지만, 다른 관점으로 접근했을 때도 그 주장이 타당한지 알아볼 때” 쓰기 좋은 표현이 있습니다.

“Wait…let me play devil’s advocate here..”

[DEFINITION]
  1. to put forward arguments against or objections to a proposition-which one may actually agree with-purely to test the validity of the proposition.

COMMENT

사람들은 보통 한번 마음에 쏙 들면, 자기가 보고싶은 것만 보려고 하는 확증편향(confirmation bias)이 있습니다.

이런 성향은 최고의 의사결정을 내리는데 방해가 됩니다.

Devil’s advocate는 악마의 대변인이라는 뜻으로 옛날 성당에서 누군가를 선츨할 때 이 사람이 뽑히지 말아야 할 이유를 대는 역할을 가진 위원들이였습니다.

이들이 있었던 이유는 하나. 이상한 사람 뽑는 것을 방지하기 위해.

FROM MOVIES
  • What? Well, Haley, I think you have pretty good instincts so I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but just to play devil’s advocate, if this boy came for tutoring, maybe he’s trying to change. (One Tree Hill)
  • Marge, may I play devil’s advocate for a moment? (Simpson)
  • Marella: Sir, could I play devil’s advocate for a moment? Archangel: I encourage it. (Airwolf)
  • Not to play devil’s advocate, but have you tried less drastic measures? For instance, maybe styling your hair differently. (Nip / Tuck)
  • A: Can l play devil’s advocate? B: Yeah, be quick. A: Maybe the kid’s in a room without any windows. His internal clock’s screwed up (Kidnapped)

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FROM NEWS
  • Naturally, there are other ways the GMAT can get you to think you have more information than you really do, but the dominant strategy to avoid this trap altogether is to play devil’s advocate. (Bloomberg)
  • He loved to play devil’s advocate. I love to play devil’s advocate, so we were on much the same wavelength. (NYT)
  • Just to play devil’s advocate, shouldn’t you support this provision if it “exports growth?” (Economist)

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FROM TWITTER
  • Run for the hills when the phrase “I’m gonna play devil’s advocate here…” is uttered.
  • “let’s add some balance to the conversation” is just as violent as “let me play devil’s advocate
  • Again, to play Devil’s Advocate to my own opinion, Marvel did an amazing job with new Ms. Marvel and parts of Thor as well.

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VIDEO
  • and I know you’re just playing devil’s advocate

META & CONTEXT
  • Is it a slang? No.
  • Can I use it in an email? Yes.
  • Can I use it in a formal setting? I wouldn’t. Use more formal phrases such as “one could argue that..” or “an opposing viewpoint is …”
context plot
data source: Davies, Mark. (2008-) The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/

PHRASE HISTORY

20세기부터 인기가 많아진 표현이다.

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image source: Google Ngram

TYPICAL MISTAKES

1. 동사와 소유격사이에는 관사가 안붙습니다.

– Let me play the devil’s advocate for a second.. (X)

– Let me play a devil’s advocate for a second.. (X)

– Let me play devil’s advocate for a second.. (O)

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