Graham responds to my Aleatory Encounters post. There’s a lot there, but I’d never heard this before:
In this sense, the devil’s advocate is the more palatable forerunner of the troll. But remember that the devil’s advocate had a concrete purpose: prior to granting sainthood, the Church wanted someone to research and present all things that the devil might say on behalf of the unworthiness of the candidate for sainthood. Here it was a question of being very careful before publicly recognizing the saintly features of the new saint. Trolling, by contrast, is part of a process in which no saint ever emerges, and indeed no good idea even emerges. It is an endless trial, without even the execution that occurs at the end of Kafka’s famous unfinished novel. It is critique for the sake of critique. I am quite serious that I think the Troll has replaced the Sophist (there have been others in between) as the new consummate figure of the anti-philosopher in our time.
Read the rest here.