How to Read a Book/ Part Two/ Chapter 10/ Criticizing a Book Fairly
Would it make sense to criticize something, or someone, without knowledge of what is being criticize? Arguably no. Much like our dialogues, Adler demonstrates a beautiful schema that allows us, as readers, to proceed with our readings to the extent we can develop an opinion of our own (perhaps a critique, perhaps a compensation, perhaps nothing much at all). We have discusses, or rather communicated with ourselves the idea of "Acknowledging, Understanding, and Constructing"; this three are the basis of dialogue, in a narrow sense specific to the role of the individual and their contributions. Similarly, Adler presents to us the ideas of Acknowledging the words, the sentences, paragraphs, and messages. Then Understanding these same words, and messages. And only after acknowledging and understanding can one "construct", in this case being the critique or complement.
"Reading a book is a kind of conversation. You may think it is not a conversation at all, because the author does all the talking and you have nothing to say. If you think that, you do not realize your full obligation as a reader - and you are not grasping your opportunities."
- How to Read a Book, by Mortimer Adler. -
It is one thing to claim you disagree, it is another to back up the claim with reasonable arguments. Mortimer, I believe, tells us that we must therefore first understand, then disagree, but only if having reasons for it; the reasons could be faults in structure and logic, were contradictions exist within the literary piece. This is the only way to assure a critique being a genuine one after all, otherwise it would be irrelevant and meaningless...