Political Discourse & Variations in Axioms
This post makes a very important point, one that I wish was better understood across the political spectrum.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that debates re. various political issues often boil down to:
1. Differences in definitions; and
2. Differences in fundamental presumptions (i.e., axioms) regarding human nature, the world, ethics, etc.
- The nature vs. nurture debate;
- Differing definitions of “personhood” in the abortion debate;
- Originalist vs. “living constitutionalist” approaches to constitutional law
I’m sure there are many others.
For my part, I noticed #1 many years ago; notice of #2 – frequently a root cause of #1 – came later. Methinks, however, many people never realize such differences at all; instead, they
- (at best) talk past their opponents, and fail to realize why said opponents never come around to their POV; or
- (at worst) fail to see where their opponents are coming from, and instead conclude that those opponents are guided by malice, ignorance, or irrationality, rather than reasoning derived from different starting presumptions.
I find both such practices unwelcome, & unhelpful to the cause of rational discourse.