False dichotomies

Two reasons why many arguments fail to move the conversation forward and develop the relationship – from the beautiful book by Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style.

  1. We approach the argument as if it were a dichotomy. Black or white. Right or wrong. Good or evil. For as much as this is convenient to survive, it is not a great representation of how things actually are. And it is certainly not a path to understanding.
  2. We make it personal. It is rarely about finding the truth or the better course of action. It is about beating your opponent. Who is motivated by the wrong values, less intelligent, and not as refined.

When we avoid falling into these traps, we find the place for learning and growth.

Arguments should be based on reasons, not people.

Steven Pinker

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