Every argument proceeds in two levels (at least)
- object level: the content of the argument in which the discussants swim (so to speak)
- meta level : in which the argument is enbedded
The second is invariably much more implicit, unreified. Yet the stakes here are typically much higher
One of the most key points is the assumption of good faith.
So if A decides that B is not arguing in good faith, it stops mattering what reasons A uses to excuse himself.
"You are asking a hypothetical question" sounds to me like an object level rendering of the meta level "you are arguing in bad faith"
A couple of...
of the meta level stopping an object level discussion
Sye Bruggencate kicked off stage.
On the python programming list a certain «Dihedral88888» used to put the most weird responses.
Someone realized it was a bot to experiment with the Turing Test!
After that oldtimers needed to inform the newcomers that Dihedral was not a "person" to be argued with!!
In response to questions Ive added further explanation and examples of two levels
Game and Matrix
Lets start with simple games; say Monopoly.
In Monopoly we agree to some simple rules of how things proceed (by throwing 2 dice) and the “facts” such as Mayfair is expensive property and Baltic Avenue is cheap etc.
Outside the context of the game the rules are not there and the facts are non-sense — a monopoly 1000$ (MSD) will not get you a 1$ (USD) loaf of bread.
Still people play the game… Why?
If you look at football at the game level you would see two bunches of 11 people kicking around a ball.
However the real point of that activity comes from those 2x11 but from the thousands who need an excuse to need an excuse to mill around drunk hollering raving. This (for football) constitutes
Matrix (for our purposes) has three interlocking meanings
- A net — fine as gossamer but all-surrounding
- The Film (the Dark Side!)
- The generating “Mother-Principle”
All games exist in a matrix
- Literal games like monopoly, football
- Metaphoric games — certain mathematicians of the logicist/formalist school define math as playing with symbols without giving them (absolute) meanings
- Arguments. An informal (heated) discussion, a formal debate, a court-case are all arguments… with different matrices
1. Notice outside the lift
[Elevator for Americans]
Dogs must be carried in the lift
Now think for a moment what this means
And consider this “meaning”
All people who use the lift must bring a dog that they carry
Why is this meaning far-fetched?
Because the matrix of domesticated dogs is that they can bite and bark and pee and poop … inconveniently. (Apart from the second) presumably these should be at the owners' expense!
2. Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is the instruction given by Krishna (who is to Hindus somewhat analogous as Jesus is to Christians)
The Gita has two audience-members — Arjun and Dhritarashtra — on opposite sides of a war.
Arjun asks a number of questions. Krishna evades,dodges,dances around every one of them. Until at the end Arjun exclaims
My confusion is destroyed, my doubts are dispelled, I am situated in knowledge by your grace O Lord and am ready to fructify your instructions.
Chap 18 verse 73
I should mention that "grace" is a poor translation for prasad in the original. Like the bread and wine in a Catholic church is actually much more physical.
At the same time Dhritarashtra too received the full teaching ie the full knowledge But he received it very differently — no gratitude or even a word of thanks. As a result even though he had the power and authority to end the war his moha delusion won costing him the obliteration of his kingdom lineage family and his favorite but erring son.
What is the difference?
Same at the knowledge (object) level.
Utterly different at the matrix level of prasad.
Arjun receives in the matrix of a confused but suppliant devotee; which emancipates him.
Dhritashtra receives as an arrogant and deluded king; he is destroyed as a result
When you begin to understand that the matrix is the key thing but is always most elusive you wish like Neo to exit. This theory of escape is called in Indian philosophy Vedanta (end of knowledge or knowing)
To explain at length would require books! (And I am not qualified!!)
But heres a very rough 3 point summary
- All our reality (so-called) is a simulation — sansar — in invisible matrices
- The meta-matrix of all matrices is the great illusion — maya
Curious coincidence: matrix and maya are both "she"!!
- When you escape you see the reality. Plato called it the Form. Kant called it Noumenon. Hindus call it (usually) Brahman