KaziSiddiqui

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Philosophical Landmines

I call it something like correctly identifying the distinction(s) relevant to our contextually salient principles. That's more general and the emphasis is different, but it involves the same kind of zeroing in on the semantic content that you intend to communicate.

Sure, you can have principles like consequentialism, but why bring them up unless the principles themselves are relevant to what you're saying at this moment? Principles float in the conversational background even when you're not talking about them directly. Discussing the principle of the thing can be useful, but such talk is often subrelevant, so to speak, even when you're making use of said principle. ("Subrelevant" because everything is relevant to something or other. I don't believe in total irrelevance - even incoherent babbling is meaningful to a discussion of the subject's state of mind, if nothing else. It's "incoherent" in the sense that the semantic content expressed therein is less than relevant with respect to the concerns of some conversation or presumed conversation.) And sometimes it's the other way around, when the disagreement really is about principles.

What the conversation is Really About can be established by scrutinizing the various positions and perceiving the precise nature of the contrasts between them. This can be done objectively as soon as the sides are willing to commit to their statements, by identifying the principles invoked by each, examining the manners in which they clash, what bearing they have on the matter at hand, etc.

It seems I'm carrying around what almost amounts to a skeleton of a theory on the subject. I'm not sure where it came from, though I'm afraid it may not be particularly original. I've even come up with terminology for things like "cached thoughts". I refer to distinctions drawn from stale contexts that are liable to obsessively pop up in every conversation, either out of habit or cultivated as part of ideological conditioning, as "intrusive distinctions". There is a counterpart to these - blind spots that are routinely ignored, either because no one brings them up or everyone is determined not to see them, but I haven't named those yet. "Extrusive"? No, that doesn't really make sense.

Sorry for rambling on. As you can see, all this theorizing is for my benefit.

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