List of some rules of Right Reason and Civil Discourse
Note to the reader: For the time being this file is a sketchy practice. It will be organized and filled in later.
My plan is to list here some of the basic requirements of right reason and civil discourse as articulated Plusroot Theory.
Rules of Method
General Rules: Stick to issues under discussion. Avoid equivocation in terminology. Check facts to be sure they are true. Look for the pros and cons in statements. Examine reasons for their validity. Keep emphasis on evaluating theories. Avoid judging the motives of other people.
Improvement: Keeping up to date by merging well established values of traditional logic with authentic modern discoveries. Show how they blend and improve each other. Discovery and creativity are aspects of affirmative traditional logic. The whole idea of a well formed classical tradition is based on development, discovery and rational improvement. Applying the basic requirements of sound rational thinking advances the civility of discourse.
Rules of Affirmative Logic
Definitions: Developing appropriate definitions is a fundamental requirement of sound rational thinking. Learning to use well-formed stipulated definitions can produce more accomplishment with less effort than anything else we do. Promoting well-formed definitions does not impede freedom of thought. Those who assert that definitions interfere with freedom have it exactly wrong. (See Definition Essay, Chapter 15, etc.)
Limits: Affirmative thinking it good enough, but not absolutely perfect. Affirmative thinking can absorb a certain amount of negative intrusion and still be affirmative. (See Affirmative Essay)
Either Or, All or None: There is a crucial distinction between either-or thinking and all-or-none thinking. Either-or thinking is a legitimate use of affirmative logical relationships. All or none thinking is a totalitarian form of over-generalization. [See Totalitarian]
Totalitarian: To address a gray situation as if it were black and white, is serious logical fallacy. [Chapter 2: Negotiation]
Refutation: We need to develop more successful ways to refute and diffuse the powerful forces of antithetical finesse that have gained a foothold in our modern academic and political worlds. The more success we have in restraining fallacies and other root errors the more progress we can make.
Hidden: To deliberately correct roots errors in a successful manner we must be critically conscious of their existence, appreciate their danger, and be practiced in ways to fix them. Most people don't see the crucial dialectical controversy operating in current affairs. If you think it is impossible for people to be blind to urgent matters, read or reread Berlin Diary by William Shirer. It stunning to realize how many people missed the obvious as World War II developed. We humans often overlook the most pressing demands of the moment. To consciously solve problems that intimately involve society, the issues should be in the open. Unfortunately people of stature who have the needed background to handle the problem are already overwhelmed with other pressing business.
Language: Because urgent problems involving logic are so often hidden, we have not developed a language to discuss the issue. To a significant extent stylish antithetical trends have loaded pejorative connotations on ideas basic to classical defense. If we care to discuss the problem, some method must be found to provide affirmative terms so we can talk. The only method I know that works is to stipulate definitions. (See Definition Essay
Defensive: It is important to come across as affirmative in addition to being affirmative. Being constantly on the defensive makes classically oriented thinkers look divisive, when it is really the other way around. Insults are difficult to refute without sounding petty. Pointing out lies is viewed as a negative tactic. People trying to be affirmative are continuously put to the test by malicious assaults.
Complex Question: It is a logical fallacy to expect a simple answer to a complex question. Those of us who wish to defend the basic values of western civilization find ourselves in a difficult situation. The huge number of misrepresentations that need correcting create complex knots that are tedious to untangle. The language needed to defend classical values has been expropriated for other purposes. Being on the defensive, classically oriented analysts appear negative when it is really the other way around. Worst of all, most people do not see the problem so they let things slide. That which slides, tends to go down hill.
Western Civilization. Western civilization spawned vices as well as virtues. This is especially true in the fields of logic and dialectics. (See Plus Essay)
Rules of Civil Discourse
Hyperbole: People involved in discussing serious matters should avoid hyperbole. [See Hyperbole]
Strange Twist: To promote civil discourse we need to unravel ourselves from the strange twists of antithetical intrigue. New style critics use the vices of the past as reason to expurgate the virtues. It happens as follows:
Throughout history, the disasters brought forth by antithetical power ploys have been more dramatic and more noticeable than improvements achieved through affirmative development.
Since antithetical maneuvers often win power, they keep the upper hand. Factional practice paves the way for totalitarian thinking and tyrannical dictatorship. Dictators in power generate more power through oppositional tactics. People who use totalitarian methods to gain power encourage antithetical theories that justify their circuitous maneuvers.
There are only a few occasions in history where affirmative ways of thinking have been dominant. These few occasions have been successful insofar as affirmative values have been used. [Personal note: In a separate study on the Founders of the USA, I offer evidence to show the power of affirmative development in the lives of our US Founders and the importance of classical affirmative logic in creating the US Constitution and our government. I argue that commitment to the basics of affirmative logic is the underlying power that holds us together as a nation. As of Nov. 2000, this research is not yet published on the web. If anyone is interested in finding out more about this study contact virginia(--at--)
New fashioned critics of divergent style seldom give credit to the historic success of affirmative development. In a strange twist of thinking, they use examples of past brutalities as excuse to reject affirmative classical values. Having posited affirmative values as the cause of modern sickness, they a present a revised version of antithetical power management as a solution to social problems. They use vices of the past as excuse to reestablish those same vices today and pretend they have a solution to present problems. Usually they don't see their own contradictions. If they do see some of the contradictions involved, they point out that contraction is the driving force of reality.
To summarize: new style dialecticians, taking advantage of antithetical trends, seek to gain power in the present by reinstating divisive practices of the past. Instead of seeing the real problem, antithetically oriented philosophers blame the failures of the past on classical values. They have it exactly wrong.
The antithetical practice of inverting values, [Tactic (e)], keeps classically oriented thinkers continuously on the defensive. Cruel insults and misinformation come so fast that, by they time classical thinkers refute one false accusation, five more are in the news and the other issues are forgotten.
Totalitarian antithetical dialectics grows in power. Classical values lose ground. Most people do not see what is happening. It is a twisted, mixed up, strange situation.
Working Guidelines of Sound Rational Thinking
(See Chapter Eleven - Improvement)
The working guidelines of sound rational thinking are straightforward requirements that people with cultivated commonsense already know to a satisfactory degree. Some of the basics are: (1) survey the field, (2) identify issues, (3) take steps to clarify meaning, (4) set goals, (5) divide problems into smaller parts, (6) state pertinent questions in writing, (7) determine priorities, (8) plan procedures, (9) design tests, (10) keep records, (11) measure that which is germane and measurable, (12) adequately define that which needs defining, (13) do that which we believe needs doing if it is ethical and economically feasible, (14) When answers seem clear, form a tentative synthesis and, as time passes, follow through with checks and rechecks to test the veracity of the proposed hypothesis. [See Guidelines essay]
These are some of the working guidelines of sound rational thinking. In well-formed reasoning, we use these guidelines when examining matters of consequence. It’s not a big secret. The basic guidelines are easy to understand. Analysis, based on sound rational thinking, is commonsense unbiased logic at work. Part Three of this study examines guidelines of sound rational thinking in detail. [See Method essay]