Steelman Arguments like Louis XIV

Steelman Arguments like Louis XIV

I'm a centrist. I want to see both sides of an argument, and come to my own conclusions.

However, the world is pushing towards polarisation. It's hard to see "the other side's" views as anything but contrary to our own, and any possible insight or understanding is impossible for us to accept.

The psychology behind it:


Evolutionarily we bonded in small groups. This was our survival method. If you didn't become part of a cohesive group, you died. Tribes are examples of group/out-group biases, where those in the out-group are shunned by those in the in-group.

Cognitive dissonance

You can't accept something that doesn't fit with your existing understanding of the world, and instead find more information that confirms, rather than challenges existing beliefs.

The solution

Steelman arguments. Before critiquing another viewpoint, you need to understand it better than the person putting it forward. Ask questions and seek to understand their point of view, and then explore that, delving into the reasons and the rationale behind it.

King Louis XIV used to have his advisors present both sides of an issue he faced. They would give him a rounded view so that he was able to make his decision on his own terms. His response when they gave him both sides? "I will see."

Stop allowing allegiances to one group or another influence what you think about the world.

Come to your own conclusions, and steelman the opposition's arguments in order to find out what you really think.