Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Make the Goal of the Conversation Explicit


I feel like in general, discussion have the implicit goal that the actors should teach one another things and learn things.

Yet, in general, I think that the goal is more to have a social interaction, with a seemingly argumentative reasoning.

It does not bother me that people claim obviously false statements, when it was clear that the discussion was not about sharing knowledge, but having a social time.

For example, imagine someone claims that homeopathy works because it was proven to work on horses. By default, I would challenge the statement by asking for reasons to believe this, like links to the scientific work entailing the claim. In general, this make the conversation difficult. Then people say that “yes, it is true, trust me. Plus, it worked on me last time I was sick and my cousin Paul said the same thing.”.

In general, in that situation, people use a lot of fallacies and tend to use binary thinking and claim stuff without good reasons to believe.

In that situation, I now try to change my mental idea on the purpose of the conversation and make this explicit. I say “This conversation is about having a nice moment together, maybe involving mystical stories. It most likely won’t change my mind. Hence, I decide to pretend to agree with you for the sake of having a good time together.”. Time will tell whether I need to make this process in my head instead.

Notes linking here