The Principle of Non-Arbitrary Distinction

Written on May 13, 2009. Written by .

Absolute principles do not contain arbitrary lines. Here, the word “absolute” means that the principle is based on objective reasoning rather than the personal prejudices of its creator. So we can see why this statement is true because if there was a line being drawn in the argument for an absolute principle, there would have to be an objective reason for placing the line where it was placed. If such an objective reason exists, then the line is not arbitrary.

What we will find is that there are very few absolute principles. Principles are usually just handy guidelines that apply to contexts satisfying certain constraints. So whenever you find an arbitrary line being drawn, you need to ask yourself, what personal prejudices are being inserted into the argument?

This principle may sound obvious, but I believe it is very important to point out. It provides us with an important technique for refuting arguments. First you show that a spectrum exists, then you demonstrate that the argument suggests a distinction between the two ends of the spectrum, and finally you ask where the dividing line is drawn precisely.

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