Reason v. Emotion: the logic about unicorns

Regardless of the issue itself, public debate has reached an impasse: “I” am rational; “you” are emotional.

  1. Rationalist point of view: When “I” make decisions, “I” use reason.
  2. Value-laden point of view: When “you” make decisions, “you” use emotions.

Pause here for a moment. Let “us” examine this. Does anyone anywhere suggest people always use the rational point of view? So why should anyone else base their public debate on such an assumption?

Rationalist point of view is a methodological construct, an assumption that is not observed in reality, of actual human behavior. That is, people constantly make decisions based on their personal value-laden emotions. We can take the next step and believe that

3. Public debate ought to proceed as if people behave rationally.

I observe this is exactly where public debate currently appears to be. We have limited our public debate by assuming people ought to, and do, proceed rationally — knowing full-well that we do not actually behave rationally. This amounts to some impeccable logic about imaginary constructs, like the logic about unicorns.

In conclusion, regardless of the issue itself, we have been debating how imaginary societies ought to be.