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Types of Disagreements

There are only three types of disagreements. 1. Factual 2. Semantic. 3. Faith.

 

Factual

Factual disagreements are the easiest to resolve. When two (or more) people have a disagreement over facts they simply appeal to a reliable source for verification.

Examples:
Who won the world series in 1966? (The Orioles)
What is the Atomic Weight of Gold? (196.967)
Where is Albert Einstein's Brain? (New Jersey)

If that doesn't work the disagreement isn't over facts, it is over Semantics or Faith.

 

Semantics

Semantic disagreements are complicated because people can have a semantic disagreement even if they agree on the facts. When people use the same words to mean different things they are having a semantic disagreement.

In order for people to communicate ideas to each other the words they use must mean (close to) the same thing to each person. Most people don't know that even when people speak the same language words almost never mean exactly the same thing to everyone. This is a fact of nature caused by the way the human mind works and language is acquired. Words can (at best) only mean approximately the same thing.

Because words mean different things to different people semantic disagreements are common. Semantic disagreements are frequently mistaken for factual disagreements. In those cases they are frustrating because ones opponent seems to be willfully disregarding the facts.

Examples:
Why are those glasses there? There are no glasses there, only cups.
Why are you huffing and puffing, it was just a short walk? Easy for you to say.
Science is a religion.

 

Faith

Faith based disagreements are the most complicated and the most heated. When people do not agree what the words mean or what facts are relevant they are having a semantic disagreement.

Even if you manage to untangle the semantic difficulties it is still possible to have disagreements on faith. Although if you do have disagreements on faith it is unlikely that you agree on semantics.

In a faith based disagreement it is frequently not possible to agree on what facts are relevant.

Examples:
The Bible is the infallible word of God.
Only things that can be measured are real.
Technological progress is the only hope of humanity's future.

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