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The logic impasse

I've been in situations where I've had to pick how to approach implementing a new feature and shipping it to the market, and think that 'Approach A' makes perfectly logical sense accounting for everything that we know at this point and the goals that we are working towards. While, at the same time, one of my engineers feels that 'Approach A' doesn't make perfectly logical sense and isn't convinced that is the way forward.

In some cases, the engineer has an alternative approach, 'Approach B', that she thinks is the logical way forward, and in some other cases, there is no alternative approach proposed but simply a disagreement on whether the proposed approach is the most logical way forward.

This is what I call the logic impasse. And this is a much milder version to similar logic impasses I have faced while talking about the origins of the Universe or climate change or whether we should introduce universal basic income or whether automation will lead to large scale unemployment.

In scenarios like this, I have come out of discussions unable to comprehend why the engineer (or the people that disagree with me on any of the other topics I mentioned) fails to see the logic in my argument and why they fail to agree with me despite failing to provide a convincing logical counter-argument.

However, upon reflection, I now see that they would have gone out of the discussions thinking the exact same thing about me.

The folly is in thinking that logical arguments are universal truisms.

We tend to think this because we first learn to make logical arguments in situations where every person has a common way of identifying axioms. For instance, if 'X - 3 = 6', we will all logically conclude that 'X = 9' simply because we all have the exact same understanding of the definitions of subtraction and addition and whole numbers.

If someone came with a world view where they believed that '-' depicts addition and not subtraction, then they would logically conclude that if 'X - 3 = 6', then 'X = 3' and they would be scratching their heads trying to explain why we are wrong and illogical to conclude that 'X = 9'.

Everybody thinks logically. It is the underlying assumptions that vary among us.

In order to lead, influence, win over and convince someone to arrive at the same conclusions as us, there is little point in spending our efforts trying to explain the logic through which we arrived at the conclusion and to point out what is wrong with the other person's logic. Instead, we need to dig deeper until we have a common denominator to build upon.

In the case of 'X - 3 = 6', we both had the same understanding of addition and subtraction and whole numbers, but we differed in our understanding what the '-' and '+' signs stood for. By doing away with the signs and writing out the equations in English, 'Subtracting three from X results in 6', we would both logically conclude that 'X = 9' despite our differences in understanding when it comes to what each sign represents.

I now try and identify that common denominator with my engineers, and with everyone else I have any kind of an argument with, and then draw logical conclusions from there.

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