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Carrots & Cigarettes

People are able to argue anything by having a different definition of words.

“Cigarettes are healthy because by cigarettes I mean carrots and by healthy I mean that I buy them by the pound.”

That’s no good.

The cure for this is not to try to always stick to some dictionary definition and trying to demand others always use the exact same definition as you would and to hold them to what what they said would’ve meant if they were using the same definition as you would’ve used. That’s not a cure for the problem, that’s exacerbating the problem. “OMG how dare you wanna place some restrictions on cigarettes? I need them in my coleslaw!”

Instead, the cure is to try to understand what the original speaker originally wanted to say, what their underlying mental model was. The map is not the territory, and language is a very fuzzy and insufficient “map” for the territory of reality. Language is important, but reality is more important.