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Two Sides Problem: Wicked Motives

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Image Credit While the various two sides problems can arise in many circumstances, the American two-party system provides an unfortunate exemplar. As this is being written, the Democrats are endeavoring to remove Trump from office. The Republicans, including some who savagely criticized Trump before he captured the Republican party, are endeavoring to keep him in place. As would be expected in such a scenario, two sides problems abound. One tactic that can be employed in such two-sided conflicts is claiming that the other side is taking its position for wicked or irrelevant reasons. While it is a fallacy to conclude that a claim is false or without merit simply because the person or group making it is alleged to have wicked or irrelevant motivations, this approach can have considerable psychological appeal. That is, it can be an effective persuasive tool despite (or perhaps because of) the bad logic. One way to employ this method is to simply claim that the other side is driven by wicked or irrelevant motives. For example, the Republican defenders of Trump have asserted that the Democrats hate Trump, that they want to undo the 2016 election, and that they want to win the 2020 election by impeaching Trump. While acting from hate, unjustly undoing an election, and cheating in an upcoming election would all be bad things to do, they have no bearing on the claims about Trump’s guilt or innocence. They do, of course, have bearing on one’s moral assessment of the Democrats, but that is another matter entirely. In addition to simply asserting that the other side is driven by wicked or irrelevant motivations, one can also try to generate the appearance that the other side is driven by such motivations. It seems natural to be suspicious of a side that holds a position in lockstep. In politics this is doubly suspicious, for the party will certainly seem to be driven solely by partisan motivations and goals (which are presumably wicked or at best irrelevant). As. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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