Level 5 Research Center/Level 5 Phrases

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As we strive to live at level 5, we will inevitably engage people who are living at level 4 or have reverted to level 4 behaviors. It is essential that our engagements be in good faith. Make it entirely clear that you expect intellectual honestyaccurate communication of true beliefs. The goal is to promote both candor and respect.

This is a list of phrases that can be used to encourage the participants to act in good faith and if that is not possible to challenge the assumption of good faith and ultimately disengage.

The courses on practicing dialogue, Socratic methods, and street epistemology can provide more context.

  • How do you know?
    • How did you come to hold that belief?
    • We should double check that claim and research it further to get a better understanding.
  • What evidence can you present for and against that claim? How have you evaluated that evidence? How did you assess the reliability of the sources?
  • What is your level of confidence, expressed as a likelihood percentage or phrase, that the claim you are making is true?
    • How confident are you that claim is true?
    • On a scale from zero to one hundred, how confident are you that claim is true?
    • How committed are you to this claim?
  • What evidence could cause you to change your mind?
    • Note that a Bayesian prior of either 100% or 0% makes subsequent evidence moot.
    • What evidence would cause you to become less confident?
  • Is this a matter of fact, a controversy, or an opinion?
  • Is this an observation or an interpretation?
  • Why do you ask that?
  • You are presenting a false dilemma. That is a fallacy. What intermediate options are we ignoring?
  • That statement is based on a fallacy. (Identify the fallacy).
  • You are arguing against something I have not said. That is an example of a strawman fallacy. Please do not use fallacies as you present your arguments. Please present a sound argument to support your position.
  • Can you identify a specific fallacy in the argument I am making?
  • What, if anything, in what I am saying do you agree with?
  • Can you steelman my argument
  • We seem to be conceptualizing this problem at different levels of complexity.
  • What have we oversimplified about this issue?
  • Let’s review our assumptions.
  • Can you rephrase that in the form of a syllogism (Premise therefore conclusion)?
  • We seem to be going in circles. Can we stipulate that X is true and Y is false and move forward from that agreement?
  • You are saying X and I am saying Y. It is unhelpful to argue matters of fact, we need to research this question. Can we allow reality to arbitrate this dispute? Who (what relevant expert), or what reference, would be a reliable source for this information?
  • Are you (asking / saying) that in good faith?
  • Is it your goal to win, or to gain insight?
  • If you insist on choosing power over reason we cannot have a reasonable dialogue.
  • We are no longer practicing dialogue. (Are you aware that we have stopped practicing dialogue and reverted to an argumentative style?) Do you want to resume our dialogue, or shall we end this conversation for now?
  • You don’t really believe that (and we both know it).
  • This is not about how I feel, this is about matters of fact, and the facts are …
  • Perceptions are (only) personal. It is an error to extrapolate your perceptions beyond your own mental constructs.
  • Why is this so important to you? What is at stake? What do you fear? Can you allow curiosity to displace your fear?
  • I have heard the talking points and sound bites; I was hoping we could have a dialogue and gain new insights.
  • Use the list of level 5 values to identify the specific value they are not now exhibiting, for example:
    • I am sorry, but it seems you are not now valuing reason over power.
  • We both know that’s not true.
  • Are you now acting in good faith?
  • You are making it difficult for me to hold onto my assumption of good faith.
  • You are not acting in good faith. I am disengaging.