Before you set out to criticize someone’s claim or position, you should endeavor to grant that position its best possible case. Don’t assume the worst about your opponent, assume the best. Give them any benefit of the doubt. At the very least this will avoid creating a straw man to attack, or opening yourself up to charges that you are being unfair.This is something I always try to do, though I am of course far from perfect and I often go back to read my writing and find cases where I failed to do this. In order to use the principal of charity Dr. Novella points out that we should also use the principal of understanding:
make every effort to truly understand your opponent’s position before attacking it.This principal of understanding and how it relates to framing of issues is what I want to discuss in this post.
But, as I learned Dick also had his own framed view of the world that explained why he acted how he did. As I mentioned, Dick and Charles each had different circles of friends that they tended to associate with. Recently I spent some time with Dick's groups of friends and I learned something. They all pull little pranks on each other constantly. They hit each other in the balls, they give each other titty twisters, they tie each others shoes together, and then they all laugh about it together. People get mad when it happens to them and tell other people to stop it, but then they laugh about it and everything is fine. This is the world that Dick was coming from. In his reference frame it was normal to mess with people and thus he never realized that Charles really meant it when he asked Dick to stop hitting him.