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.