A Critical Frame Mistake You’re Probably Making (And How to Fix It)

Unless you live in a cave or have taken a hiatus from the internet, you have undoubtedly seen the video of Jordan Peterson debating the feminist Kathy Newman from Channel 4 in the UK. If you haven’t, watch the damn video already. It’s been talked about a lot for many reasons.

For starters, it shows a well-reasoned set of viewpoints by a highly intelligent personality psychologist in a sit-down debate with a one-trick pony feminist. Peterson clearly reveals the lack of logic in her thinking and her desire to misinterpret his actual points so clearly that many average people viewing this video will never view feminism the same way again.

Frankly, this video was an absolute intellectual slaughter by Jordan Peterson that highlights the social discourse of our era. I don’t know if he realizes how iconic this interview will become, perhaps even decades down the road, as a highlight of the social issues of our era.

The above video by Charisma on Command discusses the dynamics of this debate and how to respond to presuppositions of statements you disagree with. You don’t necessarily have to watch the video to understand this article, but it will greatly highlight the lessons taught here. I link to Charisma on Command a lot on this website because their information is excellent and it falls in line with many of the lessons that I teach.

And for the purpose of this article, the above video, as well as the interview itself, demonstrate both the power and weakness of phony presuppositions. Kathy Newman attacks Jordan Peterson with many false presuppositions that Jordan Peterson skillfully deflects. Because she is so extreme with this tactic, and because he is so well-spoken, you can clearly see how she tries to get his arguments wrong. Even most leftists can see it!

Now, there is a problem with presuppositions that almost everyone runs into. Many presuppositions you encounter are not obvious as most of the ones in the video. And the problem is that if you don’t call them out, you end up letting the other person change the parameters of the debate, as well as your frame.

This is easily one of the most important mistakes that you are probably making establishing your frame and debating other people! Even men with powerful frames and/or skilled debaters fall into this trap a lot!

I have fallen for this as well, many times, and I now seek to be much more mindful of people’s presuppositions and call them out accordingly. This article is short, very informative, and should be easily understood, so I strongly recommend you read through it.

This will essentially be “Part 4” of the frame articles, which you will find below:

These articles don’t necessarily need to be read first, but at some point I strongly recommend reading them as well. Hell, I wouldn’t be a very good writer if I didn’t think you’d get a ton of value out of my work. Many people on Twitter have thanked me for these articles, often calling them “very insightful.” Check them out when you can.

With all of this said, let’s discuss the issue of presuppositions in more detail.

What is a Presupposition and Why Are They So Important?

A presupposition is the implicit assumption(s) behind any given statement.

Every statement has to have a presupposition in order to have meaning. The presupposition may be something that you agree or disagree with. For most people, the biggest issue is falling into the trap of letting presuppositions they disagree with change the parameters of the debate.

It is extremely common for people to sneak in presuppositions you disagree with into the statements that they make. You absolutely must address these, or else you will immediately find yourself falling for their frame and they will have changed the parameters of debate. If you’re out in public and you pay attention to this, especially after reading this article, you’ll notice that it happens many times in a single day.

It’s absolutely certain that at multiple points in your life, someone has established a presupposition that you disagreed with but you didn’t call out, and thus they effectively manipulated your argument and frame. I know this because it’s happened to all of us.

You’ve also rebutted presuppositions instinctively at times. Sometimes presuppositions are so obvious that everyone knows they’re not true. These are the easiest ones to identify and call out.

You must practice identifying and calling out phony presuppositions. This will establish your frame much better and stop you from arguing things that you disagree with.

Now to make it much clearer what I’m talking about, let’s discuss some examples below.

Examples of Presuppositions:

Statement: I go.

Presupposition: You’re alive and physically capable of going somewhere.

Statement: You don’t read anymore?

Presupposition: You used to read.

Statement: You’re doing better.

Presupposition: You used to suck.

Statement: Our next step is to break the barrier so we can get through together.

Presupposition: We’re actively working together.

Statement: You talked to the Russians? This is treasonous.

Presupposition: You’re not supposed to talk to our most powerful rival who has the ability to blow us off the face of the earth 100 times over, because we, the globalists, leftists, and the CIA, who are all guilty of committing heinous crimes against Americans and humanity in general for many decades, said so.

(Heh)

 

As I’ve said, every statement has a presupposition behind it. I cannot think of any examples whatsoever that do not. If you can think of one, feel free to stump me in the comments section.

Even me asking you if you understand presuppositions has several presuppositions behind it.

 

Example: Do you understand now how presuppositions work?

Presupposition: I am teaching you an accepted-upon term and concept known as a “presupposition.” You are a human being capable of understanding this question, and you speak English. Your brain is healthy and functioning, and hopefully, you’re intelligent enough to grasp this concept. 

 

Get the idea?

Again, the problem with presuppositions is not when you run into ones that you agree with. The problem most people have is effectively calling out presuppositions that they disagree with, especially when they are difficult to pick out.

How Do You Deal With a Presupposition You Disagree WIth?

The best way to deal with a presupposition you disagree with is to identify it and call it out.

This is not always easy. It takes practice, and I’m not even an expert at it myself.

Sometimes things happen so quickly and on the spot that you don’t have the perfect response. Sometimes you can see what they did but you feel like you don’t have the right words to rebutt what they said.

This makes the case for practicing this in your spare time. Here are some examples of rebuttals to presuppositions to set your mind in the proper direction.

Example #1

Girl: Tsk, tsk. You’re not doing your job.

You: Don’t tell me what I’m doing with that passive-aggressive, condescending attitude, little girl. You’re talking to a grown man.

Her presupposition here is that you don’t know what you’re doing and you need some girl, with all of her personal problems and emotional instability, to nag you in order for you to do what you need to do.

If you have a goal and purpose and know you’re on the road to achieving it, you don’t need some nagging thot telling you what to do. Western women have poor boundaries in general, so you need to call out her presupposition in order to establish your boundaries and frame.

You must never allow someone to set this frame on you. It will actively make you feel like much less of a man, and they will keep pushing you to see what else they can get away with. You must always attack the presupposition and attitude of what they’re saying.

This particular response was confrontational, so it’s not always advised in every situation, but it gets the point across. Most girls will balk at the fact of confrontation, although there’s a chance she’ll escalate it in certain situations depending on her respect for you, her disagreeableness, and her ego-investment into the situation.

I’d be more cautious about using this level of confrontation in a workplace situation or if you’re having a public debate where you’re attempting to appear more reasonable. Slightly less confrontational responses include, “Don’t be condescending, I don’t play that game,” or a simple “Tsk-tsk nothing.” You can also say, “Whatever you say there, mom,” with a laugh.

Example #2

Jordan Peterson: Something something women are not the same as men something something…

Feminist Harpy: So you’re admitting that…

See the Charisma on Command video at the beginning of this article for more on this one.

The presupposition to “so you’re admitting that” is that you’re ideologically on the other side of the person and that you’re admitting you were wrong about something by making a statement. The person views you as an ideological opponent.

A good response would be “I’m not admitting anything, I’m stating clearly supported evidence.” If their behavior continues and they continue to talk in this manner, which it probably will, you can call out the overall attitude that they are displaying.

Example #3

Leftist: It seems like everyone who’s against welfare is actually a racist.

You: Why do you think that these minority groups are incapable of working for themselves and need my money in order to survive? Maybe you’re the one who’s racist and you’re justifying it by being a thief.

As I’ve said multiple times in the past, the best thing you can do when arguing with leftists is to call out the phony presupposition of their moral superiority, then hit them with facts when appropriate. They simply don’t argue with facts very often and have to rely on posturing and emotion to “win” an argument. In most cases, I wouldn’t bother getting into a logical debate with too many facts and analysis, unless you have time to get them across and you have an audience that you can persuade.

A response like this calls out the presupposition pretty clearly but is very confrontational. Don’t expect to persuade the person you’re arguing with, or any of their supporters, after this one. Expect them to get very defensive and expect the subject to shift to racism since it’s an emotionally-loaded term.

A less confrontational, more reasoned response would be “I don’t understand this overuse of the term ‘racism.’ People have the right to not want their money stolen from them by a corrupt government who clearly wastes the majority of their money. People have an altruistic side by nature and they can, and would, donate to private charity instead. Plus without welfare, there are more jobs available since there are much fewer taxes on business and more people can be empowered to work for themselves”

This is way less confrontational, more factual, and it still addresses the presupposition well.

Example #4: 

Girl: (After sex) When are you going to take me out?

You: Who said I was going to do that?

Analysis: The presupposition here is that you’re going to take the girl out because she has a vagina and that’s the normal way of conducting human relationships. Whether she’s worth taking out is for you to determine.

She’s testing the waters to see what type of relationship she’s getting into and if she can extract commitment from you. She doesn’t even necessarily assume the presupposition is true.

If you’re only in the relationship for sex, your value needs to be high enough and the sex has to be good enough that she sees you as a viable sexual partner for the above response to work and continue seeing her. If she’s truly looking for a boyfriend or long-term partner, this response probably won’t work for you. You may want to just keep stringing her along, if that’s your style.

How To Practice Identifying And Attacking Presuppositions:

These examples should have helped you understand how to respond to presuppositions you disagree with. Now, let’s talk about how to get better at doing this.

You can easily practice identifying and attacking presuppositions in your spare time. It doesn’t matter whether someone is talking to you, if you’re out in a coffee shop just overhearing a conversation, or if you’re just watching a debate on Youtube.

Just listen for presuppositions in people’s statements, particularly hidden presuppositions during disagreements. It doesn’t matter who is saying them, just pay attention. Identify them and tell yourself how you would rebutt their statements.

Another very useful exercise is to think back to when a hidden presupposition made you change your argument or lose your frame. As I’ve said, it’s inevitable that it’s happened to you many times in your life, so I can guarantee there’s plenty of material here. Ask yourself what you would have said differently to get your point across.

Another way to practice is by thinking of common statements people make that have certain presuppositions. You can come up with “canned” responses to statements like this. An example: “America is a nation of immigrants” can be retorted with “We can both agree with that, but that’s no excuse for wide-spread illegal immigration.”

Also, make sure you watched the video at the top of this article because it will show you a real-world example along with commentary about this issue.

With time and practice, you will become much better at attacking false presuppositions and establishing an even more powerful frame — both in everyday life and in any debates or arguments you get into.

And if you’re particularly cunning, you can think about how you’ll use hidden presuppositions to go on offense against those who you are debating or arguing with. As I’ve said, most people have a hard time calling these out. This can be a very powerful technique if used properly!

Conclusion

The message and lesson here should be very clear. This article was intended to set your mind in the right direction regarding presuppositions, particularly hidden ones.

When you’re communicating with people and they say something that doesn’t agree with your frame or assertions, always think about the presupposition behind what they’re saying. If you feel like your frame shifted, or that the parameters of the debate changed, then it did.

Therefore you must address the presupposition behind any statement which you disagree with. It doesn’t necessarily need to be confrontational. Just make sure you address it so nobody thinks that you are accepting the frame or facts of someone that you disagree with.

Follow me on @WesternMastery if you haven’t already, and sign up for the email list below this article get all new articles delivered directly to your email.

And of course, feel free to add anything or comment in the comments section below.

Further Reading:

If you enjoyed this article, you will also get a lot out of the previous frame articles.

They were linked to in the beginning of this article, but here they are again:

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2 thoughts on “A Critical Frame Mistake You’re Probably Making (And How to Fix It)

  1. Pingback: Weekly Roundup #99 - Charles Sledge

  2. Chuck

    This article is so vital in my opinion . So many people on a daily basis allow this to happen . You wrote a very fine piece here . Looking forward to more future articles from your site .

    Reply

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