Wikipedia:Reasonableness

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Not to be confused with Wikipedia:Reasonability Rule.

Reasonable people with good intentions can still disagree over matters of substance.

This is a concept that many people don't understand. Indeed, this is a concept that many people don't want to understand. It is comforting to think that those who disagree with us do so because they are unreasonable and possibly evil. If we can simply and categorically dismiss those who oppose us, it relieves us of the burden of having to re-examine our own beliefs in the light of new information. It allows us to blindly bull forward secure in the knowledge that we are right.

Unfortunately, the people who disagree with us probably feel the same way, only in the other direction.

Everybody is different. We grow up with different cultures and different experiences, and those cultures and experiences shape our perceptions of the world in different ways. And different perceptions of the world often lead to different conclusions about matters of substance. A woman raised in Peru may have very different views on the issue of the role of women in society than would a woman raised in Russia. Despite this possible difference, both women may still be reasonable and well-intentioned. There is nothing inherent in the difference of opinion that means one or the other must be unreasonable and of ill intent. No matter how disparate the opinions may be, reasonable people with good intentions can still disagree over matters of substance.

The Art of Reasonableness was long taught in the tradition of Liberal Arts textbooks teaching either dialectic or rhetoric. See: Rick Kennedy, "A History of Reasonableness: Testimony and Authority in the Art of Thinking" (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2004).

Wikipedians are encouraged to remember this whenever conflicts of opinion arise.