On dichotomies

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I regularly find myself embroiled in various polarised debates, and invariably, at some point in the discussion, someone butts into to dismiss the entire exchange as a ‘false dichotomy’. The answer, they claim lies not at the margins but somewhere in the centre. In this way we can dispense with the futile bickering between ‘traditionalists’ and ‘progressives’, and those who champion either the teaching of knowledge or skills because they are both right. We just characterise our adversaries as occupying an extreme position but no one really believes something so diametrically oppositional. Do they?

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