Our scene opens inside Avanti’s, a fine Italian deli and eatery which also sells beer. A young patron has just picked out a couple of six packs and brought them to the clerk at the front counter to pay for them…
Clerk: Great choice, that’s one of my favorites.
Patron: Yeah, so how much is it going to be?
Clerk: Well I’ll need to see your ID first.
Clerk: I can’t sell these to you until I know you’re at least 21.
Patron: I don’t have it on me, but clearly I look at least 21, don’t I?
Clerk: How you look is irrelevant. I need your ID or else I can’t sell you the beer.
Patron: Well I have ID, I’m 21.
Clerk: Great, so show it to me.
Patron: I said I don’t have it on me.
Clerk: That’s a problem for you then.
Patron: You’re the one with the problem. Why are you being so closed-minded?
Clerk: How’s that?
Patron: You’re being completely closed-minded to the possibility that I am 21.
Clerk: Oh no, I’m completely willing to entertain that possibility, but I can’t accept it unless I have a good reason, and you haven’t offered one.
Another patron: Oh I know him, he’s 21.
Patron: There, you see?
Clerk: That’s not sufficient.
Patron: What?! He just told you I’m 21!
Clerk: If he knows you, he might lie for you, or you’ve successfully mislead him into believing you’re 21. No, all I’ll accept is your ID.
Patron: That’s pretty closed-minded.
Clerk: No, I’m just not willing to accept a claim like you’re 21 on questionable evidence.
Patron: You don’t think saying I’m not 21 without any evidence isn’t being closed-minded?
Clerk: I’m not saying you’re not 21. I’m saying you’ve offered no evidence for me to accept that you’re 21.
Patron: Same thing.
Clerk: No, actually they’re two quite different things.
Patron: I’ve offered you evidence.
Clerk: It was inadequate.
Patron: Says you.
Clerk: Says any rational person.
Patron: So now I’m irrational?
Clerk: Accepting an unwarranted claim is irrational.
Patron: You just don’t want to sell these to me.
Clerk: Not if you can’t prove you’re 21.
Patron: An ID can’t prove I’m 21. I could have a fake ID. It’s impossible to know absolutely if I’m 21 or not.
Clerk: I wasn’t using “prove” as an absolute proof, but rather as a valid warrant for acceptance of a claim.
Patron: Your choice of what’s valid is arbitrary.
Clerk: No, it’s not.
Patron: Just saying it’s not isn’t an argument, it’s an assertion.
Clerk: Sort of like just saying it is?
Patron: Well it is.
Clerk: Nice argument. At least I explained to you why your warrants weren’t valid.
Patron: But you’re still volitionally dismissing evidence.
Clerk: “Volitional” doesn’t imply arbitrary.
Patron: Well you’re not going to sell a lot of beer being so closed-minded.
Clerk: I’ll sell plenty to those able to verify they’re 21.
Patron: You won’t sell to me.
Clerk: Because you can’t verify you’re 21.
Patron: I tried.
Clerk: Try harder.
Patron: No matter what I do, you won’t sell to ME.
Clerk: Come back with some ID and let’s see if that’s true.