“Just do what I say,” a common answer, wholly fails to inform or motivate employees

General counsel, especially, as well as other managers should never use the parental put-down: “Because I told you so.” David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World (Viking 2011) attacks throughout what he calls bad philosophy, bad explanations. One form is the peremptory end-of-discussion just quoted (at 311).

That final word fails because it can be used to “explain” anything. Second, it addresses only the form of the question, not the substance. Third, “it reinterprets a request for true explanation (why should something–or-other be as it is?) as a request for justification (what entitles you to assert that it is so?).” That end-of-the-discussion answer “confuses the nonexistent authority for ideas with human authority (power).” Fifth, and finally, “it claims by this means to stand outside the jurisdiction of normal criticism.” The employee must take the assertion on faith.

Because I tell you not to, don’t use it!

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