When I make an argument or write an essay, it’s math and science that shape my thoughts, much more than the two English classes I took as an undergraduate.
Minimal Orthogonal dimensions
From vector space theory, construct a set of axioms which span the space of discussion and make those premises independent of each other. This is called a basis. Then instead of working every case that can be brought forward in a discussion, only those cases that prove or disprove the argument for the minimal orthogonal dimensions need be considered. Why? Because every other case is merely a combination of the basis, which is already proved.
In literature, Jane Austen intuitively uses this method. In Chapter 49 of Sense and Sensibility, she parses Elinor’s mental world in this manner:
“… it was beyond her comprehension to make out. To her own heart it was a delightful affair, to her imagination it was a ridiculous one, but to her reason, her judgment, it was completely a puzzle.”
Energy of Activation
In chemistry, it is known that to cause many reactions to proceed, an amount of energy must be added to the reactants, even if the products have a lower, more stable energy state. The reactants must be helped to surmount the energy of activation so that the reaction will proceed.
There is an analogous situation in political change. Consider a change in tax policy. Even if the result of the policy is more equitable, there are people who currently benefit from the existing tax structure. They will resist any change and will require an incentive to support any change. That’s their energy of activation.
Another chemical phenomenon (I majored in chemistry) states a system responds to a stress in a way to release the stress.
We saw a stress in the Russian economy that followed the collapse of the oil prices in 2014. The market response was a dramatic fall of the ruble such that Russian oil income only dropped 12.5% in ruble terms despite a 30% drop in the dollar price.
It surprising and a bit depressing that I automatically characterize so much of my thought about issues as argument.