Pete and Vera, good friends, are having a discussion about the ethics of eating other animals. Pete eats meat, but is somewhat troubled by the arguments for vegetarianism that he has encountered. He wonders whether he has been missing something. Vera, a vegetarian, discusses the several arguments with Pete late into the night, and draws his attention, in particular, to the line of argument that she herself has found to be the decisive one. As morning draws near, Pete remarks, “I understand what you’re getting at with this argument and why you accept it, but I simply don’t see things that way.”I think people sometimes respond to disagreement as Vera has here, and I'm wondering what such a comment as hers amounts to. Does it imply that Pete could only come to understand her if he came to agree with her? (Or, that his understanding just would involve his agreeing with her?) And if that's a plausible interpretation of what she says, does her remark make sense? Can't we understand other people without agreeing with them?
Vera responds, “Then you don’t at all understand me.”
I'm working on the subtleties of this, but I'm curious what others think.