A Good Argument
I like to debate ideas. If we wish to be productive about learning from each other, we should confine ourselves to facts and eschew opinions, impressions, and emotions. When the facts are established, the outliers and nuance can have a place.
Consider this method.
- I express what I think think your position is and you agree that I understand it, or you correct my misimpressions.
- You express what you think my beliefs are and again I agree or modify some of the points.
- We isolate the common points in our beliefs.
- We discuss the ones that are not in common with a view to finding what is right. We may not end up agreeing on those but each of us is better for the discussion.
- Both will modify beliefs at least slightly.
What it means
- People can disagree without being disagreeable. As my late partner Geoff Ward used to say, “I like to argue, but I don’t like hostility.”
- We learn easily by comparison and contrast.
- Emotion intrudes. Emotion leads to the situation of knowing who is right but not what is right.
- Not every fact is equal. Be objective.
Learn to argue effectively. You can carry that skill into many situations. Seek truth, not the win.
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