Argue In Good Faith

Argue In Good Faith
Photo by Sunguk Kim / Unsplash

Always argue in good faith. 'Winning' an argument is useless.

Why Argue In Good Faith

The point of an argument is to find more 'truth'. It is to discover some insight through a back and forth with someone else. A good faith argument is then really a dialogue with someone else.

It is not a debate, it is not about winning, it is not about feeding your own ego or playing to an audience.

It is about discovering something new, about learning by engaging with another mind - another stance. By bringing together different perspectives, you can create

This dynamic is intoxicating. You are more likely to resolve conflicts since both parties actually have the same goal. It is a co-operative venture.

In contrast, imagine how plain and boring if you engage with someone just to 'win'. It's like a monkey beating his chest, thinking he's won because he managed to smash the chessboard.

What is the point of acting like that? What is the point of engaging with people who act like that? Better to just walk away and dismiss such fools.

How To Engage in Good Faith

First, be clear about the point of the dialogue. Establish the goals, the key points, the beginning stances that each of you hold. When things are unclear, take the time to elaborate on definitions. This helps you align your motives.

Second, engage with each other's arguments in good faith. This means use the strongest possible interpretation of the other's argument. This prevents you from straw-manning the other.

It is even possible to try and strengthen the other side's view. After all, you are both trying to get to a closer 'truth', not to misguidedly assert dominance. Be charitable.

Third, be clear and consistent with how you construct an argument. This means to be able to point out when bad arguments are being made. For example, logical fallacies, faulty premises, or inaccurate interpretations.

This helps balance out the principle of charity. It just helps ensure you make a good argument in general, and that the discussions are substantial.

It's Fun To Engage

So engage with real ideas. Learn something, discover new insights, and sharpen your own thinking. To do otherwise is to shout into the void. And what's the point of that?

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