Before Rejecting an Argument

 

From time to time, I want to teach in these videos what I teach in classes. I believe it’s important for people to hear how universal truth applies in the public square. The ten principles I recite here are taught at a public university. But the principles can and could be applied in any communication. Here are my ten principles to consider when rejecting an argument or another point of view.

(1) Have you acknowledged your own assumptions, preconceptions, starting points, sources of and claims for truth?

(2) Have you recognized your own reasoning is susceptible to error, falsehood, bias, and that you, and those who agree with you, are not the final arbiters of truth?

(3) Have you heard, read, and watched the best sources of the other point of view, honestly listening to understand?

(4) Have you interpreted what you hear *not* through spokespersons sympathetic to your own point of view?

(5) Have you appreciated the best arguments from the other person’s perspective, unfiltered by your own prejudice or prior commitments?

(6) Have you compared and contrasted the best arguments from the other point of view with your best arguments?

(7) Have you asked questions that may illuminate truth or error?

(8) Have you tested the credibility and verifiability of your own point of view with the same vigor with which you have tested other perspectives?

(9) Have you rejected intellectual discrimination by those parties who ignore evidence, exclude by silence, or rely on unverified sources of information?

(10) Have you sought a simple, understandable explanation of your point of view which could be made clear to anyone?

You could be communicating with your spouse, boss, friend, or an online questioner. These ten questions could be a real help toward hearing another point of view. For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, President of the Comenius Institute, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.

[published at https://markeckel.com/2022/05/17/10-questions-to-ask-another-point-of-view/ ]

.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 15 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Mountie Coolidge
    Mountie
    @Mountie

    This is outstanding. Wouldn’t it be fun to moderate a real exchange of ideas (I’m intentionally not using the word debate) where these rules principles were understood and followed in advance

    • #1
  2. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Mountie (View Comment):

    This is outstanding. Wouldn’t it be fun to moderate a real exchange of ideas (I’m intentionally not using the word debate) where these rules principles were understood and followed in advance

    Thank you @Mountie Grateful for your good word.

    When I teach a course “Argumentative Writing” I begin with discussions of “humility” and “charity.” Students are amazed. To a person they say, “I never thought we would be discussing those words in a course about ‘argumentation.'”

    If nothing else, I would like for people just to ‘fess up at the outset and tell me their presuppositions and predilections. Sadly, most folks just want to point out yours; as if they don’t have any.

    • #2
  3. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    When I write my history books, I try to approach the topic with an open mind. I have stopped being surprised at the number of times the conclusions I reach by the time I finish writing a book are significantly different than the tentative conclusions I had when I started the book.

    • #3
  4. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Related: Confessions of a Social-Justice Meme Maker.

    • #4
  5. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Beautiful.

    Thanks, Eckel.

    • #5
  6. The Girlie Show Member
    The Girlie Show
    @CatIII

    I like the concept of the ideological Turing test: do you understand your opponent’s argument well enough to express it in a clear way that your opponent would agree with it?

    • #6
  7. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):

    I like the concept of the ideological Turing test: do you understand your opponent’s argument well enough to express it in a clear way that your opponent would agree with it?

    One benefit of formal debate is that it requires you to learn how to do this.

    • #7
  8. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Related: Confessions of a Social-Justice Meme Maker.

    Gratitude @DavidFoster for this exceptional example!

    Some favorite lines: “It seemed strange to me that one would surrender his or her critical faculties for the sake of doctrinal purity” and “Be wary of simple explanations, black-and-white thinking.”

    • #8
  9. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Mountie (View Comment):

    This is outstanding. Wouldn’t it be fun to moderate a real exchange of ideas (I’m intentionally not using the word debate) where these rules principles were understood and followed in advance

    Thank you @ Mountie Grateful for your good word.

    When I teach a course “Argumentative Writing” I begin with discussions of “humility” and “charity.” Students are amazed. To a person they say, “I never thought we would be discussing those words in a course about ‘argumentation.’”

    If nothing else, I would like for people just to ‘fess up at the outset and tell me their presuppositions and predilections. Sadly, most folks just want to point out yours; as if they don’t have any.

    I’ve done this before and the responses range from dismissal to snark. Is this just for me to acknowledge to myself, or make it evident to others?

    • #9
  10. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Stina (View Comment):

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Mountie (View Comment):

    This is outstanding. Wouldn’t it be fun to moderate a real exchange of ideas (I’m intentionally not using the word debate) where these rules principles were understood and followed in advance

    Thank you @ Mountie Grateful for your good word.

    When I teach a course “Argumentative Writing” I begin with discussions of “humility” and “charity.” Students are amazed. To a person they say, “I never thought we would be discussing those words in a course about ‘argumentation.’”

    If nothing else, I would like for people just to ‘fess up at the outset and tell me their presuppositions and predilections. Sadly, most folks just want to point out yours; as if they don’t have any.

    I’ve done this before and the responses range from dismissal to snark. Is this just for me to acknowledge to myself, or make it evident to others?

    Love the Q @CM 

    My general response would be both. Like you, “to myself” is an important starting point. “Making it evident to others” may range from acquiescence to anger to a pebble in the shoe. The rage of some is so final, minds will never be changed. Being angry may be the wish for a cross-over to the other side, but seeing you stand firm. But it is the pebble in the shoe that I hope for. It is my practice with both faculty and students; to leave them with doubt, the doubt of their position, the doubt that might reroute thinking.

    • #10
  11. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Related: Confessions of a Social-Justice Meme Maker.

    Great content on the link. 

    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):

    I like the concept of the ideological Turing test: do you understand your opponent’s argument well enough to express it in a clear way that your opponent would agree with it?

    One benefit of formal debate is that it requires you to learn how to do this.

    I don’t know that leftists understand their own arguments well enough to know whether someone else is stating it correctly.

    • #12
  13. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):

    I like the concept of the ideological Turing test: do you understand your opponent’s argument well enough to express it in a clear way that your opponent would agree with it?

    One benefit of formal debate is that it requires you to learn how to do this.

    I don’t know that leftists understand their own arguments well enough to know whether someone else is stating it correctly.

    Sometimes you have to explain it to them

    To be fair most people don’t understand the “argument” behind the positions they support. 

    • #13
  14. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The Girlie Show (View Comment):

    I like the concept of the ideological Turing test: do you understand your opponent’s argument well enough to express it in a clear way that your opponent would agree with it?

    One benefit of formal debate is that it requires you to learn how to do this.

    I don’t know that leftists understand their own arguments well enough to know whether someone else is stating it correctly.

    Sometimes you have to explain it to them

    To be fair most people don’t understand the “argument” behind the positions they support.

    Maybe not always, but considering how often leftist arguments involve self-contradiction and cognitive dissonance, it’s far more common with them.

    • #14
  15. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Young people’s idea of an argument is posting memes.

    • #15
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.