I am taking a course entitled “Effective Argumentation” and loving it. Essentially, how can we argue our points in an effective manner? How can we make these critical discussions work better and have an agreed upon set of rules? This is vital to couples counseling.
Here is what he talked about today-
What are the normative standards of a critical discussion?
1 We wish to resolve, not just settle, the disagreement (No capitulation/ surrender). In other words, I want to get to the bottom of it and truly resolve it, if possible. Do not simply give in because you do not like to talk or argue. Keep with it until it is done and then leave it done. This is easier when you do the following:
2 Each party has an equal opportunity to influence the other party. Power and prestige don't influence the argument like they do at work where the boss can demand you do it his/her way.
3 Each party is willing to resolve the dispute only on it's merits. Not using false reasoning such as "if you really loved me then_____"
Either what your partner said has merit or it does not. Nothing personal, just does their argument hold water? If not, we point it out rather than attack the person.
4 No artificial constraints like crisis conditions or arguing under duress. Allow it to happen organically. Do not force it. If you need to take a break, take a break. Need to continue it tomorrow because it is bedtime, that is fine.
5 Ideally both parties share a set of cooperative philosophies/values :
A We mean what we say
B Efficiency- meaning we will be direct rather than indirect
C Relevance- comments we make are germane to the subject matter
D Clarity- meaning the comments are clear not obscure
E Commitment to nonviolence -we will not use force if we do not get our way
F Freedom of speech -each person can say whatever they want to say
G Intellectual pluralism- there's no one right answer- we are having a problem solving discussion among equals
TO DO: Try using the above in your next argument and let me know how it worked for you.
Next week join us for more information about a coalescent argument rather than a combative, adversarial, zero sum argument.