Monday, November 18, 2013

The Descriptive Project in Debating Controversial Issues

You know when discussion is productive when opposing sides spend less time trying to zing one another and more time trying to get clear on where their real differences lie.

When it gets unproductive is when people assume that they know exactly why the other side thinks the way it does. 


IlĂ­on said...

"When it gets unproductive is when people assume that they know exactly why the other side thinks the way it does."

A subset of that would be cases where one person *is* trying to clarify where the difference is, or clarify exactly what is the meaning of what the other is saying (and if that is really what he means to mean) ... the other fellow wavees his hands, declaring such clarification to be "just semantics".

The sad fact is that many times people don't want clarity.

im-skeptical said...

I believe that understanding why a person thinks the way he does can be very useful in understanding what he says. Like it or not, it plays a major role in the way we interpret what others say, because it allows us to discern intent. The problem arises when you attribute the wrong motives to him, and then interpret his words in a way that was not intended.

Papalinton said...

I would like to know what are the *controversial* issues you have in mind that remain? Controversial in what manner?

In a somewhat preemptive manner I offer two thoughts that guide my scrutiny of the issues:

"There are a set of religions, or rather moral writings, which teach that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery, in this world. A very wholesome and comfortable doctrine, and to which we have but one objection, namely, that it is not true." Henry Fielding, English novelist and dramatist. [That is, not epistemically true]


"If the evidence supports the historical accuracy of the gospels, where is the need for faith? And if the historical reliability of the gospels is so obvious, why have so many scholars failed to appreciate the incontestable nature of the evidence?" Robert W Funk, Bible Scholar, Chairman of the Graduate Department of Religion, Vanderbilt University.

BenYachov said...

Blind leading the Blind.