Suggested reading: How to argue with people

by Paul Pardi

My wife and I had a conversation recently about how to talk to someone on a topic about which they disagreed. She and this person had many discussions on the topic but couldn’t seem to move toward any sort of a resolution. Both she and this other person had strong views with neither being clearly right or wrong and she asked how to change the context of the discussion so they could get beyond their impasse. I’ve taught logic for many years but in many cases, being “more logical” isn’t really the problem. Both she and the other person were making logical arguments.

The situation in which she found herself involved a lot of different factors including personality, background beliefs, how ideas were presented, and, of course, the rationality of what they both were saying. As I thought of the feedback I’d offer, I found myself drawing from my philosophical training but also my nearly two decades of experience as a manager at one of the top tech firms in the world. Working with very smart and passionate people means you’re constantly having to navigate disagreements to resolve them in the best way possible.

While every argument is as unique as the people having them and there is no cut-and-dried approach that will “always work” in finding a resolution, there are, I think, some general strategies that can at least help make a conversation more productive–or at least more interesting. … (continue at Philosophy News)

Published by Massimo

Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

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