Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Best Practices of a Debate


best practices of a debate

  1. consider the other person as a partner, not as an opponent (jeu de la coopération),
    1. if you realize either you or the partner stops being cooperative (hobbit/hooligan/vulcain), consider leaving the debate,
  2. if at some point you realize you don’t agree on the meaning of a word, make sure you use another term that is less confusing and on which you agree. Each participant will have a harder time using that word, but you’d rather have both a hard time with this word than let a confusing word being used.
  3. acknowledge this the partner what the goal of the conversation is
    1. the aim of the debate should be to learn together by challenging arguments,
    2. consider that your aim should be to help the partner teach you per arguments, so that you can learn from them,
    3. assume that the aim of the partner should be to help you teach per your arguments, so that per can learn from them,
    4. in case during the debate it appears that you don’t share the same purpose, either close the debate or postpone it. Don’t try to review the debate in your head to try to make sense of the new purpose of the debate, or you will fall into several fallacies, like the straw man fallacy.
  4. accept that the arguments that are claimed are to be challenged together,
  5. try to avoid the cognitive dissonance when the arguments you claim are proven wrong. You ARE not your arguments. Remember that the purpose of the debate is to learn together.
  6. learn identifying your own biases, in particular:
    1. straw man fallacy,
    2. confirmation bias,
  7. try to keep believing your partner is of good faith (Hanlon’s razor), It would be much easy to conclude that it is a bad person, but it would not help you learn from per,
  8. identify the parts that belong to the field of opinion and apply the best practices of a debate of opinions. If possible focus on the non opinionated part for now and give the opinionated part its own attention in a future debate about opinions.
  9. separate the discussion about
    1. the definition of the concepts: what we are talking about, (a hammer is a tool that is meant to hit stuff),
    2. the use of the concepts: what we can do with those, (a hammer is used to pound nails, break structures into pieces…),
    3. the morale implications of the concepts: how good or bad those concepts are, (a hammer is bad, because people can get hurt easily. a hammer is good, because you can build things with it),
  10. (if you want to change the partner’s opinion) don’t try to push the partner to your opinion, try to understand per so that you can make easier for per to move in your direction,
  11. if at some point you guess that the partner says obvious things, suppose that you actually did not understand, rather than simply rejecting the information for not being relevant,

instead of contradicting what the other person most likely did not say, help per say whatever they most likely wanted to say

Notes linking here