How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently - Deepstash

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How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently

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https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/03/28/daniel-dennett-rapoport-rules-criticism/#

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How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
"In disputes upon moral or scientific points," Arthur Martine counseled in his magnificent 1866 guide to the art of conversation, "let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery."

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How to criticize with kindness

  • Re-express your target’s position so fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way".
  • List any points of agreement (especially if they a...

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Bruce Lee

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

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Making mistakes

Mistakes are opportunities for learning and for creating something truly new.

And the trick for making good mistakes is not trying to hide them. Be honest with yourself and really know your own mistakes, so that you learn from them and that you'll never repeat them.

Reductio ad absurdum

It's a mode of argumentation or a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications logically to an absurd conclusion. 

Take an assertion and see if you can inquire about any contradictions out of it. If you can, that proposition has to be discarded.

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Straw man arguments

A straw man argument is a misrepresentation of an opinion or viewpoint, designed to be as easy as possible to contradict.

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Hollow man arguments

This is a weak case (similar to the Straw man arguments) attributed to a non-existent group: Someone will fabricate a viewpoint that is easy to contradict, then claim it was made by a group they disagree with. Arguing against an opponent which doesn’t exist is a pretty easy way to win any debate.

People who use hollow man arguments will often use vague, non-specific language without explicitly giving any sources or stating who their opponent is.

Iron man argument

It is designed to be resistant to attacks by a defier.There arguments are difficult to avoid because they have a lot of overlap with legitimate debate techniques.

A person using an iron man argument will most likely make their own viewpoint so vague that nothing anyone says about it can weaken it. They’ll use jargon and imprecise terms. This means they can claim anyone who disagrees didn’t understand them, or they’ll rephrase their argument multiple times.

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“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatur..."

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Handling People

  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. People learn faster and retain knowledge more effectively when rewarded for good behavior than punished for bad behavior.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation. The only way to get a person to do anything is by giving them what they want.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want. The only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

Appreciation and flattery

  • Flattery is selfish and insincere. It’s cheap praise. You tell the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.
  • Appreciation is unselfish and sincere. It happens when we stop thinking about ourselves and begin to think of the other person’s good points.

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Pointless Criticism

In the context of poor communication, criticizing is when you knock someone down for the wrong reasons: to hurt someone, to vent your frustrations or to boost your ego.

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Blaming

When you blame someone, you take any responsibility off of yourself and put it on them. 

It’s understandable that you want to express your dissatisfaction with something. But sometimes you need to express it in order to find a solution, not to point singers.

Ineffective Complaining

Complaining is exhausting because it puts pressure on the other person. 

Complaining often results in the other person feeling as if they should somehow “fix” the problem or else just get away from the complaining. 

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Win the black belt in political argument

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Ask for their point of view

To gain trust and build rapport, you need to hear out what the other person thinks without interrupting or disagreeing.

Try asking open-ended questions, like: "Why do you think that...

Mirror your opponent

If you mimic your opponent (in a subtle way), they are more likely to believe you.

For example, if they are sitting cross-legged, wait a few seconds and cross your legs too. And make sure that what you are doing is not too obvious.

Make direct eye contact

...while you listen. This makes the speaker's arguments less persuasive, which makes your opinion look strong.

Fix the speaker in your sight as soon as they start speaking.

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Convince Them With Confidence

  • Speak confidently, be concise, and try not to repeat yourself. 
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Avoid Common Argument Fallacies

Winning an argument often comes down to who can go the longest without contradicting themselves and keeping sound logic, not direct persuasion of the other party.

Anecdotal Fallacy

Using a single personal experience as the foundation of your argument or your big piece of evidence. 

For example, your phone may have broken right after you bought it, but you can’t use that to argue that those phones are not worth the purchase for others.

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Know your facts

How many times have you made a claim about some piece of trivia only to realize, as soon as you’ve made that claim, that you’re completely wrong?

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Switch perspectives

Stepping into the mindset of those you argue with allows you to figure out what’s influencing them. 

Showing empathy will lower the temperature of the debate and allow both of you to come to a resolution.

Try to appear open-minded

If you appear to be giving the other side’s position a thoughtful review, then the solution you propose will seem to be far more sensible. Furthermore, your opponent may come to your side without you having to do anything other than listening.

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Avoiding a heated exchange

Avoiding a heated exchange

When we disagree with someone, it doesn't have to turn into a heated argument.

Staying mindful during the exchange allows us to select conversation and debate in ways that do not aggrav...

How to be mindful in an argument

  • Start with yourself. How do you relate to the person or topic discussed?
  • Check in with your body. What are you feeling - are you uneasy, frustrated, angered, fearful? Note it, and allow yourself to be in it.
  • Pause, breathe, and return to your center. What are you arguing for or against? What outcome do you desire? Can you let go of your desire for it?

Defusing an argument

  • Try to agree on what it is you are trying to resolve. Many arguments are the result of miscommunication.
  • When you express differing opinions, try to do so without coming across as angry.
  • If the disagreement continues, speak your truth even when it is difficult.
  • Remain calm and try to be respectful of the other person.
  • Keep an open mind to find a peaceful resolution.
  • Be thankful for the experience. It can help you grow and learn about yourself.