Discussion vs Bickering

It’s so good to have a nice discussion with a like-minded person with similar interests.

Philosophers usually talk about “arguments.” When we think of “arguments” we often think of quarreling or bickering. But all a Philosopher means by the term “argument” is a series of statements which lead logically to a conclusion.

When discussions are taken as arguments in this way, they are extraordinarily enriching experiences. Just yesterday I had a wonderful discussion about theology with someone with a different point of view. But I came out refreshed at such a kindly conversation, even though we both entered, remained and came out opposite ends.

Compare this to bickering. When people bicker, they don’t respect each other. They just fight, Tensions rise, passions are aroused and offence is often inflicted. If you perceive that coming on in an argument, you just need to end it immediately. Swallow that pride and walk away.

I think what is needed in any discussion is civility. A person has civility roughly when they have a care, respect for and understanding of another; giving the benefit of the doubt and such as that. Civility should be a prerequisite to conversation. If two parties cannot have civility, they should not engage in discussion.


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