By ozorsamsone • 2 months ago • 235 views • 61 comments

The point of a discussion or arguement is to reach a decision or to convince someone of a point of view. People discuss and argue  for the obvious reason that they have different opinions and different points of view.

Discuss is used when there is an exchange of ideas. We will discuss plans for the office outing. it is also used to to describe when a subject is examined or considered, usually from a number of different angles. E.g. in an essay title such as, "Discuss the view that euthanasia should be legalised." Argue is used when evidence or reasons for or against something are given. I.e. he argued against capital punishment by presenting evidence that it does not reduce crime.

Discussions frequently involve argumentation.

If we discuss or argue simply to score points, that is all about the ego. If we discuss or argue to convince others then that is the point. The thing is, though, it is incredibly difficult for us to tell the difference between someone making a point and someone scoring a point. This is especially true when we think we are losing an argument. Ego can once again raise its ugly head. It then becomes incredibly easy for us to go into denial, and rationalise that denial by indulging in a subtle ad hominem: accusing our opponent of just being there to score points and win. That distracts attention away from what our opponent is saying (which we do want to listen to) and onto their character, giving us a chance to "win" the argument... at least in our own heads.

The only way we can avoid falling into this subtle egotistical trap, I suggest, is to avoid thinking about why someone is saying something and instead focus on what they are saying. They may be scoring points. They might be making a point. It does not matter. What does matter is that it is not about the messenger, but the message, and sometimes we have to be a little bit humble to hear it. I would be interested to hear what you think.


This post was inspired by Dave Griffin's recent OP on the same topic. It started off in life as a mere comment, but I soon realised it deserved to be a post in it's own right.

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