Discourse vs Debate vs Arguing
Dive in by watching the video, followed by the key concepts and exercise below:
Discourse is an exchange of different ways of thinking
It should be low pressure
It should truly be about trading different ideas and points of view
It involves active listening, and truly seeking to learn and understand
Debate is about sussing out the merits of different ways of thinking
Not every idea or point of view is the best, and it is okay to explore and bullet-test ideas—especially if you can keep your discussion from getting personal (more on this later!)
Debate works best when you’ve exchanged information and are operating from the same terminology and with a clear topic of debate
Arguing is making a case for something, but the term often puts people on the defense
Subtle changes to our vocabulary can help us have productive friction when we make an argument without putting people in a defensive place.
Instead of using the words “argue” or “argument,” talk in terms of thinking and theorizing.
It’s better to abstract yourself from the argument, so if you’re wrong it’s easier psychologically to change your mind: “My thinking is that…” or “My hypothesis is that…” or “My theory is that…” — these are better than simply “I think that…” because if your point ends up being wrong, you don’t have to be wrong—just your hypothesis.
Perhaps best, leave the door open for changing your mind in a painless way by instead saying, “My current hypothesis is that…”