Blunting the Adversarial Urge

The argument culture urges us to approach the world - and the people in it - in an adversarial frame of mind. It rests on the assumption that opposition is the best way to get anything done: the best way to discuss an idea is to set up a debate; the best way to cover news is to find spokespeople who express the most extreme, polarized views and present them as "both sides"; the best way to settle disputes is litigation that pits one party against the other; the best way to begin an essay is to attack someone; and the best way to show you're really thinking is to criticize....

We need to use our imaginations and ingenuity to find different ways to seek truth and gain knowledge, and add them to our arsenal - or, should I say, to the ingredients for our stew. It will take creativity to find ways to blunt the most dangerous blades of the argument culture. It's a challenge we must undertake....

- From 'The Argument Culture:

Moving From Debate to Dialogue'

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