Week 5, Discussion Prompt #1: The Positive Purposes of Arguments
In preparing for this discussion, you took part in an interactive scenario called “The Graduate.” In the scenario, you got to experience different people presenting different arguments (some of which you may not have liked).We have learned a lot in this course about the meaning of an argument and what constitutes a good argument. This discussion allows us to discuss more positive things that we can learn from “arguing” in the right way.
Prepare: To prepare for this discussion, watch the following video from Daniel H. Cohen [Link here to http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_h_cohen_for_argument_s_sake.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.] and review section 9.4 of Chapter 9 called “Confronting Disagreement by Seeking Truth.” Take a look as well at the required resources from this week and make sure that you have completed “The Graduate” interactive scenario.
Reflect: Think about experiences you have had that involved conflicts with others. What was the genesis of the conflict? Would it have been possible for the exchange to be more productive? Think about why disagreements often lead to fights rather than opportunities to learn from each other.
Write: Answer the following questions:
What is an area of life in which you have experienced people treating arguments as a kind of war?
What were the consequences of that approach?
What is an area of life in which you have experienced people treating arguments as a kind of performance?
Was that approach effective?
Why is it better to treat arguments as a venue for learning?
What traits of character does it require to be able to live according to that approach?
What benefits can it have in our lives to take that approach? (please give a specific example)