Monday, June 22, 2009

Agreeable Disagreement

After seeing Roger Scruton give a talk and answer questions last week in London, I've been thinking a lot about what it takes to be able to openly disagree with someone but do so in a way that they don't find off-putting. I think the key might be that you've got to make it clear that you're not trying to convince them that they're wrong: i.e., if you make it clear that your motivation in speaking and disagreeing with them is NOT to change their mind--that you're just saying what you're saying because it's what you think--then they're much more likely not to be put off by your disagreement with them.

1 comment:

Chauncey said...

I am now entering week five of a protracted exchange with my father-in-law on various issues including charity, government, and philosophy. I think it's made it this far for the kind of reason you've indicated here. (For the record, I didn't initiate the exchange.) I think we've both done a decent job of trying to state what we think to each other while trying also to be clear that we're not trying necessarily to convert the other person. It's been pleasant.

(More abstractly, I wonder what your thought here says for the basic nature of assertion.)