The Key to Rational Argument: Reframe It as a Partnership
Think of an argument as a collaboration where the two sides are trying to find the right answer.
Julia Galef is a New York-based writer and public speaker specializing in science, rationality, and design. She serves on the board of directors of the New York City Skeptics, co-hosts their official podcast, Rationally Speaking, and co-writes the blog Rationally Speaking along with philosopher of science Massimo Pigliucci. She has moderated panel discussions at The Amazing Meeting and the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, and gives frequent public lectures to organizations including the Center for Inquiry and the Secular Student Alliance. Julia received her B.A. in statistics from Columbia in 2005.
One important mental shift that I and other people have found really useful in remaining fair minded and objective in arguments is instead of thinking about the argument as a battle where you're trying to win, reframe it in your mind so that you think of it as a partnership, a collaboration in which the two of you together or the group of you together are trying to figure out the right answer.
That makes it much easier to evaluate which arguments are good and which arguments are bad because you're motivated by getting the right answer together rather than by having whatever argument you came into the discussion with turns out to be the right answer.
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