Here’s how Aristotle can help you master the power of persuasion

Logos, pathos, and ethos can help you bring people over to your side.

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Persuasion is about so much more than just getting someone to see things your way. It can actually be a great tool to ease workplace stress — you can use it to get your team aligned around a goal.

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Participatory democracy is presumed to be the gold standard. Here’s why it isn’t.

Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.

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  • Polarization and extreme partisanships have been on the rise in the United States.
  • Political psychologist Diana Mutz argues that we need more deliberation, not political activism, to keep our democracy robust.
  • Despite increased polarization, Americans still have more in common than we appear to.
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3 unsung heroes who helped society overcome division

The true course of progress is not only charted by great men and women, but also by ordinary people having conversations.

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  • History's great men and women may enjoy name recognition, but everyday heroes can be anyone willing to talk.
  • We profile three everyday heroes who helped society overcome adversity through civil discourse.
  • Their stories validate John Stuart Mill's belief that good things happen when you converse with people with whom you disagree.
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​Free speech on campus holds the cure to America's growing polarization

Outrage culture is causing provocative issues to be pushed out of public discourse and important artworks to be literally white-washed. Teaching civil discourse at universities is key to sustaining the American experiment.

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  • In July 2019, a California school board voted unanimously to paint over an 83-year-old, 1,600-square-foot mural chronicling the life of George Washington – in part depicting dead Native Americans and laboring slaves – over concerns that the painting presented traumatic content.
  • The mural, by Stanford University art professor Victor Arnautoff, was created as a pointed critique of Washington, a slave owner, and a society built on land that belonged to Native Americans.
  • The reaction to Arnautoff's deliberately disturbing artwork is characteristic of America's growing outrage culture, which removes the opportunity for people to practice the skills they require to have difficult conversations.
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Rules for civil engagement: How to talk with someone unlike yourself

Here are some practical ways to disagree and get along with someone at the same time.

  • There are a basic set of rules you can use when talking with someone who believes different things than you do, says Jonathan Zimmerman.
  • Statements like, "You're a blankety-blank" close discussions rather than open them. Instead, say, "You know, that's interesting. That's not the way I see it. Tell me more about why you think that." Being more open about your intentions can help, too. Tell the person that you see the issue from a different angle, and ask them what they think of your view.
  • A key rule for civil discourse, especially in this political climate, is to recognize the difference between emotion and argument. The depth of conviction with which something is said is not a substitute for argument quality or truth.
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