Why clear definitions are key to intelligent discussions

Being precise about our ideas doesn't just allow us to have better conversations, it's also an incisive way to learn.

  • The best way to have an intelligent conversation with others is to ensure everyone understands the terms being used. They need to be clearly defined. If this isn't done, people may get into false arguments over nonsense — they may be talking about very, very different things.
  • Dogmatism is often the enemy of knowledge because it often prevents us from opening ourselves up to the possibility that we may be wrong — it's this humility that allows us to consider different people's perspectives, some of which may be more accurate than our own.
  • Besides the ability to helpful discussions with others, being precise about our ideas and having well-defined terms allows us to also find out precisely where we are wrong. It's a quick and incisive way to learn.
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Your political views can predict how you pronounce certain words

How do you say "spiel"? Whether you say "shpeel" or "speel" may have to do with how you vote.

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Without academic freedom, we might never see the truth. Here’s why.

Sometimes, academic expression can make people uncomfortable. But this tension is a feature, not a bug.

  • The way we communicate is dictated in part by the setting that that communication takes place in. You're supposed to tell your doctor everything; on the other hand, you wouldn't tell your business competitor much at all.
  • In academia, communication is supposed to be somewhat provocative. The reaction to a provocative idea can't be to silence the one expressing it, but to approach it from the other side of the argument. One way to think about this is that if you don't understand the other side of an issue, then you can't claim to understand the issue.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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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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