When Does a Discussion become an Argument? The Thin Line

The Thin Line Between Meaningful Contact and Fruitless Contrarianism

What is the difference between a discussion and an argument? Where exactly is that line drawn in the sand between the productive (if heated) exchange of ideas and the phenomena of arguing where each person becomes more embedded in their own point of view the longer the conversation lasts, and leads more often to ill will than connection. I found the graph below useful in determining the difference:


If you are defending/asserting fixed positions it’s an argument and nothing intellectual can be accomplished.

Finally, never take disagreement with your ideas as a personal attack. Remember Voltaire: “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.”



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