What is the difference between "discuss", "debate" and "argue"?

(denise wheeler) #1

Curious to know if it’s possible to explore ideas in these kind of forums without the latter two?

(Bill Ames) #2


It is not.

(Justin Brown) #3

It’s a great question.

This area is called a “discussions” area to promote conversations where we explore ideas together, without trying to change the perspective of others.

When it’s a “debate” or an “argument”, the premise is to try to change someone else’s mind.

So let’s “discuss”, presenting our own perspectives, reasoning, etc, in a way that others can consider what we are saying so they can evaluate it for their own purposes.

I believe in the “changing of minds”, but I think that the drive for this needs to come from within.

I wrote about the purpose of this platform in this post: The art of disagreeing (community guidelines).

(denise wheeler) #4

Thanks so much. I went to that link and read what you wrote and love the following three:

!) I would like Ideapod Discussions to be a place where we develop the skills of arguing with others in a way where the person doing the arguing becomes more enlightened in the process, just as the person we’re arguing with as well.

  1. And crucially, I would like Ideapod Discussions to surface discussions where the reader becomes enlightened from reading it.

  2. I believe that the rapid destruction of one’s own ideas, while retaining a strong connection with a sense of self, is one of the most important qualities one can have in the modern age.

It’s such an interesting thing, the whole art of discussion and conversing, and I think one of the greatest skills anyone can have, that ability to sharpen ideas and bring things into focus in ways that are meaningful and illuminating. It’s all about opening thoughts, after all, and pollinating our analyses of things with the insights of others. As parents, we do it all the time with our kids, and hope that they’ll go out and keep probing at all those assumptions of life.

So definitely keep Ideapod going. I’m sure it feels like an uphill climb at times, but we all should be braver and more demanding about the conversations we fall into and strive to be better engineers and cultivators of those ideas.

And always raise the large rewarding topics!

(Bill Ames) #5

If Justin agrees with this it would help, in my opinion, make discussions more interesting. If he were to post a comment disagreeing with you he would be arguing so would that make arguing permissible even though he were arguing against arguing? (see “catch 22”)

This does not appear to have any dependency on the quality of ideas. Humanity has a lot of ideas, some good, some not so good, I would prefer that evil people are not encouraged to argue against humanities good ideas. If an idea is not clearly good or bad a discussion debating its merits can be very helpful. That would appear to be an argument so I am not sure if we will see much of that in Discussions.

I am not sure how one should judge items 2 and 3 to see if they are meeting these standards when making or defending their position. I still am not seeing a clear definition of the difference asked in the title question.

(denise wheeler) #6

I’m sure everyone has their own opinion about what these words mean and their own definition of them.

But if someone is not in agreement that doesn’t mean they are arguing. It simply means they don’t agree. Argument, as I see it, is defending one’s position, come what may. You may not agree with that, but that isn’t an argument. Going on and on about it, is an argument.

We can get into the whole semantics about verbs and things, but you might want to bring up your suggestions for Justin with him personally. I’m sure he would really appreciate that. It’s all about ideas, after all.

Or just keep arguing on how everything that’s been stated here is wrong. :):grinning:

(Ken Whitten) #7

Discuss is what I do
Debate is what my friend does
Argue is what you do

Perspective I guess, with different levels of comfort for different people. Can we discuss it?

(Bill Ames) #8

I seem to have strong opinions on subjects based on science. Everything else to me is just opinion. I do have opinions but not many. I enjoy writing, being creative, for the most in science based fiction. I am an anime fan. If a discussion involves politics or religion I avoid them as my fiction provides all on this subject I need. As an author it is my universe, all are welcome to share it with me. At my age, 76, I think all the problems of the world are beyond my help. Based on this intro, if you have a subject to discuss, go! I would like to know more about you. Before my retirement I was part of the development team for a time of flight mass spectrometer. Software Quality Assurance.

(denise wheeler) #9

I love how you defined that @ken. Thanks. It says it all in just a few words and a great way of looking at it – what I do, what they do, what you do. Funny how so much can be narrowed down to a just a few pronouns.

And yes, perspective and comfort always dictate so much. How’s that for discussing it?

(Mark's Myth) #10

Recently I posted this on the discussion of the interpretation of “interbeing” which seems to fit perfect in this question posed by Denise…

I wonder if anyone here has explored the insights of the workings of Bohm Dialogue?

It has recently come to my attention in the circles of sites like this that look to open the levels of discussion to new models and ways of being in circle with each other…

“A dialogue has no predefined purpose, no agenda, other than that of inquiring into the movement of thought, and exploring the process of “thinking together” collectively. This activity can allow group participants to examine their preconceptions and prejudices, as well as to explore the more general movement of thought.

Dialogue should not be confused with discussion or debate, both of which, says Bohm, suggest working towards a goal or reaching a decision, rather than simply exploring and learning. Meeting without an agenda or fixed objective is done to create a “free space” for something new to happen.”

So @denisewheeler, @justinbrown and @BillAmes… maybe the question now is, are we having dialogues or discussions?

What is the Bohm Dialogue and how do we best use it?
(Bill Ames) #11

Looking at this I saw “These “banks” are understood as representing the various points of view of the participants.” This is something I find very interesting. Most of the things I deal with are not based on opinions but to be part of a conversation where we are dealing with only opinions, that could be refreshing. This topic is not the place to start a discussion of this type, I wonder how difficult it would be to identify such a discussion?

(Bill Ames) #12

I think here in this topic we are only exchanging thoughts on the what is the difference question, anything else would be off topic. I would like to explore Bohm Dialogue but have no idea what topic, what s8ubject would be appropriate. Even this reply is not on the topic of the “difference” question, perhaps we can start a new topic where we try to discuss (not debate or argue) under the Bohm Dialogue ground rules.

What is the Bohm Dialogue and how do we best use it?
(Mark's Myth) #13

Good idea @BillAmes

(Bill Ames) #14

Still not understanding, what is the “this” you say? I guess what ever it is you wish to have a dialog based on Bohm, that is cool, but need to know what “this” is.

(Mark's Myth) #15

“This” you ask, may be answered once we cut loose of an outcome expectation as a discussion tends towards vs a collaborative exploration expectation which a Bohm Dialogue seems to indicate to strive towards.

At least that is where I have arrived at at this point of the conversations herein.

Hence the new topic… let the discoveries begin…

(Bill Ames) #16

I have no idea what you just said. Please simplify, I do not see it as a question or a request or a suggestion. It seems to be multiple sentences and I do not know where to start. Please clarify.

(Mark's Myth) #17

@BillAmes I was referencing the Bohm information I posted above…

Discussion = expectation of reaching a goal or decision
Dialogue = expectation of exploring and learning

(Bill Ames) #18

This I understand. What are we exploring and learning, what is the focus of our words. Are the words in the Question Title relevant to our dialogue? If not, what is the focus of the dialogue? If they are, is the focus on answering the question or perhaps the meaning of the question? I understand what we want to do, I am just unsure to what are we doing it?

(Mark's Myth) #19

In the context of @denisewheeler’s original question… it would be to explore what the difference is between discussion and dialogue (as in dialogue it may be possible to remove “debate and argue”) …and if we agree on these differences then we were heading into the new topic on Bohm Dialogue to see how that may be effective while learning about it together …and practicing it, if possible.

(Bill Ames) #20

Very good. Now, are we exploring this based on, say, a dictionary definition of each word or are we exploring on what each of use believes the meaning is for each word? It is possible we could offer our own definitions on which to have the group explore the definitions. I really hope someone participating will offer an example of an exploration. If we see two people talking and sit by and listen are we supposed to be able to tell if they are having a discussion or a dialog? I see this all the time in TV news, are the talking heads having a discussion or a dialog? If there are no significant differences how would we proceed: