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

(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:

(denise wheeler) #21

It’s interesting that both start with the letter “d," but I think of dialogue as a process that allows us to “think together.”

With discussion I always think of it as more or an intimate relationship, more of a drawing together of people, where most jump in with their opinions with little pause or reflection.

In fact, I had to really stop and think about how the two compare and picture how a discussion would be vs a dialogue. And this is what came to mind:


First neighbor says: I think we should file a complaint with the city.

Second neighbor says: If we do that, then we’ll have to stay on top of it and go to all those stupid meetings.

Third neighbor says: I think we just should wait and see if it dies down. I don’t want to create any more problems.

Fourth neighbor says: It’s our right to file a complaint. Why does everyone always think that creates more problems?

To me that’s a “discussion”


First neighbor says: I wonder why the city keeps letting this happen?

Second neighbor says: I’m sure they have a good reason for it. Maybe it’s the best way for them to go about it.

Third neighbor says: I can barely run my business, let alone an entire city. That has to be tough.

Fourth neighbor says: We should also keep in mind that the city has done some pretty great things. So maybe we should just let it go and see what happens.

To me that’s a “dialogue”

One leads to a resolution and the other just goes on and on. So easy to see how you can remove the “debate and argue” from it.

(denise wheeler) #22

@BillAmes I think what @Eleprocon is saying is that he sees dialogue as a means of bringing people together to help build an understanding of something, and wants to use that to “inquire” into ideas instead of everyone advocating for their own opinions.

(Bill Ames) #23

I agree with that. To understand something one needs to inspect it, perhaps test it, take it apart, figure out how it works. The first step is to find that “something.” One question I have, if we:

does this imply there can be no experts in the exchange of thoughts? Perhaps your use of opinions actually means what an uneducated person may think about the subject? Like asking the third-grade science class to talk about how to solve global warming, I am sure they would have many new approaches that humanity had not yet considered.

Update: I was thinking about Bohm and how it might be implemented in software. I am not talking about AI, where we may not know what is going on. Just use the definition of Bohm to write the code. Now, that code would not be usable for things like self driving cars or medical diagnostics, both of which require firm decisions. My question is how would we use this Bohm software, what examples can we offer showing it has a useful purpose. Just like we can test a spreadsheet program to balance our budget the same program can be used to plan a corporate takeover. If I had on my PC a well written Bohm program, what would it require as inputs and what would it have as outputs? (This update is actually an example of the result of thinking about the Bohm process. )

(denise wheeler) #24

That’s interesting @BillAmes, but a bit beyond me. I can see the point about wanting to put it into an applicable program, but I don’t know enough about the Bohm process to know how to apply it in hard ways like that.

From the questions @Eleprocon raised, however, it appears to me that he simply wanted to try to step away from the standard discussion process, in that “I respond, you respond, they all respond” kind of way and see if it’s possible to have a more free range dialogue, in order to build upon an idea instead of just having everyone put their two cents into it.

So I think he’s talking more about the process than the actual content. What the actual steps of that process are, I don’t know. So that might be a good place to start or have someone explain.

(Bill Ames) #25

All human activity and software is executing a process. We refine the process by seeing how it works and making corrections. The Bohm process is just like street signs, if you have no destination they are useless. Unless we see the Bohm process in action we have no place to go.

(denise wheeler) #26

Hmmm… I interpreted it completely different than that. In fact, to me it seems like the complete opposite, where it isn’t about arriving at any preconceived destination or having any set agenda/road map.

I could be wrong, but it seems like it’s more about letting go of those kind of restrictions, that belief that you need to know where you’re going and how to get there, and simply just putting out some thoughts or ideas and seeing where they lead in an open, mutually respectful and engaging way.

Kind of like having a blank canvas that everyone adds their own paint/colors to it. You have no idea how it’s going to end up, but the collective process of doing it will eventually lead to something and, in the process, hopefully enable each person to approach it in a new way.

So basically put down the brush you usually use, or ignore those sign posts and road map, and just be open to and inspired by the thoughts of others instead of those set notions of how something should be accomplished.

Just my take on it, but interested to know how others see it.

(denise wheeler) #27

Btw – it reminds me a lot of quantum mechanics, which I’ve had to learn about since those who laid it out are part of the book I’m doing.