Understanding Self and Others Through Argument

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Arguments aid in the evaluation of one’s ideas and beliefs in a very real way. To make a proper argument one must look at a topic in a majorly objective way, which is something that a person is not naturally inclined to do. To make a good argument, many sides need to be presented and researched objectively. In doing honest research one must see some validity in other ideas, albeit with their goal in mind, asking “How can I use this opposition to strengthen rather than hinder my argument?” This process not only aids in personal growth, but helps in the process of becoming closer to others both in friendship and community. This does not mean surrendering one’s own views completely; for, after research one might very well, and often does, remain loyal to previous beliefs. It simply allows a better understanding of other world views and opinions, and therefore allows one to better understand other people and respect ideas outside of their own. When you can’t respect the beliefs and ideas of others you are listening without hearing.

To say that there are no other valid opinions is to say that an idea is either fact or personal preference. If it is fact, such as that the sky is blue, it is of course not a basis for argument. Nor is a subject argument if it is based on personal preference, such as a personal aversion to sushi. An attempt to find opposing argument to either of these would be futile. However, many things that a person believes to be true can be argued and often are.

Argument is so essential to personal growth in that it requires one to step outside of self and discover things that they would otherwise like to remain ignorant of. Argument forces one to look their ideas in the eye and question them and in doing this either reshape belief or make existing belief stronger. Without any doubt or research at any point, how can one claim a solid belief? Something can be claimed and paraded all day, but if one has not sat down and honestly evaluated their positions how they can say that they really believe anything at all? An idea that cannot be tested and remain solid is not really an idea at all. It is not right, it is not even wrong.

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5 thoughts on “Understanding Self and Others Through Argument

  1. “If you cant respect the beliefs and ideas of others, you are listening without hearing.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is nothing wrong with a healthy argument. More often then not you learn something about yourself or the other person. Even if two people agree on the answer to a question, there is room for an argument regarding how you arrived at that particular answer. Personally I really enjoy participating in healthy arguments with my friends. One of the more recent arguments revolved around whether or not stretching on a regular basis was beneficial. I had always been under the impression that stretching your muscles increased flexibility and strength. My friend challenged that idea, and after some research I came to the conclusion that we were both right. Studies prove each side of the argument to be valid. Alas I learned something new! Arguments also keep your mind fresh, alert, and ready for anything.

  2. Arguments happen every day without everyone noticing it. Some arguments can be very healthy and some arguments can lead to disaster. The most common argument is with politics and that can be very ugly and not lead to anything good in the future. Some arguments with a couple can be kind of healthy because not everyone can agree with what everyone says but agree with what they believe is right. Some arguments in a relationship can be very healthy or they can end up in a bad situation as an example as in divorce or hurting each other and hurting the kid’s future if they split up. Some couples argue and they try to work it out and not make it into a big of a deal. Their arguments where later on the people actually agree with what the other person is saying. There is many times of bad or good arguments out there.

  3. It’s interesting to relate the topic of arguments with that of personal growth. I had never thought of it that way, but after reading and reflecting on it, I also agree that the two go hand in hand. To be able to have an intellectual argument, you must realize that there are multiple sides. Learning more about the other sides can not only expose them to worldly outlooks and teach someone something that they did not previously know, but also strengthen their view on the topic that is being debated. One has to come to the realization that there is very much a difference between opinion and fact. Unfortunately some people will probably never accept that their idea might be “wrong”. Arguments are inevitable. Next time I find myself in the middle of a confrontation, I will remember to research alternate sides and take them into consideration because it might just help my case in the long run.

  4. Arguments, and by extension an evaluation of differences of opinion, are extremely important for the growth of an individual and society as a whole. However, not all arguments can be academic and although an individual should strive to take as much bias out of their reasoning before forming an opinion there are many issues that prevent such action from being taken. Political issues are particularly effective at forcing an emotional response into the opinions of an individual, and it is unreasonable to assume that any one person or group would be able to filter out that undercurrent of feeling to present a dispassionate argument regarding social issues. Arguments surrounding gun control, abortion and many other issues that form the core of American political discussions are attacked in such a way that they become an intensely divisive issue to the point where the current government is almost incapable of action. Major news organizations are now so intensely dedicated to either Republican or Democratic values that they purposefully skew their reporting to reflect the values and beliefs the company prefers. Debate, in moderation, can be quite beneficial to society but it would be unwise to assume that all arguments can be productive.

  5. Your points on the importance of arguments is really valid. Honestly I had never thought of it that way. You showed how it can be pretty essential to basic human development. Also your point about looking at the whole of an argument from objective point of view is something I also agree with. When one fails to do this they can often appear ignorant and foolish. Moreover bolstering ones arguments with some points of the opposition is a great way to fortify, and ensure the effectiveness of, ones own argument. Another angle you presented that I had never really thought about was the correlation between arguments and creating a stronger bond with friends, family, and community. That was another great point. “When you can’t respect the beliefs and ideas of others you are listening without hearing.” This I find to be very true and it’s a problem many people have, or a bad habit other cultivate. You shared great points and a valid, well thought out, perspective.

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