Consensus

The Rogerian argument seems to me to be very practical. As the text states, the purpose of academic arguments is to “…approach an issue as an opportunity to solve a mutual problem”. However, this rarely occurs. What this means is that arguments, rather than being used toward the purpose of enhancing and deepening each party’s understanding of a subject, tend to instead reinforce and strengthen each respective party’s more narrow and less refined view of a topic. Thus, no true growth happens. In fact, I would be willing to argue that degradation of the subject occurs, since rather than learning more about a specific topic, the participants of the argument leave with an even more steadfast belief in the “rightness” of their own limited view on a matter.

What the Rogerian argument offers is a template from which to break us out of our more rigid habits; indeed, I will argue that the fact that we tend to argue to be right, rather than to learn, stems from habit. It is a learned behavior, conditioned, and as such can be reconditioned to a more constructive form of communication. The basis of the Rogerian argument lies in “…promotion of emphatic listening and consensus-building dialogue”. Therefore, rather than posing a specific viewpoint and attempting to recognize other viewpoints simply for the purpose of undermining them, a more balanced approach is taken. Each viewpoint has its positives and negatives analyzed. Following analysis, the best parts of each viewpoint are extracted, refined, and formulated into a new viewpoint, one that results from open consensus rather than manipulative rhetoric. I am a huge fan of this method, as I think it has the most potential for the benefit of individuals at any level, be it in individual relationships or in high-level politics.

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One thought on “Consensus

  1. I feel like this problem is one of the main barriers to human cooperation. Our desire to be right is often so strong that we undermine friendships and sabotage partnerships. but hey, at least we were right and they were wrong. But where odes that leave us? Being “right” rarely solves any issue and,more often then not, exacerbates it. The key to accomplishing anything together is to take a step back, let go of our personal soapboxes and learn to first understand the other viewpoint an compromise.

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