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(2016) Paradoxes of conflicts, Dordrecht, Springer.

"In order to argue, you have to agree" and other paradoxes of debate

Adelino Cattani

pp. 97-107

"Opening a discussion" is an act that gives rise to two opposite moods. Indeed, the discussion, due to its tension between dialogue and debate, tolerance and intransigence, has a double face: a reassuring face and a worrisome face.Some people think that it is good to avoid a clash of opinions; by contrast, there are those who believe that precisely by means of the clash of opposing opinions we can derive the best solution. Discussion is then evaded and discouraged or alternately enhanced and promoted. The ideal unanimous agreement, the consent, and the compromise are good but only when they constitute a genuine reconciliation of differences at the end of a debate that has not concealed or canceled these differences.Sometimes we forget that almost every human activity is competitive in nature to different degrees, ranging from the agonistic sport to the social conflict, and that conflict and cooperation are mutually connected. It is an observation that behind every conflict, there is an element of cooperation because "you cannot argue if you do not agree", that is, agree at least on a starting premise and on some minimal rules. "You cannot argue if you do not agree" is precisely the paradox of the good debate.Because the discussion is a mixed genre that includes dialogue and controversy, it involves intertwining a "positive wire" and a "negative wire" on the borderline between war and peace.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-41978-7_8

Full citation:

Cattani, A. (2016)., "In order to argue, you have to agree" and other paradoxes of debate, in G. Scarafile & L. Gruenpeter Gold (eds.), Paradoxes of conflicts, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 97-107.

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