Respectful Arguments

Philosopher Daniel Dennett proposes four keys to skillful responses in arguments.

You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement). You should mention anything you have learned from your target. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

The intent is simple and practical: build receptivity in others so they can accept well your differences.