How to have good arguments with world debate champion Bo Seo | ReThinking with Adam Grant
World debate champion Bo Seo joins Adam Grant in a riveting discussion about the art and value of good arguments.
They delve into how debate skills can enhance our thinking and how to apply these skills in everyday life.
Bo Seo’s new book ‘Good Arguments: How Debate Teaches Us to Listen and Be Heard’ is also highlighted.
Critique and Construction in Debate
While it’s important to find holes in the other side’s argument, it’s equally important to construct a compelling argument of one’s own.
This involves making one’s thinking visible and legible to the other side, and anticipating the questions they might have.
Debate Skills in Everyday Life
Debate skills can be applied to everyday disagreements and discussions.
Emphasizing on listening, understanding the other side’s perspective, and providing an alternative argument can help in resolving conflicts and reaching a mutual understanding.
Emotional Aspect of Arguments
Recognizing the emotional aspect of having one’s arguments dismantled can help in formulating a more effective rebuttal.
Providing an alternative argument can help the other side cope with the loss of their original belief and make them more receptive to new ideas.
There’s a huge part of argumentation which is making your thinking visible and legible to the person across the table from you right and so often I think we think an argument is just a random collection of thoughts or just emoting as if the thing you’re trying to demonstrate is your sincere belief in the thing and I think usually that is not what’s that issue um it’s about whether you can invite in the other person so that they too can partake in that certainty in that point of view. – Bo Seo
Agreeableness and Self-Betrayal
Excessive agreeableness can lead to a sense of self-betrayal, as it involves suppressing one’s thoughts and keeping others at arm’s length.
This can limit the depth of relationships and result in a smaller personal and communal life.
One of the things that you learn very quickly is judges and so debates have an adjudicator someone who says who’s won and they are a kind of a proxy for the audience who’s listening they usually don’t look for reasons to vote against someone they look for reasons to vote for someone. – Bo Seo
Handling Bullies in a Debate
Bullies are often motivated by fear and every disagreement should start with some agreement.
It’s important to set boundaries and come to a consensus about what the disagreement is about.
Having a Conversation about the Conversation
Having a conversation about the conversation can be an effective strategy for dealing with someone who is bullying or getting overly heated in a debate.
It’s important to maintain control of the conversation and not let emotions take over.
The Argumentative Theory of Reason
The argumentative theory of reason suggests that the purpose of reasoning is to persuade, not to think.
However, when arguing, people often aim to be right or to win, rather than to find the truth.
This can lead to confirmation bias and desirability bias.
The Role of Debate in Education
The instinct to argue is already present in children and should be nurtured rather than suppressed.
Debate clubs in schools and incorporating debates into the classroom curriculum can help children develop their argumentation skills.