10 February 2010

Same Diff

So after speech last night, Dad and I took Escapist, Hobbes, and M home. In the car, Hobbes said something that got me thinking. We were talking about arguments. Apparently, I'm better to argue with than Lady Specs, and Hobbes postulated that this was because I was in debate. He said that the few arguments I'd had with him were far more reasonable than the ones he'd had with Lady Specs.

This rather confused me, for in my recollection, I had never argued with him. When I asked him to explain what arguments we'd had, Hobbes reminded me of two separate conversations: one about the incessant 'free will/determinism' debate that seems to suck the life blood out of all homeschool Christian conversations; the other, about vegetarianism and omnivores.

And this is where I started thinking. Hobbes, obviously, viewed those conversations as arguments. My memory, however, was of two discussions. So is there a difference? How can one participant have an argument, but the other have a discussion? And how come a 'friendly argument' is easier to have 'with a debater' than with someone else?

I'm not certain, but I think it all boils down to the mindset you approach the conversation with. From past observations, the people who have arguments are so passionate in their beliefs that any attack on the beliefs is seen as an attack on the person themselves. I know in both conversations with Hobbes, he vigorously defended his position. But so did I. So what made the conversation experience different for us?

Thinking about it, now, I think I've hit it. I go into a conversation disassociating my beliefs with myself. I've learned from debate that just because someone attacks my assertions doesn't mean they attack me. The implication, therefore, is that an argument arises when two people, so passionate that their identities depend on their beliefs disagree. A discussion would then be a conversation where the two people uphold their arguments without viewing them as part of their identities.

Hmm. Interesting. I shall have to think on this more.

Do you have any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. The interesting part is that when two people argue about identity-changing issues, one of them must have an identity based on untruth. People should just accept that their identities can change.

    Your Sherlock music goes nicely with this post. I can picture you smoking a pipe while detailing it.