A Guide to Constructive Disagreement


Philosophers use disagreement as a way to discover truth. It is constructive. It can lead one to refine one's own position and/or better understand the opposing position. When you are comfortable with the people you disagree with, it can be a fun way to learn. It can even build community. Yet students often see disagreement as divisive. There are winners and losers, and it's not much fun when you are losing. Rarely do students actively use it as a tool for better understanding their own positions and arguments. In this one-page handout, I provide some tips to help students have constructive and respectful disagreement. It is intended for use in the philosophy classroom, but it may have other uses. [If you use the guide in your class, it would be nice to let me know but not required. Feedback and criticism are welcome.]

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Chris Tucker
William & Mary


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