The Debator’s Golden Rule


In debate, do not nitpick the little stuff in your opponent’s argument.  Instead, help make your opponent’s argument as strong as you can.  Correct his weak spots for him.  Then offer counters to what you consider the strongest version of your opponent’s argument – try to anticipate your own cheap criticisms.    Make your opponent the best partner you can.  For the goal is not to win the debate, but for you both to better approximate the truth.
— by Sabio Lantz

: I am please to discover (7 months after this post) that this principle was previously aptly named “The Principle of Charity” back in 1958. I thought I should note it. This should not be surprising, as it seems rather common sense.



Filed under Critical Thinking, Philosophy & Religion

6 responses to “The Debator’s Golden Rule

  1. I just love this!

    I posted it about it on a discussion forum I participate in from time to time:

    With the comment “It’s refreshing to find more atheists like myself who are more interested in seeking truth than in being right.”

  2. Thank you for the mention, Mike. I hope I pick up a few more readers like you !

  3. I need to read back through your blog. I see some interesting posts!

  4. Al

    Thanks for linking a recent post to this one. I wasn’t reading you back in May.

    It makes sense, if we are truly trying to better ‘approximate the truth’ (good phrase!).

    I fear that far too often (sigh) we are much more interested in winning converts than going deeper. And that goes for discussions of politics, climate change, philosophy or religion.

    Thanks for calling us to a loftier standard.

  5. Thanx for visiting Al. Yeah, actually, it is a reminder I need for myself all the time ! I figure if I post it here, I will remember more often.

  6. I need to take these words to heart. Beautiful.

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