2 How Do We Form Ideas and Arrive at a Position?

Before we explore the process and skills involved in constructive debate, let’s spend some time thinking about how we develop and communicate our ideas. Although most of us are trained to value objectivity, much of our communication is actually based on our own subjective interpretation of events. We react to these interpretations, which we will call assumptions, by making value judgments; these judgments are often followed by an emotional response. All this gets communicated to others. Linguistics, the scientific study of language, has developed some useful concepts that can help us understand the structure of communication.


Each of us has a unique way of looking at the world. This ...

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