Last week, Neil posted a brief little gem on the difference between dialogue and debate. I’d just like to expand on this a little, because it’s something that’s been going through my mind a bit of late, what with what this Rousing Departures thing is all about…
Neil ponders a few distinctions surrounding the adversarial nature of debate versus the cooperative nature of dialogue, and the idea that debate can stimulate dialogue. At the risk of being adversarial (or am I being cooperative?), I’m not so sure it’s entirely that clear-cut. It can be clear-cut if you want; you can have debate-and-that’s-that, or debate I think, can be far more integral to dialogue than in just the role of stimulating it. I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘stimulate’.
All I’d like to say at this point, is that at base, I think debate is best viewed as being a bit like a particle collider. You have two cases wound-up and fired into a direct collision with each other, the various statements, assumptions and arguments being broken down into their base components according to their respective strengths. What you are then left with is the job of interpreting the results of the collision, which requires some kind of team.
I think I’m going to use this analogy again sometime in the near future.