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How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently | Brain Pickings


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In Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (public library) — the same fantastic volume that gave us Dennett on the dignity and art-science of making mistakes — he offers what he calls “the best antidote [for the] tendency to caricature one’s opponent”: a list of rules formulated decades ago by the legendary social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport, best-known for originating the famous tit-of-tat strategy of game theory. Dennett synthesizes the steps:    How to compose a successful critical commentary:        You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.        You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).        You should mention anything you have learned from your target.        Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

1. Re-express the target's position in a way that makes the target say thank you.

2. List points of agreement.

3. Mention anything you learned.

4. Be specific about something you disagree with.

Yes, thanks Adam, that's what I MEANT to put down.

You did put it down; I just wrote what I heard it say. 

Thanks! I've recently realized that Kindness is the area I most need to grow in. 

What's the best way to grow kindness? Practice?

well, you've come to the right place!  adam is an expert in kindness.

Yes, but I'm not an expert in *growing* kindness. That's new to me.

My guess is that growing kindness comes from practice.

But maybe Ernie has more ideas.

Empathy causes kindness?

Or empathy correlates with kindness?

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