8) Debates vs. Arguments

To many people, debating and arguing are the same thing. They are the same annoying banter that cause people who would otherwise be good friends to not get along.

They are the  epitome of stressfullness and the bane of all things peaceful. They are annoying and useless.

However, there are a few people, including myself, who are inclined to disagree.

According to the dictionary, an argument is “an exchange of diverging or opposing views, typically a heated or angry one.” It is compared to “quarrel” or “dispute.”

Debate, on the other hand, is this: “a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.”

They don’t seem too similar to me. But some of you may still think that they are merely worded differently and basically mean the same thing. Or you may think that argument is a common word and debate is a fancier version of it.

However, the concept of debating was formed into an instrument of intellection by Socrates, the great philosopher. He believed that a true debate was “a form of cooperative, argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions.” (wikipedia.com).

An argument, on the other hand, is like a fire started from a spark. It grows and grows and burns and burns.

My underlying statement here is: debates are good and arguments are bad.

Not only are they different in their purpose, but they are different in cause and effect. A debate is where two or more people with different opinions try to learn by explaining their views and listen to the opposing views. The goal of a debate is to learn, and the cause and effect are a lack of knowledge that turns into enlightenment.

The purpose of an argument is driven by negative emotions. It is usually caused by anger or selfishness. Where debates use researched facts and informed opinions, arguments are sporadic and little to no factual information is used. The cause of an argument can be many things, but the effect is almost always negative.

So perhaps you should rethink your interactions with people. Disagreeing with someone is not wrong. It makes you unique. It means you are an individual.

What truly matters is how you go about your disagreements. Will you use intelligence and facts, or will you yell at someone until they submit to your rage?

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"I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

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