Taking the Other’s Perspective

When two people disagree on an issue, they often disagree because they want two different things. These two things don’t necessarily conflict, and the source of the problem is that each person is arguing that the thing they want is the thing we should focus on now. A good way of resolving these issues is to have each person articulate the other person’s argument.

For example, if Peter is debating a case with Marcello, and Peter and Marcello disagree, Peter should try to articulate and understand Marcello’s argument in his own words. Likewise, Marcello should try to articulate Peter’s position. By articulating the other person’s argument, you can see how well you understand the other person’s arguments, and you can see which parts of the argument you actually don’t understand.

There are likely a number of factual mis-understandings that underlie the disagreement. By articulating the other person’s argument, you will have a chance to expose those misunderstandings and resolve them.

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