Christopher Love: Cultivating Civil Disagreement in an Uncivil Age


David Carlson

Cultivating Civil Disagreement in an Uncivil Age
Christopher W. Love

We show civility toward others when we disagree with their ideas in ways that
respect those persons’ intrinsic worth

        Civility is disagreement shaped by the worth of the other

Core Argument for Civil Disagreement
1) If we want to increase our chances of achieving clarity and reconciliation today,
we need to practice civil disagreement
2) We want to increase those chances
3) Therefore, we need to practice civil disagreement

Simplified Claim
Civil disagreement promotes effective dialogue, which promotes clarity, which
promotes reconciliation

“Clarity” Involves Insight into
C1) What our neighbors believe
C2) Why they believe it
C3) What is in fact the case

“Reconciliation” Consists of
Clear Cases
R1) We discover that we don’t actually disagree after all
R2) You persuade me to your side

Subtler Cases
R3) We continue to disagree, but you learn something (about my reasons or
background commitments) that casts my position in a more favorable light
R4) You learn something about my position that helps you counter it in the public
square—persuading others, if not me

Take the Discussion Further




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