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Promoting Charitable Conversations Thinker Analytix Webinar
What is intellectual charity, and why does it matter?
When you hear the word “charity,” you might think about donating money or time to a good cause. But there’s another meaning of charity that has to do with how we make arguments. “Intellectual charity” is a skill. We practice intellectual charity when we listen to and think about other people's arguments with precision and care - especially when we disagree. Being “charitable” in this context means treating other people’s arguments in the same way you want them to treat yours: as intelligent and well intentioned. Give people the benefit of the doubt, and try to assume best intentions. Sounds simple, but this principle is very hard to practice when you disagree strongly.

Why does intellectual charity matter? If you’ve ever been part of a discussion where a point of disagreement turns into a wave of assumptions, faulty evidence and emotional appeals, you’ve experienced the frustration of arguing without an honest exchange of ideas. This type of miscommunication happens everywhere - social media, classrooms, workspaces, and kitchens. The strain of talking past each other, learning nothing new, and feeling misunderstood often ends the discussion without making any progress.

The first skill of charity is reading or listening to an argument carefully enough to pinpoint the exact points of disagreement and understand why you disagree. Forging a deeper understanding of someone's argument puts you in a position to ask for clarification and to develop a respectful, rigorous response.

Join Harvard Fellow Nate Otey to learn a simple, practical set of tools that you can use to improve your students' charity skills so they can discuss current issues with precision and care. CEUs will be offered for participating in this webinar.

Jan 28, 2021 04:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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