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Julia Dhar's Talk on Debating Highlights the Importance of Common Ground

 - Nov 21, 2018
References: bcg & ted
Business strategist and champion debater Julia Dhar delivers a talk on debating that advocates for the importance of the act, the viability of common ground and the correct etiquette for engaging in such an activity. For the speaker, public discourse is broken and to fix it, one needs to embrace debating in respectful and constructive environments.

Dhar strongly believes that both public and private conversations and disagreements can be resolved soundly and productively through debate. As a coach in the art of formal disagreement, the speaker believes in a framework that can be mutually respectful for both parties and one that can effectively open up the conversation. Professional debaters begin by finding the common ground for the issue at hand — for example, the belief that everyone should have equal access to education. By engaging from this starting point, they are able to invite the audience and their opponent into, what psychologists call, "a shared reality." From then on, as the conversation unfolds, individuals can respectfully argue about how the world is or how it should be.

The talk on debating stresses that an extremely important part of the activity is separating identity from arguments and being genuinely inclined toward persuasion. That is, one shouldn't become obsessively attached to the idea he/she is defending. On the contrary, one needs to embrace the humility of uncertainty. In doing so, Julia Dhar argues that one can reach a level of intellectual humility that would actually be of great aid in the process of defending ideas. Through acquiring such a quality, one is more capable of "evaluating a broad range of evidence," is less likely to be irrationally defensive when confronted with conflicting evidence and can have a stronger objective stance.

Debates are carried out face-to-face, accross the table. This physical component adds a humanizing aspect to the entire ordeal, allowing for the possibility of genuine human connection and the productive receiving and evaluation of ideas. Julia Dhar's talk on debating provides incredibly valuable information and insight for when there is a need to address an issue or balance conflicting ideas.