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Dialogue vs. Debate


Dialogue Debate
Dialogue is collaborative: two or more sides work together toward common understanding   Debate is oppositional: two sides oppose each other and attempt to prove each other wrong
In dialogue finding common ground is the goal In debate winning is the goal
In dialogue one listens to the other side(s) in order to understand, find meaning, and find agreement In debate one listens to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments
Dialogue enlarges and possibly changes a participant's point of view Debate affirms a participant's own point of view
Dialogue complicates positions and issues Debate simplifies positions and issues
Dialogue reveals assumptions for reevaluation Debate defends assumptions as truth
Dialogue causes introspection on one's own position Debate causes critique of the other position
It is acceptable to change one's position It is a sign of weakness and defeat to change one's position
Dialogue is flexible in nature Debate is rigid in nature
Dialogue stresses the skill of synthesis Debate stresses the skill of analysis
Dialogue opens the possibility of reaching a better solution than either of the original solutions Debate defends one's own position as the best solution and excludes other solutions
Dialogue strives for multiplicity in perspective Debate strives for singularity in perspective
Dialogue affirms the relationship between the participants through collaboration Debate affirms one's own strength in opposition to other points of view
Dialogue creates an open-minded attitude: an openness to being wrong and to change Debate creates a closed-minded attitude, a determination to be right
In dialogue one submits one's best thinking, knowing that other peoples' reflections will help improve it rather than destroy it In debate one submits one's best thinking and defends it against challenges to show that it is right
Dialogue calls for temporarily suspending one's beliefs Debate calls for investing wholeheartedly in one's beliefs
In dialogue one searches for basic agreements In debate one searches for glaring differences
In dialogue one searches for strengths in the other position In debate one searches for flaws and weaknesses in the other position
Dialogue involves a real concern for the other person and seeks to not alienate or offend Debate involves a countering of the other position without focusing on feelings or relationship and often belittles or deprecates the other position
Dialogue assumes that many people have pieces of the answer and that together they can put them into a workable answer Debate assumes that there is a right answer and that someone has it
Dialogue encourages de-polarization of an issue Debate encourages polarization of an issue
In dialogue everyone is part of the solution to the problem In debate one person or viewpoint wins over the other
Dialogue affirms the idea of people learning from each other Debate affirms the idea of people learning individually in competition with others
Dialogue remains open-ended Debate implies a conclusion


Dialogue vs. Debate (PDF Print Version)