Giving someone thoughtful, productive criticism is a lot harder than it sounds. To keep things productive, cognitive scientist, author and philosopher Daniel Dennett shares four simple rules to help guide you to successful critical commentary.
Whether you’re in a debate about which way the toilet paper roll goes, or a heated discussion about politics, respect is a number one priority in disagreements. To get to a useful end, Dennett suggests you stick to four rules to keep from turning the debate into a caricature:
1. Attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
Following these rules breeds respect, and that means you can continue the conversation until it reaches a productive outcome. Head over to The Guardian for a few more tips for priming your brain for critical thought.
Daniel Dennett’s seven tools for thinking [The Guardian via Boing Boing]