How to fight fair over controversial topics?
January 3, 2013 10:09 PM Subscribe
How do you deal with someone who doesn't seem to fight fair? My mother and I often have intellectual discussions about politics, religion and ethical questions, where we often have different or even contradictory views to one another. They wind up as arguments despite my best intentions - please help me to do better!
posted by EatMyHat to Religion & Philosophy (30 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I believe I am mostly a fair fighter, but I don't feel like my mother is - she interrupts me when I'm speaking, tends to rant, sometimes "preaches to the choir," has strong and apparent emotions which 'scale up' the tension in the debate, and seems to hijack the debate by focusing on tiny details to deflect from the deeper/more important issue, making assumptions, or going off on a seemingly unrelated tangent.
I'm not sure how the debates/discussions start exactly, but they seem to come out of usual conversation on political issues or current affairs, which we are both interested in. I feel like she starts these conversations but I can't be sure as they seem to come out of nowehere. I enjoy having a challenging intellectual debate, so I don't want to avoid these conversations entirely but I am fed up with things descending into an argument or becoming overly emotional. I want to feel like we are both giving eachother the best chance to agree, convince eachother, or disagree. I want that to happen whilst remaining calm, mostly rational, and reasonable.
Is there anything I can do to transform these debates into "fair fights"?
Please don't suggest moving out! I can't afford that, and in any case I could get a flatmate or a boss like this someday!