Greek word for talking despite differences
July 8, 2020 2:04 AM   Subscribe

I recall reading (probably in a book on facilitation or negotiation) about a Greek word for talking despite differences, basically dealing in good faith despite very serious differences. I would love to know what the word or term was. Also about any books dealing with the concept.
posted by unearthed to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: pistis? "The state of openness to persuasion without assuming certainty is still akin to showing ‘good faith’ with respect to someone else’s point of view, rendering Pistis a state of intellectual or perhaps spiritual openness to something beyond ourselves. "
posted by jcworth at 10:57 AM on July 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for that jcworth - "openness to persuasion without assuming certainty" got me a google one hit on a blog called Not quite there, so I searched - pistsis facilitation - which got me no-where as there's a prolific cannabis researcher called Pistis.

Next I searched - pistis negotiation - and saw the string "Roman Faith and Christian Faith: Pistis and Fides[B]..." in a book review titled - Pistis, Fides, and Propositional Belief.

a quote from the book "Pistis / fides is necessary, but risky, hopeful, and doubtful. It seesaws between trust and belief; it struggles to find a foundation..."

'pistis' didn't feel like the shape of my memory. Fides feels a lot closer. Fides seems to have been a Roman god and a concept about relationships - search on 'fides' in Roman Faith and Christian Faith gives me a lot of nuance.

Anyways that's all going waaay deeper than I want, I'm happy with knowing my word and it's much deeper context. I'm looking for verbal tools/frameworks to bootstrap difficult meetings where parties may be far apart but willing to deal (even somewhat) honestly. Fides seems to be a very useful framework in the facilitation / negotiation space.
posted by unearthed at 1:46 PM on July 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: "As pistis is a term coined in ancient Greek rhetorical practice, a natural point of departure was to examine the original meaning of the concept. Consulting Liddell & Scott’s “A Greek-English Lexicon” the meaning is first: “trust (in others), faith or belief” and second: “that, which provides such faith, either assurances, warrants or arguments, proof or persuasion”. In the translation from ancient Greek to Latin this dual meaning becomes even clearer, as pistis is divided into two separate words; it translates into either argumentum or fides. The term itself holds a duality, in that it encompasses both the effect and the reason (cause): both the state of having faith or trusting, and the very things that create said trust.... “What elements of pistis correspond to the three elements of ethos: phronesis, arete and eunoia?” I am very well aware that I am now navigating in uncharted waters, but tentatively I propose “truth”, “faith” and “respect”. “Truth” here understood in a rhetorical sense, namely the absence of lies and willful distortion of fact; “faith” here meaning the expectation that the opponent is (also) participating in the dialogue or debate with the aim of reaching the best possible solutions for the common good; and mutual “respect” as an indispensable element, if general trust is to be maintained."--Pistis - The common Ethos? (.pdf) Anne-Maren Andersen
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:34 PM on July 9, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks very much for this monkeyToes - it is very helpful (in navigating and guiding groups talking) to know the deeper roots of words; people seem to work-out or exhibit the deeper meanings even when they don't know them explicitly - as with the word 'environment' which infers something outside of ourselves, over time we see that outsidedness writ large across our lives and landscapes.
posted by unearthed at 11:30 PM on July 9, 2020

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