How Civil Discussion Makes Us Wiser IV: Understanding Possibilities

The final way that civil discussion helps make us wiser is also the most subtle, but not if we remember that civil discussion isn’t only—or even mainly—about “the way things are” but rather about “how things might be.”  And it’s here that civil discussion can really come into its own.

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Done well (i.e., when it adheres to the principles of respect, constructiveness, openness, and fairness), civil discussion is custom-made for exploring alternative visions of the future, various ways of moving toward them, and the costs and benefits of each.  I know, because this is the kind of work I’ve been doing at the non-profit, non-partisan Interactivity Foundation (IF) for more than 15 years—where I’ve seen nearly a thousand discussions have that kind of effect.

A short, reasonably priced book on IF’s discussion process, its focus on possibilities, and its track record is available on Amazon.

IF’s website offers free discussion and facilitation guidebooks along with many other resources.

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