TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Is a purely logical debate possible?

Is it possible to have a debate with absolutely no emotion and using only logic? I cant imagine it being possible because even if you craft a perfectly logical argument and remove your own emotion your listeners will still receive and analyze it in light of their own emotions. As a subquestion what emotions do you think predominate debate? I would say anger and fear. Would it be possible to change that? I'm thinking of this especially in light of persuasive debate, when you want someone to do something for you.

+4
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 5 2013: I think a better question is: Is a purely logical debate desirable?
    That would be difficult to say no to, if it were possible. Since it's not, I think the effort to remove emotion from debate is undesirable. We have all been taught that our emotions and our preferences are bad reasons to think a certain way, so more often than not we reason and rationalize a logical front for our emotions, so that our words sound logical when the real foundation for the point we're making is how we feel. This kind of false argument is unhelpful, in my opinion. I feel like arguments can be more calm, productive, and informative when we accept our emotions and incorporate them into our arguments. When we bare our souls, so to speak, our logic can accompany our emotions instead of serving as a front for them.
    • Sep 6 2013: I liked your comments. If i may ask.....Do you think debate Constrains or Expands a persons ability to Perceive and Understand Truth (whether or not that truth is in alignment with his own opinion)?
      • thumb
        Sep 6 2013: Depends on how much the person knows him/herself? How open minded a person is to different perceptions/perspectives? Intent? Does a person simply want to "win" the debate? Or does s/he genuinely want to hear and/or consider other ideas? I think/feel the person decides whether or not s/he will be constrained or expanded.....yes? no? maybe? I'm waiting for David to respond too:>)
        • Sep 6 2013: I agree with you Colleen. Debate should (and usually does) expand our knowledge. It is definitely possible to have a debate and learn nothing, though. This is usually due to our own willful blindness. What do you think, Scott?
    • thumb
      Sep 6 2013: I like and agree with your comment too David. As multi sensory, multi dimensional human beings, it seems that it would not be possible to totally remove all emotions from a debate.

      It has been mentioned already on this thread that what feels logical to one person, may not feel logical to another person. So, as you say...what we feel about something is the foundation of a debate and we can reason and rationalize a logical front for our emotions.

      I also believe that arguments can be more calm, productive and clear when we recognize and accept our emotions and incorporate them into the debate. To "Know thyself" and know where our thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs and opinions are coming from in our "self" is an important piece when/if our intent is to keep anger and fear out of the debate.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.