‘In Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking Daniel Dennett offers a list of rules formulated decades ago by the legendary social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport:
How to compose a successful critical commentary:
- You should 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.
- You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
- You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
- Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism….’
— Via Pocket
Let’s be real, though. There is a certain class of disagreement that has become especially prevalent in the last four-plus years in which:
- there is no way to re-express your target’s position clearly, vividly, and fairly without sounding delusional
- there are no appreciable points of agreement
- nothing is learned from your target.