In continuation of the discussion at the last meetup (June 7th) , I'd like to clarify what I was saying when we ran out of time. Indeed, I agree it is not necessary—or appropriate—for people to always preface their statements with "I think" or "in my opinion". However, when someone is building an arguing using a set of 3-4 propositions—each of which depends on the other—my preference is to give people in the group an opportunity to agree on a stated proposition before moving to the next one in your argument. Instead of stating the proposition as fact and assuming agreement, I believe it appropriate for their to be a pause, and a question asked—"do you agree?”—before moving on to the next proposition in the argument. Failure to do that on a consistent basis helps prime people and move them—irrationally—towards agreement because it is much more difficult to dispute propositions made 3-4 minutes ago after other propositions have been built on them. In this situation, there becomes a need to take notes during the discussion of the propositions in complex arguments—like an attorney or debater does—in order to keep accurate track and examine them. In a debate or cross examination situation that would be appropriate, but I don’t feel it appropriate in a Humanianity meetup group.
With regard to where to post your comments, since they have to do with what is taking place within Charlotte Humanianity, a specific Humanian organization that is a meetup.com group, probably the best place to do your posting would be on the message board of that group.
You are indeed talking about a very important and significant issue with regard to the best way to have such meetings. I don't believe that there are any real clear answers. There are different kinds of discussions that can take place. For instance, specific material from a book or a website may be reviewed, either with general comments or with going over the material from the beginning to the end (if possible), dealing with each paragraph, or perhaps even sentence, by finding out if there is any disagreement within the group with regard to it, or any lack of clarity of its meaning. Another possibility is that perhaps just two individuals within the group might, for a time, engage in dialogue (friendly debate) regarding a specific issue that they disagree about. Or there can be the procedure of going in an orderly fashion around the group for each person's comments, or people can comment by raising their hands, being chosen by the order in which they did so. And I suppose there might be other procedures.
A basic problem is that discussions in groups, especially in larger groups, is fragmentation of the topic, with no orderly progression in an effort to arrive at consensus or as much agreement as possible. Such progressive, in-depth discussion of an issue can best be done perhaps by just two people. There is of course the format of a meeting in which there is first a debate between two individuals, with several opportunities of each to response to what the other has just said, followed by a portion of the meeting in which others, who have been an audience, now get to ask the two individuals questions. (And there of course can be more than two people debating.)
The procedure chosen will probably best be chosen dependent upon what the purpose of the discussion is.
We can discuss this issue further in the local group, or its message board, or here if you like.
Again, thanks for your comments.
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