|•||Should we resort to distortion in order to win an argument?|
|•||How forceful should we be in our attempt to persuade others to agree with our views?|
Hughes (2000) suggests that we utilize the principle of charity when we respond to arguments. This principle is simple and just requires us to treat our opponents fairly. In the public forum, we give them an opportunity to clarify what they have said. When they are not present, we adopt a generous interpretation of their ideas. In other words, we do what we can to avoid demeaning the argument or the person, or fall into a critical thinking fallacy that only gives us a superficial sense of gratification. As always, we are looking for the most reasonable explanation for an argument.
Although some believe that the whole point of a debate or argument is to win, it is clearly to move closer to some truth. Those who have witnessed debates where fallacies are heaped upon the opposition, along with an unhealthy dose of name calling, can attest to the fact that this is not the way to evolve and advance addiction facts.
The following are additional suggestions that are useful when engaging in ethical critical thinking arguments. They are meant to facilitate critical thinking without abuse, and were adapted from Brookfield (1987).
Critical thinking in the addiction field should not be used to threaten the integrity of others. This includes the blatant disregard of people's feelings with insults and out and out condemnation of their ideas. Even small signs, such as a raised eyebrow, a smirk of distain, or a look of superiority can threaten someone's ego. Such immature behavior is certain to drive people into a defensive