Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 29 November |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

4 Rules for criticizing with kindness

Viktorbuehler CC via WikiPedia

Daniel Esparza - published on 12/28/16

Follow these rules to avoid unnecessary, useless, and harsh discussions

In his book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, the American philosopher Daniel Dennett (who has been called “the Bertrand Russell of our day”) offers what he calls “the best antidote to our tendency to caricature our opponent,” a brief listicle of four rules, originally written by Russian-American social psychologist and game theoretician Anatol Rapoport, which Dennett brilliantly synthesized, as we read in the post published by Maria Popova in her well-known blog, Brain Pickings:

How to Write a Successful Critical Comment:

  • You should try to explain the position you reject as clearly, vividly, and justly as possible for your own opponent to say, “Thank you, I wish I could have formulated my ideas that way clearly”.
  • You should make a list of points on which you agree, especially if you are discussing issues for which there are no tacit or general agreements.
  • You should mention anything you have learned from your opponent.
  • Only then will you be allowed to make some criticism or refutation.

Certainly, these four simple rules could avoid more than one futile discussion, especially online.

If you want to read the full post, as published in Brain Pickings, you can click here.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
PRAY
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things we can be grateful for this Thanksg...
EARTHQUAKE
Bret Thoman, OFS
Two earthquakes couldn't stop these Italian n...
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
6 Questions to determine if your heart is har...
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio's favorite prayer of petition
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.