Tag Archives: definition

Discussion or Argument?


Words and their nuances have always fascinated me, and I love to study and ponder their meaning.

I found a book that takes two words that are similar and discusses the differences between them.   It’s called The One Minute Philosopher.  If you’re interested in it, click here to find it on Amazon.

I found this word comparison very interesting.  It’s the difference between a discussion and an argument.

In discussion, we deliberate for the sake of coming to the truth; in argument we abandon the mutual pursuit of truth because our purpose is to triumph.”     –Montague Brown (author of The One Minute Philosopher)

I’ll start with discussion.

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-sharing ideas for the sake of truth

A discussion is a confrontation for the purpose of finding the truth, and coming to some sort of agreement.  The two people present their ideas and their reasons for believing them.  A discussion is an intellectual and reasonable disagreement.

Next time you are in a discussion with someone, ask yourself these questions:

Am I being reasonable? 

Do I care what the other person is saying? 

Am I looking for the truth?

If so, then you are discussing, not arguing.

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-fighting over ideas for personal victory

An argument is a confrontation also, but both people are unwilling to learn from each other.   The person cares more about winning the argument than finding truth.  One person often blames the other.  An argument is an emotional disagreement.

Ask yourself these questions when you are arguing with someone:

Am I being reasonable?

Do I want to be “win” the argument or find truth?

Am I blaming the other person?  

These words are so misunderstood!  Sometimes a person is simply trying to discuss something and the other person thinks they are trying to argue with them.

I hope this helps you see the difference between a discussion and an argument.