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Transcript of Rogerian Argument
Persuasion through Connection
Arguments Without Logic
In many cases, A is trying to convince B of something. However, there are other cases when A is not trying to convince B, but rather C, a nonparticipant in the argument.
Just as in the case of the Believing Game, Carl R. Rogers believes that reducing the psychological threat to the opposition means partnering up with them – believing them, and even siding with them.
A Rogerian argument, therefore:
Is nonconfrontational, collegial, and friendly;
Thus, when using Rogerian Argument for essays, you should:
State the shared problem-
Your goal here is never to debunk the opposition (saying anyone's "wrong"). Instead, you provide a balanced discussion that offers both your viewpoint and that of the reader/opposition.
Rogerian Argument is critical because it tries to extricate any emotion from an argument and leave only the most rational pieces.
To do this, Rogers explains that you must truly listen, truly understand the opposition, not just pretend to.
In the case of your next essay, you’ll essentially be trying to persuade a number of parties, including nonparticipants, so it’s important to take this into consideration.
The best example is of lawyers in the courtroom. Neither the defense nor the prosecutor is trying to persuade the other; instead, they are both trying to persuade the jury.
A lot of times, when we argue with someone we feel threatened (both our integrity and our identity).
In that threat, we defend ourselves rather than our argument, thereby breaking down the actual argument and leaving neither party listening or reasoning with logic.
Two people in a heated, emotionally-vested argument usually aren’t talking about the same thing because they want to out-do the other, rather than listen to each point, take it in, and then discuss it rationally.
Many arguments are heated and where some may begin with logic and reason, they end in a shouting match, or in an “I’m better than you” type of situation.
In writing, this comes out as a one-sided argument where you state only evidence and points for your position, ignoring the opposition altogether.
By doing this, Rogers thinks this partnership can do several things:
One can show sympathetic understanding of the opposing argument,
One can recognize what is valid in it, and
One can recognize and demonstrate that those who take the other side are nonetheless persons of goodwill.
What you’re essentially doing is connecting with the opposition, letting them know that you know how they feel and what they think and by working together, the mutual problem can be solved.
Respects other views and allows plural truths; and
Seeks to achieve some degree of assent rather than convince utterly.
Give the opponent’s position, and
Grant whatever validity the writer finds in that position – for instance, the writer will recognize the circumstances in which the position (opposition) would indeed be acceptable.
To establish common ground early on, preferably in the intro, you will try to point out the mutual concerns you and your "opposition" have.
This makes it seem as though you're not attacking anyone; instead, you're trying to work together on the issue.
The bulk of the body of this argument would be dedicated to presenting your argument fairly and objectively.
Introduction: Comprised of the problem and how all parties, yours and the opposition's, are affected.
Body: Present the opposition's views. Present your views w/evidence. Attempt to show how the opposition would benefit from your position. Maybe lay out a compromise that helps everyone.
This means that you can state, accurately, what the opposition is saying/thinking.
Only then are you in a real established form of communication.
When you enter the private world of the opposition, you run the risk of being changed, of believing their position instead of your own. But this is a risk that must be taken.