Treat arguments that oppose your views on management with the “principle of charity”

Charles Darwin scrupulously tried to address the criticisms he recognized would follow the publication of his revelations on evolution. He bent over backwards to honor all attacks he could anticipate. That style, once called the “habit of sympathetic summary,” philosophers now refer to as the “principle of charity.”

Summarize a counterargument to your own point in its strongest form, according to Adam Gopnik, Angels and Ages: A short book about Darwin, Lincoln and modern life (Knopf 2009) at 104. As he writes, so should bloggers follow: “The principle of charity is to make the other guy’s argument look good (therefore making yours look even better).”

Posts on this blog run on the short side, which makes them easier to organize, write, and read. That said, brevity makes it harder to acknowledge and charitably address opposing points. I will make more of an effort to think of and comment on contrary views, or at least state them in full and credible form. All too little of such deliberate and mature debate takes place in the field of legal department operations.

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