The Power of Dialogue

  • Lauren Swayne Barthold


This chapter examines research concerned with elucidating the weaknesses of relying on overt rational argumentation and demonstrates why, particularly in highly polarized situations, dialogue should be used as a precursor or supplement to forms of civic discourse that privilege rational argumentation and persuasion. One of the reasons that dialogue is so crucial for establishing and fostering the sort of civic discourse necessary for democratic citizens is that it can be utilized to “improve the soil,” so to speak, by helping audiences be more receptive to one another and to want to listen to the other, and it can also address some of the implicit cognitive structures that hinder the formation of a just, equal, and pluralistic society. Civic dialogue can help attenuate some of the cognitive biases that frequently show up in explicit rational argumentation and make us more hostile toward and less receptive to arguments coming from our opponents.


Cognitive bias Implicit bias David Bohm Dialogue Cognitive dual processing 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren Swayne Barthold
    • 1
  1. 1.Liberal ArtsEndicott CollegeBeverlyUSA

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