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Rogerian argument

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Rogerian argument is a conflict solving technique based on finding common ground instead of polarizing debate.[1][2]


American psychologist Carl R. Rogers propagated his "principles of communications,"[3][4] a form of discussion based on finding common ground. He proposed trying to understand our adversary's position, by listening to him, before adopting a point of view without considering those factors.[1][2][4]

This form of reasoning is the opposite of Aristotelian argumentation -using logos, ethos, and pathos-, which is an adversarial form of debate (enthymeme) because it attempts to find compromise between two sides.[1][4]

In practiceEdit

This type of discussion is extremely useful in emotionally charged topics since it downplays emotional and highlights rational arguments.[2]

Young, Becker and Pike identified four stages:[4]

  1. An introduction to the problem and a demonstration that the opponent's position is understood.
  2. A statement of the contexts in which the opponent's position may be valid.
  3. A statement of the writer's position, including the contexts in which it is valid.
  4. A statement of how the opponent's position would benefit if he were to adopt elements of the writer's position. If the writer can show that the positions complement each other, that each supplies what the other lacks, so much the better.

In practice this type of argument is mostly used in written discourse.[How to reference and link to summary or text]


Over the years a number of criticisms have been voiced. Such as[4]

  1. It can be construed as manipulative.
  2. Rogerian rhetoric is too idealistic to be used in day-to-day life; people are too hostile.
  3. As it privileges co-operative construction of meaning over goal-directed persuasion as well as the building of relationships over the winning of an argument, it appears to fit neatly into the feminist perspective. Yet Rogerian rhetoric feels "feminine rather than feminist."[4]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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