Discussion and argument are both forms of communication, but they have different goals and outcomes.
- Discussion is a process of exchanging ideas and information in order to reach a better understanding of a topic. It is typically characterized by a respectful exchange of viewpoints, even if there is disagreement. The goal of a discussion is to explore all sides of an issue and to come to a shared understanding, even if that understanding is that there is no clear consensus.
- Argument is a more adversarial form of communication in which two or more people present opposing viewpoints in an attempt to persuade the other person or people to their side. Arguments can be heated and emotional, and they often focus on winning rather than understanding. The goal of an argument is to convince the other person or people that your viewpoint is correct.
In terms of the scope of discussion and argument, discussions are typically more intrapersonal, meaning that they take place between people who know each other and who are working together towards a common goal. Arguments, on the other hand, can be both intrapersonal and interpersonal, meaning that they can take place between people who know each other or between people who do not.
In terms of the concept of communication and collaboration, discussions are more conducive to collaboration because they focus on understanding and sharing information. Arguments, on the other hand, can be counterproductive to collaboration because they focus on winning and persuasion. However, arguments can sometimes be helpful in the context of communication and collaboration if they are used to surface different perspectives and to challenge assumptions.
Here are some examples of how discussion and argument can be used in different contexts:
- A group of students in a class discussing the merits of different economic systems. This is an example of an intrapersonal discussion because the students know each other and are working together towards a common goal, which is to understand different economic systems.
- Two politicians debating the merits of a new policy. This is an example of an interpersonal argument because the politicians do not know each other well and are not working together towards a common goal. Their goal is to persuade the other person or people to their side of the issue.
- A group of friends discussing their favorite movies. This is an example of an intrapersonal discussion because the friends know each other well and are not working towards a common goal. Their goal is to share their opinions and to learn more about each other’s perspectives.
- A group of people debating the ethics of animal testing. This is an example of an interpersonal argument because the people do not know each other well and are not working towards a common goal. Their goal is to persuade the other person or people to their side of the issue.
Ultimately, the best way to communicate and collaborate is to use the right tool for the job. If you are trying to understand a topic or to share information, then a discussion is a good choice. If you are trying to persuade someone to your point of view, then an argument may be a better option.
Also, from another source:
At a basic level, a discussion is a conversation or an exchange of ideas, opinions, or information between two or more people. It typically involves a more informal and open-ended approach where individuals share their thoughts, perspectives, and experiences on a particular topic. The primary objective of a discussion is often to explore a subject, gain insights, and foster mutual understanding.
On the other hand, an argument is a more structured and confrontational form of communication. It involves presenting reasons or evidence to support a particular viewpoint and often involves a disagreement or conflict of opinions. Arguments tend to be more focused on persuading others to accept a specific position or to prove one’s point of view as valid.
When considering the scope of discussions and arguments on an interpersonal level, there are some key differences:
- Discussion: On an intrapersonal level (within an individual’s own thoughts), discussions can be self-reflective and help in clarifying ideas or gaining personal insights. On an interpersonal level (between individuals), discussions are typically collaborative and aim to explore various perspectives, exchange information, and reach a shared understanding.
- Argument: On an intrapersonal level, individuals may engage in internal debates or arguments with themselves to weigh different options or make decisions. On an interpersonal level, arguments can be more contentious and confrontational, involving a clash of viewpoints, logical reasoning, and attempts to convince or persuade others.
In terms of communication and collaboration, discussions and arguments have distinct purposes and dynamics:
- Communication: Discussions focus on effective communication by encouraging active listening, respecting diverse viewpoints, and promoting constructive dialogue. Participants often practice skills such as paraphrasing, asking clarifying questions, and expressing empathy. Arguments, on the other hand, can sometimes lead to breakdowns in communication due to the emotional intensity and the desire to win the debate.
- Collaboration: Discussions foster collaboration by encouraging teamwork, shared decision-making, and collective problem-solving. They create an environment where participants can learn from each other, build on ideas, and reach a consensus. Arguments, although they can also lead to collaboration in certain contexts, tend to have a more competitive and adversarial nature, focusing on proving one’s viewpoint as superior.
In summary, while discussions and arguments share similarities in terms of exchanging ideas and opinions, they differ in their approach, purpose, and outcomes. Discussions are more open, exploratory, and aimed at mutual understanding, while arguments tend to be more structured, confrontational, and focused on proving a specific viewpoint.