Who we are and how we see ourselves slants what we say

Right now we unfortunately living in a world where nobody is willing to talk about the difficult subject of how identity doesn’t disqualify you from having an opinion but it might sometimes confer these types of prejudices.

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

The issue of who speaks about what informs how we engage with a speaker in public discourse.

Jacques Rousseau is a lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town.

Rousseau says while issues of identity and power will not disqualify a speaker from having an opinion, it will at times determine how others receive their logic.

We operate in a context of histories which are contested, we operate in a context of prejudices and biases and so forth.

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

The appeal to neutrality and objectivity also operates from that kind of perspective.

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

People who assert that things should be completely objective are often speaking from a position that is privileged in itself, in a sense that, that ability to extract from lived realities is a luxury that other people don’t have.

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

If you care about communicating rather than just being right you have to take these things in account.

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

He says one should try to view an argument without importing biases.

If you enter something so confrontationally we should not be surprised that the discussion breaks down.

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

I don’t think that it is useful for people to pull out of conversations because then we have these little filter bubbles of just people of type x talking to each other and no input, or stimulus or challenge and that just leads to a kind of group think and a lack of thought.

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

On changing your mind on a subject and possibly being labeled a hypocrite, Rousseau says this should be used as an opportunity to teach others.

If we express our opinions in a way that acknowledges that uncertainty and ambiguity you have a far easier route changing your mind later on because its not like you are changing one dogmatic view for another. There is less for people to criticize you on.

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

Use that as a pedagogical opportunity to say I used to believe this for these reasons and I have subsequently discovered those reasons are flawed, so you can show people what its like to specifically engage...

Jacques Rousseau, lecturer in Critical Thinking and Ethics at the School of Management Studies at UCT

This article first appeared on 702 : Who we are and how we see ourselves slants what we say


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