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Practice the principle of charity

How to understand other's point of view in order to reach the best solution

Season 1, episode 7
4 min / Published
By Evrard

Tom Chatfield warns us about the dangers of deliberately misinterpreting our colleagues’ arguments so that we can easily dismiss them, and invites us instead to genuinely try to understand their point of view if we want to reach the best solutions.

Show notes

Practice the principle of charity 

with Tom Chatfield 

At the end of apartheid in South Africa, rather than having a focus on punishment or forgetting what had taken place, a process was put in place called "truth and reconciliation". 


We can only build a future based on common understanding, and that requires openness, honesty, and empathy.  

The principle of charity means that we should seek to understand others' arguments in the strongest possible terms, rather than framing "straw man arguments", that is, ludicrous versions of others' positions. 

The principle of charity allows us to put our own arguments to a serious test and perhaps even to change our own minds or forge a new common understanding.  

We should take a genuine interest in the possibility that we are wrong. 

Apply this: 

  • How can you avoid arguing dishonestly? 
  • How can you genuinely try to better understand others' points of view? 
  • What could be the benefits of doing so? 

Podcast Points_Practice the principle of charity.pdf

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This episode is part of the Celebrate Different Approaches series
How can we harness difference on a day-to-day basis
Thrive by Embracing Difference
A podcast by Evrard
This podcast series answers all sorts of deep questions that we face daily in our workplaces and asks us to reflect on how we can best embrace our differences and harness them for better performance.
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