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Four Types of Disagreement

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Written by Basil on 05/7/2018 8:02 AM. Filed under:


My friend, Peter Gardner, identified four types of disagreement about action. These principles can be applied to other types of disagreement, but he thinks disagreements about what to do in any given situation — disagreements about action — are the clearest to identify. These categories can be applied to political problems and their solutions, but they also apply to any disagreement about action — at work, home, etc.

Type I Disagreement
You agree on what the situation is, and you agree on the basic goals, but prioritize the goals differently.
Type I(b) Disagreement
you agree on the goals, and generally agree on the priority, but disagree on the optimal course of action to achieve these goals.
Type II Disagreement
You assess the situation more or less the same, but disagree about the goals. There is no point in arguing about how to prioritize goals if you can’t even agree on what they are.
Type III Disagreement
You have fundamentally different assessments of the relevant portions of reality. There is no point in discussing goals, much less prioritization, if you don’t agree about reality.
Type IV Disagreement
You are arguing about different things entirely, and aren’t paying attention to what the other person is saying at all. There is no point in continuing the argument until you figure out what you’re actually arguing about in the first place.

Peter originally posted these categories on Facebook. (You may not be able to see that post if you and he are not connected on Facebook.) I present them here in a slightly less ephemeral medium. The above essentially quotes him directly, lightly edited to be in the form of a list of terms with definitions.


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