The Art of Constructive Arguing: Lessons from the Talmud

40 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2014 Last revised: 18 Aug 2014

See all articles by Hershey H. Friedman

Hershey H. Friedman

City University of New York - Department of Business Management

Date Written: July 27, 2014

Abstract

In the highly competitive age of the Internet and globalization, an organization has to be creative to prosper. This means that people have to work together and learn how to have productive meetings. Today’s U.S. Congress is a prime example of what happens when people have lost the ability to argue in a productive manner. The American public has no respect for Congress and refers to it as being worthless and dysfunctional. It is interesting to note that the Talmud which took shape after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE consists of thousands of disagreements regarding Jewish law yet served as a device to keep the Jewish people united. For example, Abaye and Rava had hundreds of arguments about law in the Talmud yet were the best of friends; they are even buried together in the same cave. Talmudic arguments did not lead to ugly battles but were seen as the way to clarify the law as well as answer philosophical questions. This paper will explore the lessons we can learn from the Talmud about constructive arguing. Nine rules that can be used to ensure that arguments are productive are provided.

Keywords: Constructive arguing, Talmud, logic, decision making, adversarial collaboration, and creativity

JEL Classification: A22, A23, B30, B31, I2, J50, M12, M14, M54, Z00, Z10, Z12

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Hershey H., The Art of Constructive Arguing: Lessons from the Talmud (July 27, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2472735 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2472735

Hershey H. Friedman (Contact Author)

City University of New York - Department of Business Management ( email )

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