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Rogerian Argument

What is the Rogerian Argument? Is it possible to put into effect in every situation? While the Rogerian Argument may be the better way to find those who have a common ground, it is not possible to apply it to every differing party.

An American psychologist named Carl Rogers invented the Rogerian Argument. He described it as a means to have a discussion in order to find common ground. In order to achieve tolerance of differing views, Rogers proposed that the different parties find a mutual ground on which to build an understanding.

The argument has four stages of which it is comprised. An introduction, in which, the problem is stated and the position of the opponent understood. Then the first statement is given by the opponent, and reasons for why his or her view is valid. The second statement is given is by the writer, also giving why his or her stance is valid. The third statement is the writer telling the opponent how they will each benefit the other if the opponent adopts some aspects of the writer’s position.

This type of debate is only useful in some areas though. It can be applied when those of different nationalities meet and need to find a way to work with one another. Finding common ground proves that they are not so different from us after all. However, this argument cannot be used if the goal is to try to make one religion accept the other. There are different religions for a reason, after all. This argument can also not be used to make everything tolerable to those who would otherwise oppose it. Like a thief trying to convince others that it is all right to steal, or a murderer defending his case to kill when he feels like it. A person with loose morals or none at all may try to use this argument in order to convince the opposition to just accept that this is how things are but in the face of that kind of reasoning those people who know right from wrong need to stand firm.

Therefore, the Rogerian Argument was made as a tool to promote tolerance without any guidelines provided as to what is acceptable. Finding common ground as a means of avoiding conflict is not a new idea, but pushing for tolerance to such extremes in today’s society certainly is. The Rogerian Argument is more useful to get bullies to accept different children in the schoolyard then it is likely to work among adults.


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