Rogerian argument

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Rogerian argument is a conflict-solving technique based on finding common ground instead of polarizing debate.[1][2] According to Baumlin, "The Rogerian strategy, in which participants in a discussion collaborate to find areas of shared experience, thus allows speaker and audience to open up their worlds to each other", and in this attempt at mutual understanding, there is the possibility, at least, of persuasion. For in this state of sympathetic understanding, we recognize both the multiplicity of world views and our freedom to choose among them—either to retain our old or take a new.[3]


American psychologist Carl R. Rogers described his "principles of communications"[4][5] as a form of discussion based on finding common ground. He proposed trying to understand our adversary's position, by listening to them, before adopting a point of view without considering those factors.[1][2][5]

This form of reasoning is the opposite of Aristotelian argumentation, an adversarial form of debate, because it attempts to find compromise between two sides.[1][5]

In practice[edit]

This type of discussion is extremely useful in emotionally charged topics since it downplays emotional and highlights rational arguments.[2]

Young, Becker and Pike identified four stages:[5]

  1. An introduction to the problem and a demonstration that the opponent's position is understood.
  2. A statement of the contexts in which the opponent's position may be valid.
  3. A statement of the writer's position, including the contexts in which it is valid.
  4. A statement of how the opponent's position would benefit if they were to adopt elements of the writer's position. If the writer can show that the positions complement each other, that each supplies what the other lacks, so much the better.


  1. ^ a b c Just Shut Up and Listen to Your Enemy - Whatever Happened to Rogerian Argument? By KAZ DZIAMKA, Counterpunch, May 16, 2007
  2. ^ a b c What is Rogerian Argument? by Kate Kiefer, Colorado State University
  3. ^ Baumlin, James. "Persuasion, Rogerian Rhetoric, and Imaginative Play". Rhetoric Society Quarterly. 17 (1): 33–43. 
  4. ^ Outline of Rogerian argument Empire State College
  5. ^ a b c d Rogerian Rhetoric: An Alternative to Traditional Rhetoric Douglas Brent, University of Calgary

External links[edit]