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One should be able to argue persuasively on either side of a question, in order that we may discover the true nature of the case itself, and that we may be able to refute false arguments. – Aristotle The Art of Persuasion, Book 1.12

We live in a society where people find it increasingly difficult to deal with disagreement. We live in a society where respect for difference seems to be harder and harder to find. Part of the reason for this is our inability to spend time listening to others to understand, instead of listening to others to reply. In speaking at Thursday night’s Let’s Celebrate for Year 11 2019, I concluded with the following words.

May I encourage all of us, but particularly those who are students, to be willing to explore ideas as deeply as Aristotle suggests, and to be able to listen to those whose views are different, so that when we represent their point of view they might say of us, “I wish I had put it like that”. That’s understanding, that’s empathy, that’s character. It’s also one way to show that we are equipped for the world that lies ahead.

Tim Watson