Commonplace Book #60

A further problem with people who lead the unexamined life is that they often treat one another disrespectfully.  When people think that political debate is something like an athletic contest, where the aim is to score points for their own side, they are likely to see the “other side” as the enemy and to wish its defeat, or even humiliation.  It would not occur to them to seek compromise or to find common ground, and more than in a hockey match the Chicago Blackhawks would seek “common ground” with their adversaries.  Socrates’ attitude toward his interlocutors, by contrast, is exactly the same as his attitude toward himself.  Everyone need examination, and all are equal in the face of argument.  This critical attitude uncovers the structure of each person’s position, in the process uncovering shared assumptions, points of intersections that can help fellow citizens progress to a share a shared conclusion.

Martha Nussbaum, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities,  51.