This is half blog post, half Post-It note to myself – because I keep talking to people about Daniel Dennet’s reference to Rapoport’s Rules for argument or criticism, and forgetting what the bloody things are.

Then I Google for Rappaport instead of Rapoport (because I keep remembering Time Bandits actor David Rappaport instead of Anantol Rapoport) …and basically get a bit cross with myself and Google.

Thankfully at some point I find the post written by the wonderful Maria Popova here!

Everyone should read her blog, but just for my own sake, here are Rapoport’s Rules in big bloody letters for my own future reference – and perhaps others.

Rapoport’s rules (as quoted by Daniel Dennett in Intuition Pumps)

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”

  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.