How is the problem you are researching, as Tannen (1999) describes, a “crystal of many sides”? Describe some of these arguments. Who’s having them? Who’s saying what to whom? Can “true dialog” exist to solve the problem?

As described by D. Tannen, in her chapter titled “Fighting for Our Lives“, she compared an argument to a crystal, in which, both can be multiple sided. Multiple sided means an argument can have multiple points of views, or opinions, similar to how a crystal can be viewed from multiple angles. The argument I am researching is on the issue of secondhand smoke and why there are not enough California policies advocating the negative side effects many individuals are faced with when enduring this toxic side stream smoke.

This argument can have multiple sides, such as tobacco smokers who are not concerned about the health risks of other individuals for the sake of their pleasure in “lighting a cigarette up”, and nonsmoking advocates supporting the fight to stop smoking in order to spare individuals, who encounter second-hand smoke, the risks of cancer and other health problems related to secondhand smoke. Both sides may possess valid arguments; however, neither side can incorporate the difference of opinions in order to relate to their opposing sides. The pro side, who are for stopping second-hand smoke exposure, can argue that tobacco smokers are “selfish” when engaging in smoking tobacco due to the harmful effects it can have on others. However, the con side may argue that stress related problems, or other events, led them to the habit of smoking cigarettes, and this activity helps them manage the stress in their everyday lives. Neither side can fully develop  a valid, logical argument because both sides have a specific reason for why they are for or against the argument. If biases are found within an argument, most of the opinions stated may not be properly valid or supported. In order for the argument and reasons to become valid, a “true dialog” must be created. This means that BOTH sides must realize the positions each side is coming from. A true dialog can only be created if the opposing sides take into consideration what the other side has argued. If the side fighting to stop smoking took into consideration why smokers engage in smoking cigarettes; then, maybe, their supporting arguments could become more helpful and inviting for the opposing side to agree with their evidence. If the opposing side explained why they engaged in their tobacco smoking, then the ban smoking side could consider the smokers’ motivations and support their arguments or evidence. Overall, in order to obtain a proper argument, both opposing sides need to take into consideration the other side’s opinions or perspectives.

Below, the link that will direct you to Tannen’s chapter “Fighting for Our Lives.


One thought on “How is the problem you are researching, as Tannen (1999) describes, a “crystal of many sides”? Describe some of these arguments. Who’s having them? Who’s saying what to whom? Can “true dialog” exist to solve the problem?

  1. danieldanny says:

    Most would argue that they have the right to smoke anywhere in this country. Many public places have the no smoking sign to combat secondhand smoke. This is a good and positive way of thinking. I would expect that smokers get furious about the ban of smoking in public areas. The whole “I have the freedom to smoke anywhere I want” is getting old. Studies show that secondhand smoke does cause health related problems. Selfish…both sides are really selfish when it comes to secondhand smoke. But health should be everyone’s concern in general.

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