The concept of ‘value conflicts and assumptions’ is key to understanding people’s arguments. What are some of your values? Remember that values are “standards of conduct that we endorse and expect people to meet.” Share at least eight of your values and explain them as best you can.
One of my main values is respect. Respect for others and respect for oneself certainly would make the world a more pleasant place to live. There are many positive effects that fall under the umbrella of respect, such as tolerance, empathy, sympathy, compassion, kindness, and so on.
Holding values requires individuals to make certain decisions. Certainly what one decides for oneself as a value may be similar to other's choices, but not necessarily. To make the assumption that because one values a particular trait, others should follow suit is to invite conflict. What they choose and why they choose it is up to them. Certainly a useful discussion can occur if individuals choose to discuss why one holds a value and another holds a different value.
This is an awesome discussion and one that is incredibly important. The first point is to realize that we all have our assumptions. More importantly, we need to know what these assumptions are. I should ask that this is a very difficult process. The only way we can do this is through intellectual introspection and critiques from others. When we know our biases, then we will be able to be honest with ourselves. Based on this, we can be open and humble from an intellectual point of view.
I think mutual respect is one of my most important values, and one which we need to rediscover in today's world, unfortunately. This of course applies in every context, both in education, in families and in the world of work, but perhaps most importantly in day-to-day life as we mix and deal with a huge range of different characters.
One thing I value is intellectual honesty. In other words, I hope and expect that both I and others will be willing to admit it when we cannot say, precisely, what the truth is. Claiming to know the truth when other, equally intelligent people claim that something just the opposite is the truth should always give one pause (IMHO).
I believe that one should respect others. If one respects others, then they will be willing and open to the suggestions or ideologies made by others which do not mirror their own. As pohnpei points out, some ideas a person holds could be wrong (or limited). It is only through the respect one carries for another that they can be open to alternatives.
I think the values of honesty and prudence are very topical and relevant to today's society - particularly in fiscal matters. Many of our grandparents would have shuddered at the amount of debt families have become used to undertaking in the west and from the misery it seems to be causing currently, it would seem they knew a thing or two about values in relation to everyday family happiness. 'Live within your means' is an adage we are now learning all over again as our value systems are rebalanced.
When it comes to understanding others' arguments, I hope that my main values are intellectual humility and open mindedness. In other words, I would like to think that I realize that I could be wrong on any of my ideas and that, therefore, I should always take others' arguments seriously even if they go against preconceived notions of mine.