Brief History of Disputing

Brief History of Disputing

People have always disputed. Even in prehistoric times, even when they couldn’t speak, quite surely, they tried to convince each other, who is wrong and who is right. But this story will begin from the times of ancient Greece. There was a guy named Prothagor, who was the first to organize public disputes. His core belief was that the truth can only be acknowledged from different angles. Only when totally different points of view collaborate.


The method of dialogue, which consisted of asking questions to the interlocutor and showing the falsity of his answers, later was used by the greatest ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, whose name outlasted centuries. Socrates claimed that a dispute can develop as long as questions arise and are resolved along its course. This is a kind of food for any dialogue. If the questions are settled, then the movement of thought stops. Socratic conversations still excite us, carry us away, teach us, and make us think.

Significant attention was paid to the dispute in ancient India. Widespread various types of discussions and numerous disputes. The right of eloquence and logical evidence was so undeniable in India that no one dared to avoid a challenge. For example, if two persons argued, then sometimes the defeated must have either take away his own life (throw himself into a river or from a cliff), or become a slave to the winner, or convert to his faith. If a man with a huge fortune turned out to be defeated, then his property was often given to the poor man in rags, who managed to over-argue with him. Not only individuals could take part in the dispute, but also entire monasteries, which in case of failure sometimes completely stopped existing. 

Many researchers note that one of the traditions of the Indian dispute is a serious and thoughtful approach to the views and ideas of the adversary. If someone started to preach a new theory, then they didn’t immediately deny it and didn’t pursue it, but listened to the argument of the preacher, weighed it, evaluated it, and often accepted it if it was convincing and refuted old ideas. The famous "Indian rule of dispute" has survived to this day: before refuting the enemy, you need to understand the essence of his position, make sure that it is correctly understood.

People nowadays should really look back to these wise approaches. Then maybe life would be much easier.