This work contains five main chapters. In the first chapter, I present the bulk of my main claims. I begin by elucidating several forms of conflict management that are sometimes confused with dialogue, namely debate, negotiation, and problem-solving. Next, I explore the nature of dialogue, drawing a clear distinction between dialogue and the aforementioned methods of conflict management. I then briefly consider what it is for a political disagreement to be distinctly political, presenting a reasonable view of politics. And finally, I give the criteria for good political dialogue. Chapters two, three, and four raise several objections to the first chapter. In chapter two, I consider two varying accounts of political disagreement, namely Habermasian deliberation and Mouffian agonism. Chapter three addresses a concern from the ethics of care, which claims that some crucial dialogic qualities are out of reach for my theory. Chapter four is the relativist's objection to a theory of political dialogue, which problematizes the possibility of reaching understanding. I conclude by reviewing the objections that have been voiced throughout this work and also address two final considerations for my theory of political dialogue.


Thomson, Garrett




Ethics and Political Philosophy | Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change


political conflict, political disagreement, dialogue, reaching understanding

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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