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Dialogue as a means of tolerance

One of the basic tenets of knowledge is being open to other opinions

Turki Aldakhil

Published: Updated:

One of the basic tenets of knowledge is being open to other opinions and engaging in dialogue with them. Scientific temperament and knowledge depend on each other. The history of knowledge is “a history of mistakes,” as French Philosopher Gaston Bachelard said.

While discussing his principle of falsifiability, Austrian-British Philosopher Karl Popper suggested that a theory which is not open to falsification is not necessarily scientific. Dialogue is a condition for knowledge as without dialogue, results turn into valueless identical facts that do not establish a sound knowledgeable generation. Dialogue opens up prospects for science and knowledge so no truth overshadows the other.

Absence of dialogue is the most dangerous thing. It is as if the ideas we have, the research we have conducted or the formulae of understanding we have developed are final and the absolute truth which others must comply with and follow as example.

Popper says that achieving real progress in sciences seems impossible without tolerance and without our certain feeling that we can publicly speak our ideas regardless of the results, which these ideas will lead us to. Therefore, tolerance and dedication for the sake of truth are two moral principles that establish for science and help its progress.

The other two similar principles are intellectual modesty and intellectual responsibility. (There must be) insistence that we don’t think about ourselves but about truth and maintenance of critical approach regarding all problems until the end, he says.

The credit for establishing tolerance in philosophy goes to Arab philosopher al-Kindi. He defined philosophy as “the science of things and their true nature”

Turki Al-Dakhil

The credit for establishing tolerance in philosophy goes to Arab philosopher al-Kindi. He defined philosophy as “the science of things and their true nature.” Tolerance in the field of knowledge helps spread the spirit of cooperation and dialogue in society. Crises produce violence in nations which give up dialogue and are driven by rivalry and loud arguments.

It’s not possible to understand sciences and their basis and cooperate on renewing formulae, facts and methods unless through dialogue that paves way for tolerance. The Arab culture has for a long time worked on inheriting convictions without discussing them. Modern science, however, was based on ancient Greek heritage which is based on argument and conversation, and it is primarily Plato’s conversations, which still enrich the world until today.

Knowledge facts

When education ministries in the Arab and Muslim worlds can spread the idea of possibilities regarding all knowledge-related facts, they can establish real pillars of tolerance that lead to dialogue. I hope dialogue is added as a subject in the curricula to be taught and thus introduce students to the most significant conversations in Islamic history, or what have come to be known as “debates.”

This will give an idea about methods of dialogue as a tool for co-existence, tolerance and learning. Otherwise, how would those who lack the values of dialogue and its methods learn?

Great Arab thinker Salama Moussa lectured about tolerance in the beginning of the 20th century. He said: “Nothing serves ideological freedom and guarantees its continuity, and urges defending it like expanded culture, as studying and addressing different and contradictory opinions, which enhance the spirit of tolerance.”

Knowledge which is not founded on dialogue, and which does not lead to tolerance, has negative repercussions.

This article was first published by al-Bayan on Apr. 20, 2016.
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Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

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