Exploration and Discovery Spring Colloquium Series Presented by:
Janet Davidson, Psychology
Conflict can be viewed as a human flaw because it typically involves misperceptions, lack of perspective taking, simplistic thinking, and an unwillingness to co-operate. Moreover, it takes a toll on both the winners and the losers. Conflict is explicable in children and other species because they do not have fully developed frontal lobes in their brains. Human adults, however, do not have this excuse. Although some amount of conflict will no doubt always be with us, a thoughtful consideration of why it is bad is the first step in reducing its frequency and the toll that it takes.
Elliott Young, History
Conflict is not only not bad, it’s good. Without conflict, the world would stagnate and the rich and powerful would remain rich and powerful. Slavery, genocide, and colonialism would never have ended without conflict. Of course, not all conflicts are good and necessary, but the absence of conflict is the pathway to fascism.
Bob Mandel, International Affairs
Whether or not conflict is “bad” is a subject of great controversy. In some circumstances, conflict associates with attempts to achieve constructive progress and to rectify unjust conditions, while in other circumstances conflict reflects selfish and even evil ambitions and aggrandizement efforts. Sweeping generalizations about conflict, violence, and war tend to gloss over critical circumstances that change both the reality and the framing of conflict. In many circumstances the imposition of peace can be just as troublesome as the outbreak of conflict. Furthermore, differences among interpersonal, intergroup, and international norms about acceptable...