This feeling can often be paralyzing in that you see valid points on either side; makes you not able to choose a side.

Seeing can also be understanding, supporting, taking active part in.

I'm looking for words that don't imply a "Janus"/traitor tone or the ambivalence tone, but the (property of the) process that precedes the paralyzing feeling and whose property is more reminiscent of walking a mile in another man's shoes.

Tag says single-word but multi-word adjectives can be okay. I usually shy away from just adding -y to make adjectives.

Sorry for the vague wording, I'll happily take suggestions on how to word this better. Thanks! :)

Usage: "And above all, I hope __ will become the preferred method to prepare for debate, to: ..."

It's a two-sided process of analysis involving attacks and reconciliations of attacks.

I was hoping for an established academic term for this, but perhaps none exist. I will embrace an inventive new word for this! This is a paper for peer review, so the meaning should be apparent to academics.

  • Are you by chance talking about analysis paralysis?
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:13
  • Could you provide a sentence with ____ where you want the desired word to appear? Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:15
  • As @StoneyB says, an example sentence will be useful. From what I understand, you want an adjectival equivalent of "seeing both sides of the coin", or alternatively, an equivalent of the word dilemma which does not carry connotations of "problematic". There are other related words such as quandary and predicament which are similar. There are also words like impasse, stalemate, and deadlock which are ... paralytic in nature. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:31
  • @StoneyB, added a sample sentence and clarification. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:38
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    I've marked my own answer for deletion, as it does not reflect my new understanding of what you're looking for. How about dialectic (as a noun)? Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 20:55

5 Answers 5


Now that I understand what you want, 'dialectic' not only seems to answer the meaning you're after but also (since you say you're confronting an audience of philosophers) provides you additional opportunity to display your erudition by distinguishing, in highly technical detail, the Erlandssonian (Erlandssonic?) Dialectic from the Socratic and Hegelian.

  • Yes, kind of process is what I seek, ie. adjective of noun. Analysis possessing some of the qualities of the adjective has already been touched upon in comment. That might be the noun, but I have reached as far as a kind of dialectic from these helpful answers and comments. If I could replace "a kind of" with an adjective suggesting the nature of the active two-sided involvement as yet unnamed, that would come even closer. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 22:59
  • Hm, you edited your answer to make my comment not make sense at all. I don't know that I appreciate that, but I do appreciate humor aimed at pretense ;) It's becoming increasingly difficult to know all the kinds of dialectic there have ever been, and while I might yet prefer the "cop-out" of this kind of dialectic to not get caught, I think that even if I've been preempted, this kind of dialectic deserves a name. It has many merits, not the least of which is sincere intent. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 23:18
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    @XavierVidalHernández Perhaps, referring to the narrative of custodianism, one could suggest the underlying fictitious nature of the fractious, meaningless, profanity and of the classical view of death, incumbent? Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 14:57
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    @Matt: This. The perfect analytic synthesis of structuralism and deconstructivism. Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 15:06
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    @ShelbyMooreIII OP's sample sentence calls for a noun (though it will accommodate an adjective). Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 11:26

I tend to think of this as being objective

Objective adj : Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices, fair

  • It's a process of getting your hands dirty and go with prejudices of the other side; use them to attack your own side and see by them how the other side would receive your attack. On a humorous note, Schizophrenic and Bipolar have been considered. It is a chore. ;) Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 20:09
  • @Henrik I think you need to be objective and understand where the prejudices come from, understand what's behind them and account for them when coming up with a solution and the only way to do that is to be objective. If you adopt prejudices on either side you will, by definition, close your mind to other points of view. I see though that you have revised your question so objectivity isn't quite the word you are looking for.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 20:43
  • @HenrikErlandsson- Based on your intended usage I might suggest: And above all, I hope objective research on both sides of the argument will become the preferred method to prepare for debate.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 20:53

Circa 1970, Alvin Toffler popularized the term information overload, which wikipedia says is nicknamed infobesity and "refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information." I hadn't heard of the nickname before looking up information overload, and have some doubts you'd be understood if you said "I'm feeling infobese." However, "I'm suffering information overload on this issue" should be clear enough.

Two sentences that might be related to your meaning: "This review has got me straddled", "At the moment I'm fence sitting."

Edit: Given your example sentence, words like evenhanded, unbiased, and open-minded may be more relevant, along with separately-suggested objective, nonpartisan, and impartial.

Also consider balanced, which is applicable in its various senses "Total debits and credits are equal [eg] the books looked balanced"; "Being impartial, unprejudiced or fair"; "Being proportional or proportionate"; "Being equitable or evenhanded"; "To be unprejudiced, evenhanded, even-handed or unbiased".

  • As stated, it's not so much about the place where you end up (the fence) but how you got there. In my paper, it's a process by which to weed out "waste of time" arguments: the indefensible, the untenable, the irrelevant, and the equally valid. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:45

The term broad-minded is very similar to open-minded suggested elsewhere. Merriam-Webster defines it as

tolerant of varied views

Some dictionaries, such as Cambridge Dictionary of American English define the term as

willing to accept behavior or beliefs that are different from your own

A broad-minded analysis suggests being open to various positions, but may suggest that the analyzer already has a point of view.

One of the definitions of bilateral in the American Heritage Dictionary is

affecting or undertaken by two sides equally; binding on both parties: a bilateral agreement; bilateral negotiations.

Websters New World College Dictionary defines it as

having or affecting two sides

Many dictionaries have a definition of

having two sides

A bilateral analysis (or even multi-lateral analysis) may suggest your concept.

SUPPLEMENT BASED ON COMMENTS: The dichotomy point-counterpoint has been used to describe a back and forth dialog between opposing points of view. Perhaps a point-counterpoint exercise (or analysis) might serve.

  • There's multi-faceted also, which I earlier considered from a like thread here. Well, here the urge is for not only seeing and tolerating the other side but actively exploring the other side; (in all honesty temporarily) actively taking the other side in order to see how he would view your attacks, among other things. Bilateral describes a common thing, which in this case would be the topic of argument, which indeed has two sides. Counterpoint suggests Contrapunctus which would be a nice new term, but I must first make sure that what I offer has not been preempted. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 22:04
  • I thought about multi-faceted, but was concerned that it suggested various characteistics of a problem, not necessarily contrary points of view. But, I suspect OP would welcome analyzers bringing a multi-faceted approach to the issues as well.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 22:08

Nonpartisan and impartial are related words, commonly used to mean that the person does not take sides but instead makes an independent judgment.

  • The goal with this unnamed process is not to make a judgment per se: more of an exploratory process of actively taking both sides. A way for a debater who has already taken sides to not just prepare attacks on the other side, but take the other side and attack his own, and to reconciliate your previously prepared attacks. I think of it as "killing your darlings" to find out if your darlings (your pet arguments) are successful attacks. Non-partisan suggests not taking sides. Bipartisan has been considered, but it has political connotations. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 19:59
  • I noticed that these words do not provide a logical extension of the usual meaning that the people, particularly in literature, bring up in their multifaceted arguments. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 21:28

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