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The Art of Winning An Argument

https://fs.blog/2014/06/winning-an-argument/

fs.blog

The Art of Winning An Argument
We spend a lot of our lives trying to convince or persuade others to our point of view. This is one of the reasons that Daniel Pink says that we're all in sales: Some of you, no doubt, are selling in the literal sense- convincing existing customers and fresh prospects to buy casualty insurance or consulting services or homemade pies at a farmers' market.

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To Persuade or Convince

When people disagree with us we assume they are ignorant … that they lack information. So we try to convince them with information. It seldom works.

  • Persuasion appeals to the emotions and to fear and to the imagination. Convincing requires a spreadsheet or some other rational device.
  • It’s much easier to persuade someone if they’re already convinced, but it’s impossible to change someone’s mind merely by convincing them of your point.

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The Illusion of Explanatory Depth

When knowledge is put to the test, our familiarity with things leads to an (unwarranted) overconfidence about how they work.

Most of the time others won’t test their knowledge either. This is the beginning of how we start to show others or even ourselves that our view of the world might need updating.

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Richard Feynman

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Richard Feynman

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Ask for an explanation

If you want to win an argument, simply ask the person trying to convince you of something to explain how it would work.

Odds are they have not done the work required to hold an opinion. If they can explain why they are correct and how things would work, you’ll learn something. If they can’t you’ll soften their views, perhaps nudging them ever so softly toward your views.

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The Illusion of Explanatory Depth

The Illusion of Explanatory Depth

We are overconfident about what we think because we're familiar with the material. 

We think we know more than we actually do because it's available to us. And when knowledge is put to the test, our familiarity with things leads to an (unwarranted) overconfidence about how they work.

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How to Win an Argument

How to Win an Argument

If you want to win an argument, simply ask the person trying to convince you of something to explain how it would work.

Chances are they have not done the work required to hold an opinion. If they can explain why they are correct and how things would work, you'll learn something. If they can't you'll soften their views, perhaps nudging them ever so softly toward your views.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Convince Them With Confidence

  • Speak confidently, be concise, and try not to repeat yourself. 
  • Give the appearance that you truly know what’s right from the beginning, even if you don’t have all o...

Avoid Common Argument Fallacies

Winning an argument often comes down to who can go the longest without contradicting themselves and keeping sound logic, not direct persuasion of the other party.

Anecdotal Fallacy

Using a single personal experience as the foundation of your argument or your big piece of evidence. 

For example, your phone may have broken right after you bought it, but you can’t use that to argue that those phones are not worth the purchase for others.

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Reasons for constructing a good argument

How should we evaluate arguments that people make to persuade us? And how should we construct our own arguments to be the most effective?

At its core, an argument consists of a conclus...

Structure of a well-formed argument

It does not use reasons that contradict each other, contradict the conclusion or explicitly or implicitly assumes the truth of the conclusion. Checklist:

  • Does the communication include at least one reason to support the conclusion as being true? If not, it is not an argument, but an opinion.
  • Could any of the key premises be interpreted as making the same claim as the conclusion? If so, then it’s a “circular argument” without independent reason given to support the conclusion.
  • Do any of the premises contradict another premise, or does the conclusion contradict any of the premises?

The relevance of a premise

A premise is relevant if it provides some bearing on the truth of the conclusion. Checklist:

  • If the premise were true, does it make you more likely to believe that the conclusion is true? If yes, the premise is probably relevant.
  • Even if the premise were true, should it be a consideration for accepting the truth of the conclusion? If no, then the premise is probably not relevant.

Winning an Argument

The odds of winning an argument require more than just logic and rationality, as there are a lot of other factors involved.

By understanding and changing the 'frames' a person uses and center...

Understanding Frames

Frames, with respect to a discussion or argument, are different categories to 'slot' an idea or topic, just like a car can be evaluated by its color, price, or model number.

Change the Frame

During the course of an argument, to increase compliance towards your belief, you can change the framing of the existing belief of the listener.