The Art of Winning An Argument - Deepstash
The Art of Winning An Argument

The Art of Winning An Argument

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The Art of Winning An Argument

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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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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.”

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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

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

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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3.66K reads

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