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The 5 Principles of Good Argument

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https://medium.com/@ameet/the-5-principles-of-good-argument-63d394ca3051

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The 5 Principles of Good Argument
In our daily lives, we're constantly hearing or making persuasive arguments. We may be listening to a colleague's argument for why we should support one of her initiatives. We may hear an argument for why we should buy a certain product. Or we may need to make our own argument to get approval for one of our projects.

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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...

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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 co...

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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 t...

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Acceptability

A premise should be acceptable to a mature, rational adult.

The claim should meet the following standards:

  • It is a matter of undisputed common knowledge.
  • It's confirmed by ...

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Sufficiency

This principle is a judgment call. Checklist:

  • Are the reasons provided enough to drive to the arguer’s conclusion?
  • Is the premise based on insufficien...

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Rebuttal

A good argument includes an effective rebuttal to all anticipated serious criticisms of the argument. Arguers often use arguments that misrepresent the criticism, bring up trivial objections as a s...

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Making your own argument stronger

  • Structure: Explicitly call out your conclusion and the supporting reasons.
  • Relevance: Ensure that all materials you’re presenting as part of your argument are relevant.&n...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The argument from incredulity

Is a logical fallacy where someone concludes that since they can’t believe that a certain concept is true, then it must be false and vice versa.

Its 2 basic forms:

I c...

Basic structure of an argument from incredulity

Premise 1: I can’t explain or imagine how proposition X can be true.

Premise 2: if a certain proposition is true, then I must be able to explain or imagine how that can be.

Conclusions: proposition X is false.

It’s ok to be incredulous

... and to bring this up as part of an argument. The issue with doing so occurs when this incredulity isn’t justified or supported by concrete information, and when this lack of belief is used in order to assume that a preferred personal explanation must be the right one, despite the lack of proof.

At the same time, it’s also important to remember that it’s possible that the person using the argument from incredulity is right, despite the fact that their reasoning is flawed.

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Cherry picking

It is a logical fallacy and it happens when we choose and focus only on evidence that supports our views and arguments while ignoring anything that may contradict us.

The problem with cherry picking

  • It fails to take into consideration all the available information
  • It presents information in a misleading way.
  • It might lead to improper analysis and might cause someone to paint a misleading picture of a certain outcome.

The principle of total evidence

Also referred to as Bernoulli’s maxim, it states that, when assessing the probability that a certain hypothesis is true, we must take into account all the available information.

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Straw man arguments

A straw man argument is a misrepresentation of an opinion or viewpoint, designed to be as easy as possible to contradict.

The only purpose is for it to be easy to expose. I...

Hollow man arguments

This is a weak case (similar to the Straw man arguments) attributed to a non-existent group: Someone will fabricate a viewpoint that is easy to contradict, then claim it was made by a group they disagree with. Arguing against an opponent which doesn’t exist is a pretty easy way to win any debate.

People who use hollow man arguments will often use vague, non-specific language without explicitly giving any sources or stating who their opponent is.

Iron man argument

It is designed to be resistant to attacks by a defier.There arguments are difficult to avoid because they have a lot of overlap with legitimate debate techniques.

A person using an iron man argument will most likely make their own viewpoint so vague that nothing anyone says about it can weaken it. They’ll use jargon and imprecise terms. This means they can claim anyone who disagrees didn’t understand them, or they’ll rephrase their argument multiple times.

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