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The Art of Winning An Argument

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

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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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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 ava...

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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 d...

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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...

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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...

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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 opinio...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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.

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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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Our Delusions

Most people are misleading themselves all the time. Our biases, our ego and our mental traps have held us captive, unable to endorse or support anything that shakes our cage. We believe we are smar...

Reality Distortion

Most of us have evolved to overestimate our positive qualities, as it feels good. This ‘self-enhancement’ is done with the right intentions but is nothing more than a reality distortion in our minds.

Self-Deceptions

We all form impressions about ourselves, and once those impressions have been formed, they stick. It is as if once they are frozen in our minds, having become a part of us, and we don’t want to lose them, even if they are proven to be false.

Example: A study on high school boys showed that having overconfidence (or self-deception) in one’s abilities (athletic or academic) made them popular, even if they weren't really better in any of those abilities.

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