Emotional arguments - Deepstash





The Definitive Guide to Winning an Argument

Emotional arguments

Recognize that there are two issues to be addressed: both of your emotions and the situation at hand.

  • Rein in the emotions first. Step away for a moment and let yourself cool down before you come back to the argument.
  • Try to keep your cool and show the other person respect.
  • Give them a chance to make mistakes and possibly realize they’re in the wrong.




Ask for their point of view

To gain trust and build rapport, you need to hear out what the other person thinks without interrupting or disagreeing.

Try asking open-ended questions, like: "Why do you think that?"

Mirror your opponent

If you mimic your opponent (in a subtle way), they are more likely to believe you.

For example, if they are sitting cross-legged, wait a few seconds and cross your legs too. And make sure that what you are doing is not too obvious.

Make direct eye contact

...while you listen. This makes the speaker's arguments less persuasive, which makes your opinion look strong.

Fix the speaker in your sight as soon as they start speaking.

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.

Counter the argument from incredulity
  1. Explain why this sort of reasoning is fallacious: namely the fact that your opponent’s inability to explain a certain phenomenon or to understand a certain theory, does not invalidate current explanations for it.
  2. Shift the burden of proof back to your opponent: ask them to support their initial assertion, and explain why they are incredulous, and why they think that this validates their position.
  3. If possible, you should show that there is scientific evidence that can be used in order to explain the phenomenon that’s being discussed. 
Win the black belt in political argument
  • People think emotionally, so forget facts
  • When people are asked to explain their beliefs about how a given thing works, they’ll actually become less confident in those beliefs.
  • When people have their self-worth validated in some way, they tend to be more receptive to information that challenges their beliefs.
  • During a debate, you’re more likely to make progress if you can appeal to the moral concerns of the people that you’re talking with.