1. Practice Generosity:
When a word, phrase, or idea has multiple interpretations, choose the interpretation that is most favorable to the speaker, and clarify your choice publicly, if appropriate.
Argumentation is a cooperative sport (not a competitive one). Unlike Debate, Argumentation has no winner.
The objective is to establish the best Arguments possible, as a group.
2. Use the Standard Form of an Argument:
Premise (1): If the Conclusion follows logically from the Premises, and if one believes each of the Premises, then one should believe the Conclusion. Premise (2): The Conclusion follows logically from the Premises, and I believe each of the Premises. Therefore, Conclusion (3): I should believe the Conclusion.
3. Create a Steel Man
A skilled Arguer will create a stronger version of another person’s argument before he attempts to evaluate it; this is called a Steel Man Argument.
An unskilled Arguer will create a weaker version of another person’s argument before he attempts to evaluate it; this is called a Straw Man Argument.
4. Start and end with Agreement
For practical purposes, we need to begin Arguing with shared assumptions, shared definitions, and shared premises.
For cultural purposes, we choose to end Arguing with agreement on one or more premises, and, ideally, on one or more conclusions.
Use the Menu to explore Arguments, and if you notice an area that can be improved – or if you’d like to make an Argument of your own – please share in the Comment section below each post, or Contact Us.