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How to Argue

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Politics, religion, race, Facebook, the news- what isn’t there to argue about? The thing is, is it done well, are some arguments even arguments, structurally? The answer to both most of the time is, hopefully yes.

Arguments

What is an argument? Technically it is a conversation, written or verbal that revolves around how right or wrong one side, or an issue is. One or more people can have them. They are used to communicate and educate, build bridges when done well, or resolve the issue.

There are serious arguments, not so serious arguments, emotional arguments, logical arguments, logistical arguments- even animals have them, most predominantly cats and dogs.

 Not Arguments

What makes something not an argument? Usually when one side is obviously, factually incorrect, or you just start screaming at each other because feelings- forgetting whatever points you had.

For example, when you argue about illegal immigrants from Pluto, and then someone has to explain science to you- most likely getting very frustrated.

Being civil, listening, and getting over your biases make an argument. Screaming and relying on your feelings, and only your experiences, or something you read on Facebook, doesn’t. Manners and intelligence maketh the argument.

Manners

There is an unwritten etiquette to arguing, everyone deserves a chance to speak, and entertain other notions that aren’t their own. Like maybe Pluto is a freezing hell on the fringes of the solar System that is incapable of hosting intelligent life.

You also must consider others, their experiences, viewpoints. Not only to win, but to also reach amicable solutions. Because even Jesus isn’t the sun, the world revolves around no one. Also, refrain from shouting and resorting to bullying, or force of numbers, sheer passion!

That’s how Gileads are made, do not make a Gilead.

How to

Arguments are a simple concept with universal basics- at least one person, at least two viewpoints, and actual points, plus a means of communicating them.

The Classics

If you made it to high school, or a really nice middle school, you know the foundations of presenting your case. Rhetoric is its own field of study, paired with composition it counts as a major. It is based on four simple concepts:

Ethos

What kind of people are you trying to convince, who’s your audience? Do they have any cultural beliefs, conventions you have to consider? When arguing about Illegal Immigrants from Pluto, a Scientist will remind you Pluto is not a planet, while your therapist might give you Lithium based medication.

 Logos

What is the scientific, logical base of your argument, where’s your evidence? To try a murder in most states, you need a body, or at least a motive and a weapon. Without evidence, you have no argument, or anything to argue about.

Pathos

Feelings, people have them. You also need to appeal to them. You couldn’t convince the Pope that Planned Parenthood isn’t that bad based on the money it saves government assistance over 18 years. The Pope, and people who love babies don’t care about that.

It is also the wrong audience, although perfectly good evidence.

Kairos

Timing is everything, a perfectly timed moment, opportunistic strike has convinced masses, and will continue to do so. Germany didn’t invade Poland just because in the midst of renewed vigor and nationalist fervor. No, Poland totally “attacked” Germany and because German greatness Germany fought back, and won.

This was a lie, but the Nazis knew when and where to strike. Archduke Ferdinand’s assassin also had perfect timing. And isn’t a war a long, drawn out, costly in life and resources argument?

Without any of these, you have no case. And will lose if you fake having one. People act stupid sometimes but aren’t that stupid. Unless they watch Fox News, but that gets into biases. Which will be covered in part two, they’re great for convincing niche audiences.

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