HowTo:Win an Argument

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{{HowTo}}
 
{{HowTo}}
During the course of your life, you will have an argument. Yes, you will, don't interrupt me. I'm telling you, you will have an argument. You've never had an argument before? Well, I bet you have had an argument before, and you are just being awkward. You're having an argument now aren't you? Don't tell me you're ''NOT'' arguing! I argue that you are arguing with me at this minute.
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During the course of your life, if you manage to make it through school, and you have not been so delinquent that the only thing you could debate over is what TV channel to watch while you are sat at home, you will have an argument. And you'll want to win that argument too, and the classroom is one of the best places for such a debate because the intellectual stakes are high! Suppose you do win the argument, you will end up humiliating that no-good swot in front of your buddies. Be warned though, that if you have too many arguments you won't have any buddies to show off to. And there is always the danger that, if you are debating with someone more idiotic than yourself that they may respond with that witty smackdown of a riposte - "WHAT-EVA?"!. But by that point you'll know you've won. Or that they watch too much Catherine Tate.
   
So there you go, you've already learnt one of the ways in which to win an argument, and that is to deny that you are having an argument, or even further, deny that you've ever had an argument. This is a particularly weak method, and will only get you through an undergraduate philosophy degree, with first-class honours. A [[Ludwig Wittgenstein|particularly clever chap]] has pointed out that in arguing that you have never argued, you are somewhat of a hypocrite anyway. And you want to win arguments remember, not lose them!
+
One of the ways in which to win an argument, is to deny that you are having an argument, or even further, deny that you've ever had an argument. This is a particularly weak method, and will only get you through an undergraduate philosophy degree, with first-class honours. A [[Ludwig Wittgenstein|particularly clever chap]] has pointed out that in arguing that you have never argued, you are somewhat of a hypocrite anyway. And you want to win arguments remember, not lose them!
   
 
==The Situation==
 
==The Situation==
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{{tip|right|Its important in an argument to not point out the blatantly obvious. For instance, when Lloyd Bentsen was desperately attempting to win an argument with Dan Quayle, he resorted to pointing out that Quayle was not in fact John Kennedy, which was plain for all the world to see. Pointing out the obvious thing is seriously uncalled for in arguments.}}
 
{{tip|right|Its important in an argument to not point out the blatantly obvious. For instance, when Lloyd Bentsen was desperately attempting to win an argument with Dan Quayle, he resorted to pointing out that Quayle was not in fact John Kennedy, which was plain for all the world to see. Pointing out the obvious thing is seriously uncalled for in arguments.}}
   
Lets suppose you've made a commonsensical argument, like: 'The world is actually the shape of a toilet roll' in your philosophy class, and most of your fellow students are sat around nodding in agreement, while the actual tutor is nodding off. But then, some upstart hasn't quite accepted your proposition (no, this is not a seminar on gay marriage, and anyway, the arguments against gay marriage are irrefutable) and labels it a load of old 'Cant'. He gives a very accurate account of your argument, and refutes it point by point (assuming you even had a point to make).
+
Let us suppose you are sat in a classroom, and you are supposed to be getting on with comprehension, but you are too interested in the bigger things, like great figures of literature, which inspires you to make the claim that: '[[J. K. Rowling]] is a better writer than [[Leo Tolstoy]]'. Perhaps some of your fellow students will be sat around nodding in agreement (because they probably haven't even heard of Leo Tolstoy) while the actual tutor is nodding off. Some of the students will either be more concerned with devising a paper aeroplane to throw at the dozing teacher. But then, suppose some upstart hasn't quite accepted your proposition (no, this is not a class on gay marriage, and anyway, the arguments against gay marriage are irrefutable) and labels it a load of old 'Cant'. He gives a very accurate account of your argument, and refutes it point by point (assuming you even had a point to make).
 
Now you wish you'd gone to that Critical Thinking seminar don't you? But do not despair, for here comes the first bit of advice...
 
   
 
==First Thing==
 
==First Thing==
   
'''Do not''' take a deep breath, put your hand on your chin to simulate many philosophers of the past, or look troubled. This will imply that you take your opponents views seriously, and you can only take your own views seriously, if you want to win.
+
'''Do not''' take a deep breath, put your hand on your chin to simulate many philosophers or wisemen of the past, or look troubled. This will imply that you take your opponents views seriously, and you can only take your own views seriously, if you want to win.
   
 
Laughing, burping in the direction of your contestant, or mimicking his or her's manner of speech (if they are deaf, you can improvise some rude sign language, which only they will understand) is the best way to go, and if they haven't dropped it by then; if their argument hasn't been flushed away by your brilliant riposte, then its time to get serious, and move on to the next step.
 
Laughing, burping in the direction of your contestant, or mimicking his or her's manner of speech (if they are deaf, you can improvise some rude sign language, which only they will understand) is the best way to go, and if they haven't dropped it by then; if their argument hasn't been flushed away by your brilliant riposte, then its time to get serious, and move on to the next step.
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==Circle Work==
 
==Circle Work==
   
Ok, so you've pretty much been refuted by that clever guy across the table. And what makes matters worse, you're gonna have to write essays on this topic, that will have to convince that super-clever professor when he decides to wake up and mark your paper. Why didn't you take up something like sociology?
+
Ok, so you've pretty much been refuted by that clever guy across the table. And what makes matters worse, you're falling behind on your comprehension, or, if you are at university you will have to write a paper to convince that super-clever professor or lecturer, when he or she decides to wake up and mark your paper.
   
Well, there is a technique called 'arguing in a circle', or circular argument. This involves arranging people around the room in a circle, or as close to a circle as you can get. You then speak to the person next to you for five minutes, and hope that the person who refuted your view has forgotten about the whole debacle when you return to your seats. A related tactic is to 'beg the question', that is, beg earnestly to the person to not ask any questions about what you are saying. This is rather a weak tactic though, and makes you look a bit meek.
+
Well, there is a technique called 'arguing in a circle', or circular argument. This involves arranging people around the room in a circle, or as close to a circle as you can get. You then speak to the person next to you for five minutes, and hope that the person who refuted your view has forgotten about the whole debacle when you return to your seats. Quite how you would do this with the teacher's or lecturer's permission is beyond me, but let's assume he's still asleep. The benefit of organizing people in a circle also allows further diversionary tactics like games of Pass-the-Parcel, or Hokey-Cokey. If you are too old for this sort of merriment, then there's always truth or dare or spin the bottle, but that might get you into another argument! A related tactic is called '[[begging the question]]', that is, beg earnestly to the person to not ask any questions about what you are saying. This is rather a weak tactic though, and makes you look a bit meek.
   
 
==Use that Beard!==
 
==Use that Beard!==
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[[Image:Delhi.jpg|thumb|You lose]]
 
[[Image:Delhi.jpg|thumb|You lose]]
   
Yes, use that beard that you've got! Don't tell me you haven't got one - grow one, you're a philosopher after all, and women, you've got no excuses either. If you've managed to evolve into a full human body from a mere rib, then you should have no problems in growing a mere beard.
+
Yes, use that [[beard]] that you've got! Don't tell me you haven't got one - grow one, you're a student after all, and [[women]], you've got no excuses either. If you've managed to evolve into a full human body from a mere rib, then you should have no problems in growing a mere beard.
   
 
The next step, called ''Argument of the Beard'' involves pointing out that the person who is rebuking your viewpoint has no beard. If he doesn't have a beard, suggest that he grow one before he thinks about arguing with a bearded man (or woman) again. This should be enough. If the person does happen to have a beard on their face, demand a contest between yourself and the debator to see who has the longest beard. This will distract the person from your silly argument that you made, unless he has the memory of an elephant.
 
The next step, called ''Argument of the Beard'' involves pointing out that the person who is rebuking your viewpoint has no beard. If he doesn't have a beard, suggest that he grow one before he thinks about arguing with a bearded man (or woman) again. This should be enough. If the person does happen to have a beard on their face, demand a contest between yourself and the debator to see who has the longest beard. This will distract the person from your silly argument that you made, unless he has the memory of an elephant.
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==The Last Straw==
 
==The Last Straw==
   
He's not giving up. Despite not taking his viewpoints seriously, distracting everyone else from your argument at hand by engaging in puerile team-building exercises, and proving that you have a longer beard (or at undergraduate level, the longer bumfluff) he's still not convinced. Just what is it going to take to beat this guy?
+
He's not giving up. Despite not taking his viewpoints seriously, distracting everyone else from your argument at hand by engaging in puerile team-building exercises, and proving that you have a longer beard (or at [[student|undergraduate]] level, the longer bumfluff) he's still not convinced. Just what is it going to take to beat this guy?
   
 
Its time to take an example from those persons who have proved time and time again to be the bastions of reason and truth: [[Politicians]]. Politicians are very good at winning arguments, and it is recommended that the newbie debater study some classic arguments by politicians of the past.
 
Its time to take an example from those persons who have proved time and time again to be the bastions of reason and truth: [[Politicians]]. Politicians are very good at winning arguments, and it is recommended that the newbie debater study some classic arguments by politicians of the past.
   
Politicians have the ability to pose dilemmas which seem terribly life-threatening, and in your case, you could say: "Either you agree with what I just said, and we get along fine, or you disagree with me, in which case, I will murder your family, your friends, your anteater called Mavis, and eat your unborn babies"*. By posing a dilemma such as this, you are no longer appealing to their logical capabilities, which lets face it, are far greater than yours, but their emotions, which have been long repressed in the pursuit of logical truth and all that jazz. The guy doesn't want another ant-infestation in his house, and his dad's just had a vasectomy, so he should submit to your brilliant, incisive argument.
+
Politicians have the ability to pose dilemmas which seem terribly life-threatening, and in your case, you could say: "Either you agree with what I just said, and we get along fine, or you disagree with me, in which case, I will murder your family, your friends, your anteater called Mavis, and eat your unborn babies"<ref>Never use this tactic against your own family and friends, because then you'll have no one to argue with. Instead, try threatening to run away from home. If you're an old member of the family, threaten to move back into their home.</ref> By posing a dilemma such as this, you are no longer appealing to their logical capabilities, which lets face it, are far greater than yours, but their emotions, which have been long repressed in the pursuit of logical truth and all that jazz. The guy doesn't want another ant-infestation in his house, and his dad's just had a vasectomy, so he should submit to your brilliant, incisive argument.
   
 
[[Image:Lonedebater-8650.jpg|thumb|250px|left|Another method is to make sure that no-one turns up to the argument or debate you've hosted. Keanu Reeves endorses this method.]]
 
[[Image:Lonedebater-8650.jpg|thumb|250px|left|Another method is to make sure that no-one turns up to the argument or debate you've hosted. Keanu Reeves endorses this method.]]
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==In summa==
 
==In summa==
   
You should have won the argument by now, and if not, think about taking the safety catch off next time before you go on a rampage. Next time, try not to get in an argument: Be one of those annoying, parasitical types in seminars who come equipped with pen and paper, and sit there writing down all the important points that only other people besides themselves make. You could then publish your seminar notes as minutes, and possibly make money out of them. And who can argue against making money out of what people have said? Not anyone I know! In my next article, I will talk about how to refute Existentialism by pointing out that [[Sartre]] did not actually exist...
+
You should have won the argument by now, and if not, think about taking the safety catch off next time before you go on a rampage. Next time, try not to get in an argument: Be one of those annoying, parasitical types in classrooms or seminars who come equipped with pen and paper, and sit there writing down all the important points that only other people besides themselves make. You could then publish your seminar notes as minutes, and possibly make money out of them. And who can argue against making money out of what people have said? Not anyone I know! In my next article, I will talk about how to refute Existentialism by pointing out that [[Sartre]] did not actually exist...
  +
  +
==Postscriptum==
   
  +
It has been argued, by some<ref>{{cite news | first=A.C. | last=Whiteling | coauthors= | title=Immanuel's Manual of Cheats | date=2008 | publisher=Methuen Books |}}</ref> that my paper does not extend to how to win arguments in the workplace, or how to win debates with your spouse and that this article has too much of an academic focus. But the lessons in this article can be so easily applied to other scenarios, and if you do not agree with this, then I burp in your face and stroke my beard confrontationally.
   
 
==Notes==
 
==Notes==
   
<nowiki>*</nowiki> Never use this tactic against your own family and friends, because then you'll have no one to argue with. Instead, try threatening to run away from home. If you're an old member of the family, threaten to move back into their home.
+
<div class="references-small"><references /></div>
   
 
[[Category:Philosophy]]
 
[[Category:Philosophy]]

Revision as of 19:14, April 3, 2008

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During the course of your life, if you manage to make it through school, and you have not been so delinquent that the only thing you could debate over is what TV channel to watch while you are sat at home, you will have an argument. And you'll want to win that argument too, and the classroom is one of the best places for such a debate because the intellectual stakes are high! Suppose you do win the argument, you will end up humiliating that no-good swot in front of your buddies. Be warned though, that if you have too many arguments you won't have any buddies to show off to. And there is always the danger that, if you are debating with someone more idiotic than yourself that they may respond with that witty smackdown of a riposte - "WHAT-EVA?"!. But by that point you'll know you've won. Or that they watch too much Catherine Tate.

One of the ways in which to win an argument, is to deny that you are having an argument, or even further, deny that you've ever had an argument. This is a particularly weak method, and will only get you through an undergraduate philosophy degree, with first-class honours. A particularly clever chap has pointed out that in arguing that you have never argued, you are somewhat of a hypocrite anyway. And you want to win arguments remember, not lose them!

The Situation

Tip

Its important in an argument to not point out the blatantly obvious. For instance, when Lloyd Bentsen was desperately attempting to win an argument with Dan Quayle, he resorted to pointing out that Quayle was not in fact John Kennedy, which was plain for all the world to see. Pointing out the obvious thing is seriously uncalled for in arguments.

Let us suppose you are sat in a classroom, and you are supposed to be getting on with comprehension, but you are too interested in the bigger things, like great figures of literature, which inspires you to make the claim that: 'J. K. Rowling is a better writer than Leo Tolstoy'. Perhaps some of your fellow students will be sat around nodding in agreement (because they probably haven't even heard of Leo Tolstoy) while the actual tutor is nodding off. Some of the students will either be more concerned with devising a paper aeroplane to throw at the dozing teacher. But then, suppose some upstart hasn't quite accepted your proposition (no, this is not a class on gay marriage, and anyway, the arguments against gay marriage are irrefutable) and labels it a load of old 'Cant'. He gives a very accurate account of your argument, and refutes it point by point (assuming you even had a point to make).

First Thing

Do not take a deep breath, put your hand on your chin to simulate many philosophers or wisemen of the past, or look troubled. This will imply that you take your opponents views seriously, and you can only take your own views seriously, if you want to win.

Laughing, burping in the direction of your contestant, or mimicking his or her's manner of speech (if they are deaf, you can improvise some rude sign language, which only they will understand) is the best way to go, and if they haven't dropped it by then; if their argument hasn't been flushed away by your brilliant riposte, then its time to get serious, and move on to the next step.

Circle Work

Ok, so you've pretty much been refuted by that clever guy across the table. And what makes matters worse, you're falling behind on your comprehension, or, if you are at university you will have to write a paper to convince that super-clever professor or lecturer, when he or she decides to wake up and mark your paper.

Well, there is a technique called 'arguing in a circle', or circular argument. This involves arranging people around the room in a circle, or as close to a circle as you can get. You then speak to the person next to you for five minutes, and hope that the person who refuted your view has forgotten about the whole debacle when you return to your seats. Quite how you would do this with the teacher's or lecturer's permission is beyond me, but let's assume he's still asleep. The benefit of organizing people in a circle also allows further diversionary tactics like games of Pass-the-Parcel, or Hokey-Cokey. If you are too old for this sort of merriment, then there's always truth or dare or spin the bottle, but that might get you into another argument! A related tactic is called 'begging the question', that is, beg earnestly to the person to not ask any questions about what you are saying. This is rather a weak tactic though, and makes you look a bit meek.

Use that Beard!

Delhi

You lose

Yes, use that beard that you've got! Don't tell me you haven't got one - grow one, you're a student after all, and women, you've got no excuses either. If you've managed to evolve into a full human body from a mere rib, then you should have no problems in growing a mere beard.

The next step, called Argument of the Beard involves pointing out that the person who is rebuking your viewpoint has no beard. If he doesn't have a beard, suggest that he grow one before he thinks about arguing with a bearded man (or woman) again. This should be enough. If the person does happen to have a beard on their face, demand a contest between yourself and the debator to see who has the longest beard. This will distract the person from your silly argument that you made, unless he has the memory of an elephant.

The Last Straw

He's not giving up. Despite not taking his viewpoints seriously, distracting everyone else from your argument at hand by engaging in puerile team-building exercises, and proving that you have a longer beard (or at undergraduate level, the longer bumfluff) he's still not convinced. Just what is it going to take to beat this guy?

Its time to take an example from those persons who have proved time and time again to be the bastions of reason and truth: Politicians. Politicians are very good at winning arguments, and it is recommended that the newbie debater study some classic arguments by politicians of the past.

Politicians have the ability to pose dilemmas which seem terribly life-threatening, and in your case, you could say: "Either you agree with what I just said, and we get along fine, or you disagree with me, in which case, I will murder your family, your friends, your anteater called Mavis, and eat your unborn babies"[1] By posing a dilemma such as this, you are no longer appealing to their logical capabilities, which lets face it, are far greater than yours, but their emotions, which have been long repressed in the pursuit of logical truth and all that jazz. The guy doesn't want another ant-infestation in his house, and his dad's just had a vasectomy, so he should submit to your brilliant, incisive argument.

Lonedebater-8650

Another method is to make sure that no-one turns up to the argument or debate you've hosted. Keanu Reeves endorses this method.

In summa

You should have won the argument by now, and if not, think about taking the safety catch off next time before you go on a rampage. Next time, try not to get in an argument: Be one of those annoying, parasitical types in classrooms or seminars who come equipped with pen and paper, and sit there writing down all the important points that only other people besides themselves make. You could then publish your seminar notes as minutes, and possibly make money out of them. And who can argue against making money out of what people have said? Not anyone I know! In my next article, I will talk about how to refute Existentialism by pointing out that Sartre did not actually exist...

Postscriptum

It has been argued, by some[2] that my paper does not extend to how to win arguments in the workplace, or how to win debates with your spouse and that this article has too much of an academic focus. But the lessons in this article can be so easily applied to other scenarios, and if you do not agree with this, then I burp in your face and stroke my beard confrontationally.

Notes

  1. Never use this tactic against your own family and friends, because then you'll have no one to argue with. Instead, try threatening to run away from home. If you're an old member of the family, threaten to move back into their home.
  2. Whiteling, A.C.. "Immanuel's Manual of Cheats", Methuen Books, 2008. 
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