The Art of Arguing

So you want to learn how to win an argument? Read on for our guide: The Art of Arguing and I’ll show you the man-in-the-pub version rather than the old-school Aristotle-style way of winning a brain battle. That said, here’s a quick summary of his legendary intellect.

In his treatise, The Art of RhetoricAristotle said that there are three ways to persuade your audience: ethos, pathos and logos.

  1. Ethos: appeal to the person’s character.
  2. Pathos; appeal to emotion.
  3. Logos: appeal to logic.

He reckoned that the best way was Logos, but that was risky because there are endless ways to mess up. History lesson aside, we aren’t out to impress you with our genius, but rather our street smarts.

The Art of Arguing
Global Climate Change – Carbon Graph

First of All – Be Realistic

Let’s face it, you aren’t going to change someone’s mind over things they love and adore. If someone likes shooting then there is no way in the world you will convince them guns are a bad thing. People are stubborn, they will stick to their position like super glue mixed with graphene. Hence, pick your arguments wisely; there’s no point starting a debating career and losing every one. That said, look for less-challenging battles to sharpen your teeth and get the hang of the skills you will need to become a premier arguer.

Who Shall I Debate With?

You needn’t turn up at Oxford University and ask to speak in front of their brightest talent, because that would be far too daunting for a beginner. Instead get among it on Facebook and pick something that tickles your fancy. Sometimes you should use your better judgement and keep out of it, but if you’re like me then I can’t help myself sometimes and end up digging holes. Trouble is, there are a lot of arrogant people who are unwilling to listen and learn. They just have to be right – you know the type, they’re called know-all Ned, or Nancy.

What Topics Should I Go For?

Climate change is a good one, but it’s up there with guns for winning. You will have to be on your best game because there is that much information on the Internet these days that people will cherry pick the articles that suit them, rather than trying to find the truth.

Personally I am about finding the truth, which makes me come across like I’m a conservative when I’m arguing with a lefty and conversely, when I’m getting rowdy with a republican they must think I’m a democrat. How can this be so? Am I just being awkward? Heck no! I’m not anti-gun, but I don’t think there’s a need for every man and woman to carry one in public.

Just the other day, I said to a gentleman that I debate with – and admire greatly – that if guns are so good why does America need to jail so many people? Surely that one sentence puts a million scientific studies to sleep. However, my buddy won’t admit this to be true.

You can argue and debate about literally anything, but politics is an endless debate. Donald Trump has annoyed more people than possibly anyone that’s ever lives, but you know what, I think he’s great. True, he has his flaws, but who doesn’t? He is proving a lot of people wrong and it’s a change from the stale old bore-off politicians that we’re used to.

Animal Cruelty is Widely Popular to Debate

Recently I came across some images on the Internet that made me question how humans can be so callous. Chinese men cooking a dog alive with a blow torch in its mouth. Apparently the more suffering the animal goes through the tastier the meat. Surely even the dumbest person in the world must know this is absolute bollocks. They believe that the adrenaline released during the torture improves the taste. Even if this were true, it is beyond horrific.

I’ve got nothing against Chinese people, just using this as an example. Why? Why? Why? There are no animal cruelty laws in China. Regardless, how horrible and mean spirited do you have to be to do such an inhumane thing. They also skin dogs alive. Imagine that? It’s senseless barbarism. There are no logical excuses for such behavior in a modern world. Fair enough, if they want to eat a dog then at least butcher it in a human way. Is that too much to ask?

It’s also common in Thailand, Korea, The Philippines, and dogs, cats and other animals are boiled alive.

If you love animals, get on board with this topic. There are plenty of arguments out there to be won and for a good cause.

The Art of Arguing
China’s Growing Animal Rights Movement is Starting to Make its Voice Heard

Argument Winning Tactics Explained

From my own perspective, this is how I roll:

  1. Respect your opponent – don’t be rude, but don’t get bullied either.
  2. Know your subject, or know how to find the answers quickly on the Internet. Even the brightest of us don’t know everything, but being street smart we should know how to research swiftly and effectively.
  3. Dissect what the other person has said – look for openings or weak points that you can counter.
  4. Plan ahead: think how they are going to come at you. Shut the door on loopholes that you think they will try and use, which is a bit like getting in there first, but more specifically and with a reason. Not just because you want to be first.
  5. Stay calm and don’t get frustrated. Focus. Keep a cool head.
  6. Settling a score might mean that you have to actually lose – you can’t win every one.
  7. Always speak eloquently, not using big words for the sake of it, but accurately and factual. People will soon recognize if you are a dummy or a bright spark.
  8. Practice makes perfect, or at least it sets you on the path to winning ways. Experience in live is one of the best things ever. Life experience or personal experience counts just as much as general or topical knowledge, especially when you’re at work and dealing with people. The same goes for debating. You can call on personal experiences or use them alongside your research.
  9. If you can’t reach an agreement, try and settle on a few points each so think of it more like a draw rather than a win or loss. This way both parties will at least be happy they have got something out of the debate.
  10. Most importantly, enjoy having an argument. It’s all about the banter and craic, as much as it is being factually correct and pedantic. Don’t get upset if you think people are ganging up on you, which is a tactic that people use when on social media. They’ll quickly befriend someone if they think they will back them up.

    Now Tell us About Your Debating Strategy

    Give us a heads up in the comments how you go about notching wins on your way around the Internet. What would you do differently? Tell us what you think – and don’t be shy!

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