As rational animals, human beings have provided themselves with tools that give coherence to the positions they defend in a debate: they are called arguments, that is, persuasion techniques . That is why argument is synonymous with reasoning, since they are strategies to defend the truth or falsity of something through reason.
Depending on the theme, the tone or the circumstances of the debate, we can use various types of arguments that help us focus on the question and refute our thesis. Let’s see the types of arguments and examples of how they can be used:.
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What are the arguments?
Since philosophy is the art of thinking, its object is the debate of ideas, and from here it has developed a science of argumentation called rhetoric . The art of convincing the rival by rational methods requires moving the debate away from subjectivity and towards objectivity.
The argument is, therefore, the sender’s attempt to give the appearance of objectivity to his ideas, so that if we use rational contextualization tools we move the concept away from an alleged subjectivity and bring it closer to the truth . However, within the types of arguments there is a wide range that goes from the most emotional impulse to the most innocuous objectivity.
Emotional arguments, for example, are used when the sender wants to refute their ideas by appealing to the receiver’s feelings. A second degree is made up of topical arguments, which are those that are based on beliefs, values and premises accepted by the majority of society. Finally, rational type arguments appeal to the logic and reasoning of the addressee.
10 types of arguments to debate
These are the ten most common types of arguments. Since philosophy elevates arguments of a rational type over those of an emotional type, which at the extreme end in fallacy, we order the arguments from less to more rigorous:
1. Flattery or threat
It is a clear example of consistent emotional argumentation inappeal to the most primary feelings of the receiver . In this type of argument we lower the debate to instincts and personal effect, reminding the addressee of his social position, his professional training, his ideology, etc. You can even use the threat, in a more or less subtle way. A couple of examples:
It seems incredible that having been born in a humble family, you are against the rights of workers.
If you continue to defend such a state of affairs, you will end up ruining your reputation.
2. Argument of the majority
It falls within the group of topical arguments. Although it is quite far from the logical rules of rationality, it is a very emotional type of argument. Consistsput pressure on the receiver arguing the topic of quantity : if an idea is supported by many people it automatically receives character of veracity. For example:
Millions of people have taken to the streets to claim these ideas, how can you oppose them?
argument This type of argument is based on the topic that the truth of an idea depends on its utility , that is , of what can serve the common of society. In the same way, it is a very useful argument, although it appeals more to emotions than to reason:
If we approve a tax cut, we will all end up benefiting.
4. Ethical argument
It is based on the topic of morality. In this type of reasoningTwo camps are created, morality and immorality , and the rival’s arguments are placed in the immorality camp, leaving ours in the ethics camp. Automatically, ours become preferable, while theirs are reprehensible:
What we are appealing for is a more supportive attitude and respect for human rights.
5. Argument from authority
We now enter the group of rational arguments. The argument from authority consists of presuming the truth of an idea by appealing to the authority of a specialist.who defends her. Although it can sometimes be effective, it is one of the least consistent within the rational group, because it can result in a fallacy of authority: the fact that a specialist defends it does not make it true. However, it serves to refute another fallacy of authority:
As Noam Chomsky says, Donald Trump develops a fascist policy.
6. Cause-effect argumentation
One of the maxims of logic is the cause-effect relationship: things happen for a reason, because each cause has a consequence, and all consequences have a cause. In the realm of the rational, it is one of the most relentless arguments because, by making the final conclusion depend on an apparently irrefutable premise, it automatically remains in the realm of truth. For example:
To welcome more immigrants, it is necessary to create more jobs. Since there is no work, no more immigrants can be welcomed.
7. Argumentation by example
This is a very persuasive type of argument in which we distance the idea from abstraction and place it on a plane of pragmatism. Giving an example that supports our idea , we show the interlocutor that we are not rambling in the vagueness and that our argument has a reality.
We must defend the law against the emission of gases. For example, in the United Kingdom they are already applying it and it works wonderfully.
8. Interpellation argument
It is a technique developed through the Socratic method, and consists of subjecting the opponent to a series of questions to mislead him . In this way, it is achieved, in a very effective way, that the rival’s arguments become evident by themselves without the need for the issuer to point out their invalidity. For example:
Tell me, are you sure that the bull does not suffer
? How much money does the bull business move
? Why don’t they agree to fight the animal without it dying in the bullring
? If they say they love the bull, why do they sacrifice it? in the square
Is the bullfighter not in a position of superiority
? Is it an unequal fight?
9. Argument with data and statistics
It is a variant of the argument with examples, but in this case the coldness of the data is even more effective than the subjective of the example . It is common that in the most serious debates where the opponents want to give the appearance of rigor, data and statistics are handled. The idea that is supported by numbers suddenly acquires an apparently irrefutable notoriety. For example:
We have to reinforce safety at work because last year workplace accidents increased by 21%.
It is clear that we have a social problem, because 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in abortion.
10. Arguments based on experiments
Scientific proof is the ultimate demonstration that an idea is true . Who could oppose the scientific demonstration of a fact?
The hegemonic position that science has taken regarding beliefs and faith in the modern world make this type of argument the most solid. An example:
We have to support the anti-tobacco law, because as an experiment at the University of Michigan shows, it is the leading cause of death in men.
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