Win An Argument Every Time

By utilizing critical thinking and understanding the 25 cognitive biases, you will be able to form an argument. However, there is more involved in arguing. There is also more that can affect your argument, aside from the 25 cognitive biases. To do this, you must first understand what an argument is made of in order to form an argument of your own. 

If you look way back to ancient times, the logic of Aristotle remains true even though thousands of years have passed. His argument consisted of two main parts: the premise and the conclusion. A premise is going to support the claim that is being made. Think of this as the supporting details. The conclusion is going to be the claim that is being made. However, to get to the conclusion, your premise must be logical and lead to the conclusion. When creating an effective argument, you want your reasoning to be sound – don’t leave anything out. Make sure that the premise or premises support the argument. When all of your premise/s support the argument, the argument becomes valid. You also cannot twist the truth in any of your premises if you are looking to create a sound argument.  

Let’s look at a valid argument and an invalid argument. Each of these will have two premises and one conclusion. An argument can have several premises and a single conclusion and still be valid. In fact, the more supportive premises you have, the more sound your argument will become. 

All men are mortal. This is a premise.

Socrates is a man. This is another premise. It is also a fact, and the conclusion will help link the two premises to each other. 

This means Socrates is mortal. 

The next example is an invalid argument. 

Socrates is mortal. True, this is the conclusion that we came to in the previous argument. What goes wrong is in the next premise. 

All men are mortal. This is also true. It is the conclusion that is illogical. 

This means Socrates is a man. This is a true statement. However, just because Socrates is mortal does not mean he is a man. All animals are also mortal. Based on the information that the premises provide, you cannot automatically assume that Socrates is a man. 

There are also inductive arguments. However, when trying to apply critical thinking to an argument while thinking like a lawyer, these are not the best because they are based on assumptions.  

The following is an inductive argument about the diets of Greeks. 

Most Greeks eat fish.  
Socrates is Greek. 
Socrates eats fish. 

This argument is inductive because you are using reasoning to figure out what kind of food Socrates would have eaten. Inductive means inferring general laws based on particular instances. We can assume that since Greeks rely heavily on fish for nutrients, Socrates would eat fish. When making an inductive argument, there are weak and strong arguments, and they are not going to be absolute. There will always be an outlier. 

So, we have seen a good argument and a bad argument. Now we can talk about what not to include in your argument along with what an argument is not. 

●     Assertions: A confident, forceful statement of fact or belief. The key part of this definition is belief. This allows for opinions to be involved. While there are different types of arguments, you should understand that in this case, we need to argue facts. For example, saying that Muslims are bad is not an argument. It is a statement that would need to be supported by facts, or in our case, premises. It is also a belief. 

●     Statements: Einstein said, “God does not play dice with the universe.” Is Einstein an intelligent human? Yes. Does this mean we should listen to everything he says and use it in a literal sense? No. 

●     Explanations: Because Caesar’s army was outnumbered, they retreated across the Rhine. This is true, but it is not arguing anything. In fact, there is nothing here to argue. 

●     Opinions: Cannot stress this enough! Leave your opinions and emotions out of the picture! 


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