Victory in a dispute - Theory and practice of argumentation

Win a dispute

The question of whether it is possible to prevail in a dispute seems at least strange. Nevertheless, there are people who, as one might think, are seriously convinced that this is impossible.

If you argue and object, you can sometimes achieve victory, but it will be a useless victory, because you will never achieve this good attitude to you from your opponent's side. " These words belong to the American scientist and diplomat B. Franklin.

American President A. Lincoln once chastised the young officer for having entered into a heated argument with his colleague. "No man who has decided to really succeed in life," suggested A. Lincoln, "should not waste time on personal disputes, not to mention that he should not allow himself to lose his temper and lose his temper. Give in on major issues if you feel that both you and your interlocutor are right in your way, and concede in smaller things, even knowing for sure that only you are right. Better give way to the dog than allow it to bite you. Even killing a dog will not cure a bite ...

What is the basis for this advice in every possible way to avoid disputes? Is the victory in the dispute, even if it is achieved, proves useless?

There are usually two arguments against the dispute. A person who is convinced of his rightness and who actively defends his point of view is practically impossible to change his mind. That is why disputes often end with the fact that the contending are still more confident in their rightness. And then, if the dispute still ends with the victory of one of the participants, the other - the loser - must feel the bitterness of defeat. He can even change his attitude to a partner in a dispute.

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Obviously, both of these arguments are inconclusive. It is not true that a person can not be persuaded in a dispute. Much depends on the manner of the dispute and the arguments given. If the controversy did not lead to a change in the positions of the parties, it would be incomprehensible, under the influence of which people's beliefs change.

The reference to the compulsory, allegedly, insult of the defeated in the dispute is also lightweight. As Leonardo da Vinci said: "The enemy who reveals your mistakes is more useful to you than a friend who wants to hide them." A failure in a dispute can really seem insulting. But if a person realizes that he was wrong, he will not complain about the bitter medicine.

When you find out your mistakes, you have a chance to fix them - these words of the poet R. Burns are also an indirect praise of the dispute, which is a good means of clarifying the situation.

What would be really insulting is to lose the argument as one of the effective ways to eliminate mistakes and misunderstandings.

All this is obvious. Anyone who speaks out against disputes most likely does not express his thoughts clearly enough and, speaking of one thing, has in mind something completely different.

The desire or requirement to avoid any disputes and constantly strive for reconciliation is unreasonable, and simply impracticable. The dispute is objective and necessary in the sense that it is one of the inalienable features of people's communication and the achievement of mutual understanding. It is necessary, however, not to lose sight of the other side of the question.

The dispute is not the only way to ensure people understand each other. He is not even the most important means. It is unacceptable to argue for the sake of argument, in order to prove the abstract rightness and shame of the enemy. The main task of the dispute is not in itself a victory over the opposite side, but the solution of a specific problem, best of all is a mutually acceptable solution.

Dispute is a complex phenomenon. It does not boil down to a clash of two incompatible statements. Flowing always in a certain context, it affects such traits of a person's character as dignity, self-esteem, pride, etc. The manner of the dispute, its sharpness, the concessions of the disputing parties, the means used by them are determined not only by considerations related to the resolution of a particular problem, but also by the whole context in which it has risen. You can achieve a formal victory in the dispute, insist on the correctness or expediency of your approach and at the same time lose something else, but not less important. We failed to change the position of the opponent in the dispute, did not achieve his understanding, offended him, pushed him from interaction and mutual assistance in solving the problem that caused the dispute - these side effects of the dispute can significantly weaken the effect of victory in it.

Truth is always concrete. The truth that causes a dispute or is born in a dispute is also concrete.

Any dispute should, as already stated, have its own theme, its subject. This is an obvious claim to a dispute, but even it is sometimes violated.

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It is desirable that the subject of the dispute be relatively clear. It is best at the very beginning to fix this subject with a special statement, in order to avoid a rather usual question: what was the argument about?!

Pointless disputes, disputes over problems unclear to the disputing parties, leave, as a rule, a heavy deposit due to their incoherence and helplessness. Not allowing participants the opportunity to discover their knowledge and abilities, such disputes present them in a distorted light. "Next, he will go further," O. Cromwell said, "who does not know where to go."

Many disputes result in the fact that their participants are even more asserted in their righteousness. It would be hasty, however, to draw from this the conclusion that most disputes are ineffective. Let the arguments of the disputants remain unchanged, but they certainly became clearer than before the dispute. Not every polemic ends with the fact that everyone turns to "one faith". But almost every polemic helps the parties clarify their positions, find additional arguments for their defense. This explains the increased conviction of the participants in the dispute in their own right.

Dispute is characterized not simply by a certain object, but by the presence of incompatible representations about the same object, phenomenon, etc. If there is no such an opposite, it soon becomes clear that the arguers are speaking about different but complementary aspects of the same object. There's nothing to argue about further.

"If you want to argue not in vain and convince the interlocutor," B. Pascal advised, "first of all clarify to yourself on which side he approaches the subject of the dispute, for he usually sees this side correctly. Recognize him right and immediately show that if you approach from the other side, he will be wrong. Your interlocutor willingly agrees with you - he did not make any mistake, he just did not see something, and people get angry not when not everyone sees, but when they make a mistake ... "

There is an opinion that between the extreme points of view lies the truth. No way! Between them lies the problem & quot ;. These words of Goethe are directed against the search for the notorious "golden mean", attempts to reconcile and smooth everything. Truth is not between extremes, but in one of them, if these extremes are two contradictory judgments about the same subject. Between the extremes lies just the problem: which of the two extreme points of view is correct?

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