“The art of arguing”

Arguing? Like or not, arguments are inevitable part of life.

No matter how much we try to avoid confrontation, at some stage we have to argue our point to get our view across or get what we want.

“If we want to know what to do, what to believe, and who deserves what, and we don’t want brute force or naked self-interest to answer those questions, argument is the only way to get there”, Deakin University philosophy Dr. Patric Strokes.

Arguing is a skill that has to learnt, arguing is becoming a lost art, partly due to us living in a social media era.

Sometimes you have to argue to avoid conflict instead of telling someone that they are wrong, we tell ourselves everyone is entitled to their opinion. But sometime we need to call out bad arguments, but not in a way to attacks the other person. We assume everyone is like us and has had the same experience.

Where are your biases? Be suspicious with your own views.

Online environments reward speed, pithiness and smartness of insult, which are not necessarily conducive to an in-depth dialogue that aims to get the truth. You need a willingness to listen to other people and time to work out what you do and don’t want to say and wat your position is. That’s the process.

For the film Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, the Apple founder shared his views about how teams develop something great: Polishing ideas can be like polishing rocks, he said.

It’s a lesson he learned in childhood while hanging out with a neighborhood kid. He recalled putting some “regular old ugly rocks” in a tumbler with some grit and liquid. As they turned, the can made quite the racket.

“I came back the next day,” Jobs added. “And we took out these amazingly beautiful polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing against each other … creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.”

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

“That’s always been in my mind my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they’re passionate about,” Jobs said. “Through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise and working together, they polish each other and they polish the ideas.”

Remember there is more to arguing a point than simply stating your opinion, a lot of people say, ‘here is my view’ and you challenge them on that and they say, ‘that is my opinion and  I am entitle to it’. But that’s not enough. You must back it up and be able to tell someone why you are right.

If you are interested in learn more about the art of arguing, I want invite you to read this book “ The Art of The Argument: Western Civilization’s Last Stand” by Stefan Molyneux.

I how this lecture help you see you next week.