First, it elevates tactics over substance.
You can take a class in logic argumentation.
You learn all about the strategies that people use to try and win arguments and that makes arguing adversarial; it's polarizing.
And the only foreseeable outcomes are triumph, glorious triumph, or disgraceful defeat.
I think those are very destructive effects, and worst of all, it seems to prevent things like negotiation and collaboration.
Um, I think the argument-as-war metaphor inhibits those other kinds of resolutions to argumentation.
And finally, this is really the worst thing, arguments don't seem to get us anywhere; they're dead ends.
We don't get anywhere.
Oh, and one more thing. That is, if argument is war, then there's also an implicit aspect of meaning, learning with losing.
And let me explain what I mean. Suppose you and I have an argument.
You believe a proposition and I don't. And I say, "Well, why do you believe that?"
And you give me your reasons. And I object and say, "Well, what about...?"
And you answer my objection.
And I have a question: "Well, what do you mean?
How does it apply over here?" And you answer my question.
Now, suppose at the end of the day,
I've objected, I've questioned, I've raised all sorts of questions from an opposite perspective and in every case you've responded to my satisfaction.
And so at the end of the day, I say, "You know what? I guess you're right."
Maybe finally I lost my argument.
But isn't it also a process of learning?
So you see arguments may also have positive effects.
So, how can we find new ways to achieve those positive effects?
We need to think of new kinds of arguments.
Here I have some suggestions.
If we want to think of new kinds of arguments, what we need to do is think of new kinds of arguers, people who argue.
So try this:
Think of all the roles that people play in arguments.
There's the proponent and the opponent in an adversarial, dialectical argument.
There's the audience in rhetorical arguments.
There's the reasoner in arguments as proofs.
All these different roles.
Now, can you imagine an argument in which you are the arguer, but you're also in the audience, watching yourself argue?
Can you imagine yourself watching yourself argue?
That means you need to be supported by yourself.
Even when you lose the argument, still, at the end of the argument,you could say, "Wow, that was a good argument!"
Can you do that? I think you can.
In this way, you've been supported by yourself. Up till now, I have lost a lot of arguments.
It really takes practice to become a good arguer, in the sense of being able to benefit from losing,
but fortunately, I've had many, many colleagues who have been willing to step up and provide that practice for me.
OK. To sum up, in today's lecture, I have introduced three models of arguments.
The first model is called the dialectical model.
The second one is the model of arguments as proofs.
And the last one is called the rhetorical model, the model of arguments as performances.
I have also emphasized that, though the adversarial type of arguments is quite common, we can still make arguments produce some positive effects.
Next time I will continue our discussion on the process of arguing.