changingminds.org

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

The Basis of All Dialectic

 

Techniques General persuasion > The Art of Being Rightx > The Basis of All Dialectic

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

First of all, we must consider the essential nature of every dispute: what it is that really takes place in it.

Our opponent has stated a thesis, or we ourselves,—it is all one. There are two modes of refuting it, and two courses that we may pursue.

I. The modes are (1) ad rem, (2) ad hominem or ex concessis

That is to say: We may show either that the proposition is not in accordance with the nature of things, i.e., with absolute, objective truth; or that it is inconsistent with other statements or admissions of our opponent, i.e., with truth as it appears to him. The latter mode of arguing a question produces only a relative conviction, and makes no difference whatever to the objective truth of the matter.

II. The two courses that we may pursue are (1) the direct, and (2) the indirect refutation

The direct attacks the reason for the thesis; the indirect, its results. The direct refutation shows that the thesis is not true; the indirect, that it cannot be true.

The direct course admits of a twofold procedure. Either we may show that the reasons for the statement are false (nego majorem, minorem); or we may admit the reasons or premisses, but show that the statement does not follow from them (nego consequentiam); that is, we attack the conclusion or form of the syllogism.

The direct refutation makes use either of the diversion or of the instance.

(a) The diversion

—We accept our opponent's proposition as true, and then show what follows from it when we bring it into connection with some other proposition acknowledged to be true. We use the two propositions as the premisses of a syllogism giving a conclusion which is manifestly false, as contradicting either the nature of things, or other statements of our opponent himself; that is to say, the conclusion is false either ad rem or ad hominem. Consequently, our opponent's proposition must have been false; for, while true premisses can give only a true conclusion, false premisses need not always give a false one.

(b) The instance, or the example to the contrary

—This consists in refuting the general proposition by direct reference to particular cases which are included in it in the way in which it is stated, but to which it does not apply, and by which it is therefore shown to be necessarily false.

Such is the framework or skeleton of all forms of disputation; for to this every kind of controversy may be ultimately reduced. The whole of a controversy may, however, actually proceed in the manner described, or only appear to do so; and it may be supported by genuine or spurious arguments. It is just because it is not easy to make out the truth in regard to this matter, that debates are so long and so obstinate.

Nor can we, in ordering the argument, separate actual from apparent truth, since even the disputants are not certain about it beforehand. Therefore I shall describe the various tricks or stratagems without regard to questions of objective truth or falsity; for that is a matter on which we have no assurance, and which cannot be determined previously. Moreover, in every disputation or argument on any subject we must agree about something; and by this, as a principle, we must be willing to judge the matter in question. We cannot argue with those who deny principles: Contra negantem principia non est disputandum.

Discussion

In summary, Schopenhauer is saying you can dismiss an opponent's argument as being absolutely wrong or wrong relative to something else (such as what they have recently said). In doing this, you can attack their logic or their conclusions. When attacking logic, you can show it is generally flawed or wrong just in this case.

Latin translations

Schopenhauer mixes Latin and false Latin phrases. Best translations are given here and throughout this section.

Ad hominem means 'Against the person' or a personal attack.

Ad rem means 'to the point' or 'pertinent'.

Ex concessis means 'in view of what has already been accepted'.

Nego majorem, minorem means 'denying major and minor [reasons for a conclusion]'.

Nego consequentiam means 'denying the consequence/conclusion'.

Contra negantem principia non est disputandum means 'There is no disputing against or denying principles'.

See also

Argument, Fallacies

 

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font | Translate |

 

You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book


Look inside

 

Please help and share:

 

Quick links

Disciplines

* Argument
* Brand management
* Change Management
* Coaching
* Communication
* Counseling
* Game Design
* Human Resources
* Job-finding
* Leadership
* Marketing
* Politics
* Propaganda
* Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
* Sociology
* Storytelling
* Teaching
* Warfare
* Workplace design

Techniques

* Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
* Conversation
* Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
* Happiness
* Hypnotism
* Interrogation
* Language
* Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
* Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
* Questioning
* Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
* Self-development
* Sequential requests
* Storytelling
* Stress Management
* Tipping
* Using humor
* Willpower

Principles

* Principles

Explanations

* Behaviors
* Beliefs
* Brain stuff
* Conditioning
* Coping Mechanisms
* Critical Theory
* Culture
* Decisions
* Emotions
* Evolution
* Gender
* Games
* Groups
* Habit
* Identity
* Learning
* Meaning
* Memory
* Motivation
* Models
* Needs
* Personality
* Power
* Preferences
* Research
* Relationships
* SIFT Model
* Social Research
* Stress
* Trust
* Values

Theories

* Alphabetic list
* Theory types

And

About
Guest Articles
Blog!
Books
Changes
Contact
Guestbook
Quotes
Students
Webmasters

 

| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

© Changing Works 2002-2016
Massive Content — Maximum Speed