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Turn The Tables

 

Techniques General persuasion > The Art of Being Right > Turn The Tables

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

A brilliant move is the retorsio argumenti, or turning of the tables, by which your opponent's argument is turned against himself. He declares, for instance, "So-and-so is a child, you must make allowance for him". You retort, "Just because he is a child, I must correct him; otherwise he will persist in his bad habits".

Example

You say I am illogical, but let me show you how little you are applying the rules of logic to your own arguments...

Now this is the pot calling the kettle black! You accuse me of misdeeds, so, as you have started flinging mud, let's have a look at all the bad things you have done...

Discussion

Reversing the argument, applying the other person's rationale onto them is often quite easy and can be quite disconcerting. Just take the essence of their argument and see if you can apply it to them in some way. If they object, you say you are simply doing what they were doing. You may then suggest moving to a more reasonable discussion.

'Turn The Tables' is the twenty-sixth of Schopenhauer's stratagems.

See also

Confusion principle

 

 

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