Arguing Well Sequence

Ar­gu­ments have the po­ten­tial to al­low you to con­nect and un­der­stand with some­one else on a deep level, to in­tro­spect and figure out what you truly be­lieve and care about, and to find out what is true so you can ac­com­plish your goals!

Most peo­ple use it to dom­i­nate or talk past each other.

But there are ways to con­sis­tently ar­gue well. Luck­ily, most of the hard work has already been done over the years on Less Wrong, SlateS­tarCodex, and Street Episte­mol­ogy videos. My con­tri­bu­tion is pro­vid­ing short sum­maries of these tech­niques, ex­er­cise prompts (some bor­rowed from the above sources) and solu­tions, gen­er­al­iza­tions, ideal al­gorithms, and re­la­tion­ships be­tween the differ­ent tech­niques. They are as fol­lows:

  1. Prov­ing Too Much (w/​ ex­er­cises)

  2. Cat­e­gory Qual­ifi­ca­tions (w/​ ex­er­cises)

  3. False Dilem­mas (w/​ ex­er­cises)

  4. Find­ing cruxes (w/​ ex­er­cises)

Although these ex­er­cises are not as use­ful as real-life con­ver­sa­tions, they are enough to im­part a gears-level model of these tech­niques, so when you find your­self in a con­fused con­ver­sa­tion, you’ll know where to put all the pieces and how to have a pro­duc­tive dis­cus­sion.

Note: This se­quence is mo­ti­vated by the ra­tio­nal­ity ex­er­cise con­test.

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