Arguing is not only presenting a prejudice in a different form… To argue is to offer proof to a statement, in a few sentences or in a short paragraph. The first thing to ask yourself when you want to create an argument is "what do I want to prove?" The answer to this question is the what, the argument is the how. You can imagine that its importance is paramount.
Identify the premises and conclusions
The best way to build an argument is to determine what the elements are. These two elements are common to all the arguments and are divided into two categories: premise and conclusion.
The conclusion is the statement for which you give reasons. The statements that give these reasons are the premise. A true recognized statement is an assertion. To show a clear argument, it may be useful to separate the premise (numbers) from the conclusion (point). Let us take for example the following two sentences, dear to Sherlock Holmes.
"A dog was kept in his enclosure and yet, when someone had come to take the horse, the dog had not barked. It is obvious that the visitor was someone the dog knew well. "
Let us take this passage and present it in a way that separates the premise from the conclusion:
A man came
The dog did not bark
The dog barks when he sees a stranger (implied)
So the man who came was not a stranger
Of course, the second version takes less of the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but it has the merit of being much clearer. Also when you build an argument or analyze that of others, it may be useful to present it in this form.
Recognize the order of an argument
An argument can be formed according to two structures:
-The usual form: premise therefore conclusion "the dog did not bark, so he knew the visitor"
-Reversed form: Conclusion because premise "the visitor was known to the dog, for he did not bark"
So the conclusion can come first or the premise can come first. In any case, it is a matter of organizing the ideas in such a way that the line of thought takes place naturally, so that each sentence prepares the path to the next. Try not to alternate the two elements at the risk of missing your goal: to make you understand and accept.
As a general rule and in theory, words such as "so", "then" or "therefore" clearly indicate the conclusion, when "because" or "because" indicate a premise (the reason that supports the conclusion). In practice, these words may be only implicit, as the premises are not indicated by a word; As is the case for example in this quotation by Arnaud Montebourg: It's time to type TF1. You have to put their heads under the water.
(because) It is the television of the right, it is television ideas that destroy France, television of individualism, television of the money, television of the "clubbing on security".
Beware of ' because '…
Although this paragraph also has its place in another article on the fallacious arguments, it seemed fitting to give it right now, because it finds its place here also:
In their book Yes! (Read absolutely!!! Order it now!), Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin and Robert B. Cialdini Explain the following experience that I adapted in French. As Mr Montebourg has shown us above, there is no need to use warning devices such as ' because ' or ' so '. On the other hand, some use them for no logical reason, and often for success. What for? The little experiment that we will describe below explains this strange spring of human psychology:
At a university library there is a queue to use the only photocopier, located in a quiet area. A first stranger goes in front of the queue and asks "Excuse me, I have five pages to print, can I use the copier?", 60% of the interviewees left their place to the unknown in the face of this direct demand, probably out of embarrassment to say no.
Later, a second stranger asks the same question by giving a reason to his request, "I can use the copier, because I am in a hurry, I had to make this assignment 5 minutes ago already?!" Almost all of the students interviewed (94%) agreed to leave their place. Effectiveness of a good reason? Well, not just.
In a third and last experiment, a stranger approaches the line and gives a reason untied to logic, "I can use the copier, because I have to make copies?". 93% of respondents acquiesced, although 100% of the people in the queue were queuing for the same reason.
What to learn from this experience? Remember that if a good reason is not available, any reason can sometimes be sufficient when others do not seek to analyze your arguments by critical mind, it is the power of because. "Because" is a signal that says "attention, if I have a reason it is certainly I am right", which can yet be wrong… It is a cognitive bias to remember when you want to persuade, and it is also a danger to keep in mind when you want to persuade you. Note for the future, do the test "Can I kiss you?" Because I have a sore lips. "
Let me take my introductory sentence: ' It seemed more appropriate for me to give it now, because its place is right here '. If the right place is as well here as in the fallacious arguments, why did you choose to put it here? I do not give any relevant reason, but how many of you have found this sufficient? Of course I chipote, but when the interests at stake are great it is out of the question to be fooled by rough arguments.
Practice, in your next interactions, to instantly identify the ' because ' you hear. The two prepositions linked between it with because-what are they coherent and easily understandable? React on Twitter with us @CoachEloquence!