Principles of Good Debating

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Principles of Good Debating

Post by swiftfoxmark2 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:17 pm

Principles of Good Debating

Bryan Caplan wrote:Principle #1: Strive to address people who don't already agree with you. Realistically, you'll at best change the minds of the undecided. But the best way to sway the undecided is to reach out to your most intransigent opponents.

Principle #2: Talk to your opponent like he's your best friend, even if he does the opposite. Not only are ad hominem arguments invalid, but they send the signal that you lack better arguments. You'll also think harder and more creatively about your position once you spurn invective.

Principle #3: Split your time between talking to your audience and talking to your opponent. The optimal balance might not be 50/50 exactly, but you should spend a goodly amount of time both appealing directly to your opponent, and pointing out his blind spots.

Principle #4: If you're uncomfortable publicly defending aspects of your position, reconsider your position. In extremely oppressive societies, keeping your thoughts to yourself is common sense. But in modernity's largely open societies, your discomfort says more about the quality of your beliefs than the unfairness of the world.

Of course, while this targets public debates, it certainly helps with online debating as well.

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Re: Principles of Good Debating

Post by Cacophonous on Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:52 am

That's a good set of principles...thanks for posting. I think I'll post them at another site as well...


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