Nowadays everyone can enter random discussions with strangers on the internet. Most of the times people discuss in a wrong way. Yes, there are ‚correct‘ ways to discuss, and I am goign to show you which things to consider if you want to become really good at discussing, and at the same time to see through manipulative strategies or arguments.

errors/ mistakes in reasoning

Yes, there’s a right way to argue. And there are many mistakes that you can make. If you know these mistakes you will be able to detect them in the argumentations of other people which automatically puts you in the better position 😉

  • Tautology: this term describes the action of a theory justifiyng itself. For example ‚Every word in the bible is true because it’s gods word, and god exists because the bible says so“. You see? Ignore the content of this statement, just analyse it by how it tries to prove itself.  There’s no real argument behind it, no proof. 
  • wrong conclusion: this mistake is being made a lot. An example: Unemployment will increase, because that’s what our president said yesterday in his speech. No, not the president’s words are proof that unemplyment will increase. Maybe there is scientific proof, but that has to be checked. Another example: Homework is unnecessary because the students don’t do it anyway. No. There’s no logical connection between the students and the necessaty of homework in this case. So basically ‚wrong conclusion‘ means bringing up a statement (Unemployment will increase) and ’supporting‘ this statement with a fact that is actually not connected to the statement (because that’s what our president said). 
  • wrong induction: Induction is the act of taking a single action and generalizing it (I saw ten white swans, therefore every swan is white) which is not in general a wrong procedure, but it can be. For example if you think that just because you experienced something it is a general fact, that could be problematic. One refugee from an arabic state once hit me in the face therefore all the refugess from arabic states are violent. This is just wrong. Using ‚Induction‘ to find out the truth should be left to scientists. 
  • Personalization: No wonder so many people are becomeing poor in our country when there’s YYY in the government. A fact is being put into a position where it seem like a certain person is to blame for it. The problem is in fact much more complex, but it’s quite easy to just blame someone for it. 

Sooo now that you know about these mistakes in arguing, use your knowledge! 

the use of a discussion

Never forget what you are discussing for. You are not discussing to ‚win‘, to beat the other person. You are discussing to find consent,to approach to each other’s opinion and also to learn. You have to stay open-minded. Maybe you’re not as well informed about the topic that you’re discussing about as the other person, so you shouldn’t just stick to your opinion until the end, but try and think about the arguments of the other person, maybe it will seem logical to you. In a discussion you also want to understand why that person has that opinion. Always stay calm and let the other person speak until finished. Try to choose your arguments and in conclusion also your opinion on scientific facts. That’s so important, don’t be biased. 

But don’t be disappointed when people don’t listen to you, there are a lot of people out there who would never change their opinion, even if you would hold the prove that they’re wrong right in front of their eyes. You can try and argue with them, but don’t expect to much. And take them as an example of how you don’t want to be 🙂