Rhetoric

Argumentation, descriptive and prescriptive


Handy terms and concepts in the realm of argumentation and persuasion. 🏗

Mind changing

Miscellaneous remedial argumentation (slightly spammy): Eric Barker’s This Is How To Change Someone’s Mind: 6 Secrets From Research has some explanation crafting with simple prose.

If absolutely nothing else works, they might just be a totally unreachable zealot. Or it could be that…

You’re the zealot. And if you are unwilling to give any serious consideration to this possibility, that’s a big red flag. Nobody thinks they’re the problem – and that’s the problem. After all, you’re the one reading articles about how to change people’s minds, aren’t you? (Yes, I plead guilty to being an accomplice.) It’s just a possibility to consider, but if you’re serious about having fewer arguments to the death, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re really a victim and not Patient Zero. So what do you do if you think you might be Typhoid Mary?

Consider the beliefs you usually argue about. Now ask yourself disconfirmation questions. Write down the answers. Show them to a friend who has a different perspective than you on the topic. Does your pal feel those responses pass the implausibility sniff test?

Derek Black the ex-storm front white supremacist who changed his mind and wrote about it.

Interesting case study, Change My View:

A place to post an opinion you accept may be flawed, in an effort to understand other perspectives on the issue. Enter with a mindset for conversation, not debate.

Dylon Marron’s Conversation with people who hate me

a podcast where he calls up the people behind negative comments on the internet.

No Heart can thinke to what strange ends the Tongues unruely Motion tends (Yes, this is a flying tongue. Why, what did you think?)

Weak man

Picking the weakest of the opposing arguments to refute rather than the strongest. There are handy discussions of that by e.g. Julian Sanchez or by the original taxonomisers, Talisse and Aikin. There are some interesting hypotheses about how this might interact with coalition and identity by Scott Alexander.

Raley, Yvonne, and Robert Talisse. 2008. “Getting Duped.” Scientific American Mind 19 (1): 16–17. https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamericanmind0208-16.

Talisse, Robert, and Scott F. Aikin. 2006. “Two Forms of the Straw Man.” Argumentation 20 (3): 345–52. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-006-9017-8.

Tan, Chenhao, Vlad Niculae, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, and Lillian Lee. 2016. “Winning Arguments: Interaction Dynamics and Persuasion Strategies in Good-Faith Online Discussions.” In Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on World Wide Web, 613–24. WWW ’16. Republic and Canton of Geneva, Switzerland: International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee. https://doi.org/10.1145/2872427.2883081.

Trouche, Emmanuel, Emmanuel Sander, and Hugo Mercier. 2014. “Arguments, More Than Confidence, Explain the Good Performance of Reasoning Groups.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 2431710. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2431710.

Vecchi, Gregory M., Vincent B. Van Hasseltb, and Stephen J. Romano. 2005. “Crisis (Hostage) Negotiation: Current Strategies and Issues in High-Risk Conflict Resolution.” Aggression and Violent Behavior 10 (5): 533–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2004.10.001.