First posted in February 2008.
It doesn't matter what point you want to argue, the winning stratagems are here. How many of these techniques have you observed/used? I'd bet at least half.
Since philosophy is serious business, take a couple minutes to get in the proper frame of mind with this video:
On to Forensics:
This was recollected while watching Monty Python's "Philosophers World Cup" (always good for a yuk). I had made mention, en passant, of Schopenhauer's little gem "Die Kunst, Recht zu behalten" in another post, I've Looked at Climate From Both Sides Now, but it really is stand-alone post-worthy.
So gather round kids as Uncle Arthur tells you how to fight back against any rhetorical bully.
Here's the table of contents, I'll put the link to the side-by-side Deutsch/English translation at the bottom of the post.
The Basis Of All Dialectic
Generalize your Opponent's Specific Statements
Conceal Your Game
Postulate What Has To Be Proved
Yield Admissions Through Questions
Make Your Opponent Angry
Questions in Detouring Order
Take Advantage of The Nay-Sayer
Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases
Choose Metaphors Favourable to Your Proposition
Agree to Reject the Counter-Proposition
Claim Victory Despite Defeat
Use Seemingly Absurd Propositions
Arguments Ad Hominem
Defense Through Subtle Distinction
Interrupt, Break, Divert the Dispute
Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it
Draw Conclusions Yourself
Meet him With a Counter-Argument as Bad as His
Make Him Exaggerate his Statement
State a False Syllogism
Find One Instance to The Contrary
Turn The Tables
Anger Indicates a Weak Point
Persuade the Audience, Not The Opponent
Appeal to Authority Rather Than Reason
This is Beyond Me
Put His Thesis Into Some Odious Category
It Applies in Theory, But Not in Practice
Don't Let Him Off The Hook
Will is More Effective Than Insight
Bewilder Your opponent by Mere Bombast
A Faulty Proof Refutes His Whole Position
Become Personal, Insulting, Rude (the Ultimate Stratagem)
And that, children, is why we study philosophy.
(and watch Monty Python)
Thanks to coolhaus.de for keeping the Art of Controversy on the web.