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TowardLiberty
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The Steel Man
Feb 13th, 2018 at 9:06pm
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A straw man argument involves weakening your opponents point in such a manner as to make it easier to defeat. We have all experienced this at one time or another.

The steel man argument is the exact opposite of the straw man argument. It involves improving your opponents point in such a way as to make it harder to defeat (and then defeating it).

This may seem counter intuitive because it adds to the challenge we face in debate. But the point is to learn from these exchanges and we are not going to do that if we engage in "straw man fallacy" forms of debate. For few will spend time pondering something that is obviously wrong.

And the more we lump people we disagree with into the category of "obviously wrong" the more we cut ourselves off from understanding the world in new ways.

Ultimately, you gain by improving your opponent's arguments. For how well do you truly understand something if you can only defend the idea against the lamest of attacks?

When we truly have faith in something and in our selves we will want to defend our ideas against the strongest attacks, not the weakest.
« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2018 at 10:58pm by TowardLiberty »  

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Re: The Steel Man
Reply #1 - Feb 13th, 2018 at 9:47pm
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You always have such interesting perspectives, TL. I've never heard anyone talk about strengthening a debate opponent's argument before.

Just speaking for myself, though, I have no interest or desire to "defeat" anyone when it comes to political discussion.
  

Mar 13th, 2018 at 11:23am: "I think a #16 seed will upset a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament."

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Luther
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Re: The Steel Man
Reply #2 - Feb 14th, 2018 at 5:06am
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All throughout our American history, world history, "ordinary people can do extraordinary things"


un·known quan·ti·ty
noun
a person or thing whose nature, value, or significance cannot be determined or is not yet known.
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TowardLiberty
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Re: The Steel Man
Reply #3 - Feb 14th, 2018 at 1:53pm
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Jasmine wrote on Feb 13th, 2018 at 9:47pm:
You always have such interesting perspectives, TL. I've never heard anyone talk about strengthening a debate opponent's argument before.


Thanks Jaz. This idea is new to me as well so I thought I would share it.

Quote:
Just speaking for myself, though, I have no interest or desire to "defeat" anyone when it comes to political discussion.

Not even a little bit?

Don't you want to be able to give valid and logical reasons why your view is the correct one?
  

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Jasmine
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Re: The Steel Man
Reply #4 - Feb 14th, 2018 at 3:48pm
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TowardLiberty wrote on Feb 14th, 2018 at 1:53pm:
Not even a little bit?

Don't you want to be able to give valid and logical reasons why your view is the correct one?

Not really. I like to share my opinions and (of course) explain my reasons for them. If I get caught up in a "debate," that's fine, but I don't really care about winning it. I figure that my opinions are just that: opinions. I would be horrible if I were on a debate team.
  

Mar 13th, 2018 at 11:23am: "I think a #16 seed will upset a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament."

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Re: The Steel Man
Reply #5 - Feb 14th, 2018 at 4:04pm
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TowardLiberty wrote on Feb 13th, 2018 at 9:06pm:
A straw man argument involves weakening your opponents point in such a manner as to make it easier to defeat. We have all experienced this at one time or another.

The steel man argument is the exact opposite of the straw man argument. It involves improving your opponents point in such a way as to make it harder to defeat (and then defeating it).

This may seem counter intuitive because it adds to the challenge we face in debate. But the point is to learn from these exchanges and we are not going to do that if we engage in "straw man fallacy" forms of debate. For few will spend time pondering something that is obviously wrong.

And the more we lump people we disagree with into the category of "obviously wrong" the more we cut ourselves off from understanding the world in new ways.

Ultimately, you gain by improving your opponent's arguments. For how well do you truly understand something if you can only defend the idea against the lamest of attacks?

When we truly have faith in something and in our selves we will want to defend our ideas against the strongest attacks, not the weakest.

So what you're saying is that women are less capable than men?
  

If the electorate is corrupted dangerously by facebook accounts and fake news then democracy is an unfit form of government in this new, modern world.
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BowHunter
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Re: The Steel Man
Reply #6 - Feb 14th, 2018 at 4:10pm
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TowardLiberty wrote on Feb 13th, 2018 at 9:06pm:
A straw man argument involves weakening your opponents point in such a manner as to make it easier to defeat. We have all experienced this at one time or another.

The steel man argument is the exact opposite of the straw man argument. It involves improving your opponents point in such a way as to make it harder to defeat (and then defeating it).

This may seem counter intuitive because it adds to the challenge we face in debate. But the point is to learn from these exchanges and we are not going to do that if we engage in "straw man fallacy" forms of debate. For few will spend time pondering something that is obviously wrong.

And the more we lump people we disagree with into the category of "obviously wrong" the more we cut ourselves off from understanding the world in new ways.

Ultimately, you gain by improving your opponent's arguments. For how well do you truly understand something if you can only defend the idea against the lamest of attacks?

When we truly have faith in something and in our selves we will want to defend our ideas against the strongest attacks, not the weakest.


Actually, there's a well-known method when you have to write either an opening statement or a closing argument in a trial to first write it as if you were the opposite counsel. In fact, a little back and forth is even better as you get new ideas each time you switch sides.
  

When Q hears gallop noises he doesn't think zebras; he thinks there's a Democrat behind a curtain, making gallop noises.
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