“Thank You For Arguing” is a book by Jay Heinrichs about the art of rhetoric and how we apply it to important debates and everyday conversations. People may not realize it but there is a difference between fighting and arguing. Fighting is used to win or gain something forcefully while arguing is what we do when trying to convince someone to see out opinion and agree with it.
In the first part of Jay Heinrich’s work Intro/Offense, he teaches Aristotle’s theory of the past, present, and future. When using the past in an argument it usually comes out as blaming someone of something, making it an accusation. The present is concerned with values; what someone finds morally just. Finally, the future opens the discussion into limitless choices. It is seen as the best tense to use while in debate because it’s something both opponent or audience can agree and reflect on.
Aristotle also thought that pathos, ethos, and logos were just as important, possibly even more so. These three points are ones that we use everyday, be it subconsciously or on purpose. Rhetorical debates use all three terms all the time. They are important to learn as they are fundamental in the ways that we write, speak, and think.
These contribute to the way we use our emotions, values, and knowledge in the way we articulate ourselves in using complex debate strategies during our arguments. One of these is the use of sympathy.
Sympathy relates more to the way that we practice pathos; using emotions to persuade others in seeing our viewpoint. Utilizing sympathy in our arguments can subconsciously make the audience reason with and for you by making it seem that you are somewhat weaker than your opponent. This can somewhat relate to deductive logic, where if someone believes in something you can convince them to act upon those personal truths. Enthymeme can be used to persuade the audience or opponent to agree on making a decision through deductive reasoning.
Inductive logic is different than deduction in the way that instead of using a relating idea, you use a relating example.
Another relative term to both deduction and induction is consensus. Consensus in an argument can greatly change you opponents perception of where your opinion on the matter truly lies. By agreeing to another person’s idea, you can sometimes use that to win your debate. Decorum can be used in these types discussions as well. In meeting up to your audiences standards and expectations, we can influence them into relating to what you are saying.
Bluenoses is when someone takes something to the extremes. When someone’s opinion is being voiced, anyone listening can take what they’re saying and in their mind, and turn it into something completely different. In having this mindset it can make someone see something that used to be viewed as good into something bad. Being dialectic can prevent this. Dialectical reasoning seeks to find the truth instead of wishing to please someone’s pathos.
Each of these terms contribute towards using the appropriate offense in an argument to win a debate. Arguments have many complex sides and logics that can be used but only some will work if used correctly. Some such as bluenoses can make it difficult to relate to the masses and win their trust with decorum. It is important to include different aspects at any given opportunity since a person’s argument is constantly evolving.
The second part of Jay Heinrichs book is Defense. He notes that false analogy can either be critically damaging to your opponents or the argument you are trying to articulate. This is when you use a metaphor but it doesn’t have any real base for factual relations. Hasty generalization follows false analogy in the way where somebody can think that it’s true, only because they come to a conclusion prematurely. Is someone were to have this in their argument, they could also use a red herring to deter from the audience from important facts that they may be missing.
Phronesis is when you use practical wisdom in your debates. Using the facts to make your point more valid. We can use this to enhance our liability; the audience begins to see you as more logical and reliable. Fallacy, you could say is the opposite of phronesis.
This is when someone states something that can seem correct, but is actually not. Or is could just be plain wrong. Either way, it’s something that’s illogical and can be used against your opponent in an argument. Maybe someone is stating their point but you are able to find a lapse in their factual evidence. Now, anyone who is against this opponent is able to use that error against them. They can now bring the argument towards their own side; by making the argument seem correct based on their perceived reliability. This is called truthiness.
Truthiness makes an audience believe you based on their own personal intuition. This can help greatly to persuade them over to your opinion, even if just in a normal conversation. Now, false choice can be introduced. This gives the audience a limited amount of choices. It shortens their options so that they feel the only options are the one laid out for them. False choice can be used to our advantage or it can become our downfall. If the audience figures out that there is a better alternative, they no longer will agree with us. Sometimes, an innuendo is able to mask the real intention. A bit like a red herring but instead it’s more for the purpose of making it seem to appeal to their morals, even if it doesn’t.
An innuendo can save us in our persuasions when things seem to be out of hand. By implying something that’s not strictly stated can make others start to see things the way they want to see things. Using an innuendo and a false choice together can send the audience’s trust for an opponent down. If you are able to provide a better option than your opponent when they may have only offered two will gain more attention. This doesn’t always have to be a concrete formulated choice since it will still be seen as a better option than the other; that’s why it’s an innuendo.
If none of these options work, reductio ad absurdum is another form of debate that reduces the others opinion or idea into something that isn’t as logical as it actually is. This makes the person seem unreliable and their point less trustworthy, making the audience more prone to siding with you.
The third section of the book is Advanced Offense. In this area of the book, he talks about how we are able to make our argument better with more advanced strategies that people don’t often think of, or don’t use correctly. Idioms are when we use a more common saying but if we were to use it literally, it wouldn’t make any sense. Using this can help make our speech more agreeable but if we were to use it out of context, people would possibly take it the wrong way. This can sometimes be seen in the same category as how we use synecdoche.
Synecdoche is when we use a type of phrase, expression, or word to represent a group as a whole. It’s sort of like referring to a specific political party. We don’t literally mean a party, that’s just what the group is referenced as. It’s important to know these key sayings because then we are able to become more informed as to what is going on in our local community. If were not as educated on this, we could accidentally use it in the wrong sense of the word and that would make our conversations less reliable.
Sometimes, this is when irony can save us. We may have meant something different that had an underlying meaning that most people are able to catch up on. Irony is mostly how we are able to switch what the actual, literal definition of what we were saying for something that seems like it relates, but actually doesn’t. It’s one of the more common types of rhetorical devices that we use almost everyday. Using this strategy can help us when we may have possibly used an expression the incorrect way.
Metaphor is also another common practice that we use day to day, even if we don’t realize it’s importance. This can help our audience understand what we are saying, which in turn leads to the use of kairos in our best arguments. Kairos is an ancient greek word meaning the opportune moment of when we are able to deliver something crucial for the most effective speeches.
Although kairos is in almost all of our most important debates, dialogue is probably more important; more fundamental. Dialogue concludes how strong our persuasiveness and agreeability is. If our dialogue isn’t as put together as our opponents or audience, it can make us seem uneducated which in turn makes us look unreliable. There are ways to prevent this.
Antithesis, chiasmus, hyperbole, and reverse words make our dialogue more founded and structural. We can use reverse words when we want to avoid seeming like the opponent. We try to limit as much speech patterns that they may use so that we don’t seem to relate to them. This helps our audience see who they would rather side with more clearly. This can come in the form of using an antithesis. This means that we are contradicting what our opponent may be referring to in their speech.
Hyperbole is when we amplify our antithesis by making their point seem more exaggerated. By dramatizing these differences, we are somewhat focusing more on chiasmus. Chiasmus is when we turn our opponents argument upside down into something that isn’t totally relatable to what they are actually saying. This can help us or it can make things worse.
If the audience were to see how we as the speaker are actually false, it could make them see the speaker as less honest. All of this takes practice and mastering the terms of this section of the book can help us greatly, but it isn’t truly complete without Jay Heinrich’s final segment, Advanced Agreement.
He presents the basics of a great debate, the introduction.The introduction sets the stage for what we want to talk about and how people will perceive it. This is one of the most important parts of our speech in the way where we make out first impression. This decides if the people who are listening will take us seriously.
Having good narration and channeling leadership like qualities can also aide us in these first important ideas that we are declaring to our audience. Being able to channel a confident persona will make us seem more sure in our conclusions and ideas but being able to narrate clearly is very consequential as well.
Enargeia and the ability to make things more vivid can help us tell our story in a more bright and descriptive way. It’s the ability to draw out our statements in a clear, understandable way. Our audience will then be able to visualize what we are talking about and give them a sense of how we see things and why. This will make them more prone to agreeing with your proclamations.
Along the line of an argument, we will run into division. Division is when we mentally point out where ideas differentiate. It’s important to know when this happens because if we were not to realize it, we wouldn’t be able to refute what they might and will say. Refutation, is when we are able to successfully oppose what the opposite party is saying and it affects our discussion in a positive way. Although this may seem like it will make us win all of our arguments, we first need proof. We cannot properly disagree with something and win without it. If there were no proof, our audience or opponent would see us as uneducated in what we are trying to state and take is less seriously.
Now, we can move on to our conclusion. Our conclusion, is the final statements or our speech or debate. This is when we are able to instill our old opinions and summarize our entire argument. The conclusion, can have any effect that we want it to, if we try hard enough. Let’s say that you just delivered an awesome idea that had a well thought and put together foundation. Using the correct conclusion can solidify our audience’s agreement to what we just said. If we were to act out our conclusion in a poor manner, it could upset our listeners into choosing not to find what you may have discussed important.
Maybe, your entire speech was absolutely horrible. That debate had no agreeability and no logic. This is when reluctant conclusion can be best used. Appearing to agree to something that you do not want to when the audience already disagrees with you, will make them feel more satisfied that you were unable to get your way. You can begin a reluctant conclusion by seeming like the point you actually want, is something that you do not align yourself with. Once again using division and refutation will make this look more convincing. If you use this strategy appropriately, you will still gain what you wanted out of the argument.
Jay Heinrichs teaches us how to use different debate skills correctly and to its fullest potential. He tells his own experiences; how he both succeeded and failed. He shows us that each and every one of these terms is equally important to one another. Some of them are less common and some of them are over used. Either way, all of them are just as valuable if used correctly. This is the art of rhetoric.