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29 Ways to Lose (and Win) Any Argument

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29 WAYS TO LOSE (AND WIN) ANY ARGUMENT BY UNDERSTANDING HOW LOGICAL FALLACIES WORK WWW.ABHIS HEKPALIWAL.CO M | DESIGN BY: WWW.CO NCEPRO.COM


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Abhishek Paliwal is an author and an entrepreneur, currently living in Helsinki, Finland. He’s also an acclaimed designer. You can find more information about Abhishek at www.AbhishekPaliwal.com. Abhishek helps high achievers acquire the sales and marketing leadership skills necessary to win at Business. He also provides mentorship to individuals to succeed in life, and reach their true potential. He's also the Co-founder and Director of CONCEPRO A Digital Marketing & Sales Agency based in Helsinki, Finland, where he coaches, defines profitable strategies, and consults businesses full-time.


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INTRODUCTION We all know how frustrating it is to lose an argument — especially when you believe strongly in the value of your idea. If you're going to get better at convincing others, you need to figure out why you lose arguments in the first place, and then avoid those mistakes in the future, and even win those arguments based upon your knowledge about how Logical Fallacies work. Most of the time, you can find a specific diagnosis for your lost arguments. Did you lose the argument because you relied on anecdotes to support your claim? Did you see the dispute in black and white instead of considering multiple possible conclusions? Did you mix up correlation and causation and end up digging yourself into a hole? To help you identify what mistakes you might be making, read this ebook carefully. It lists 29 of the most common ways people lose arguments (+ one bonus), and includes examples. Next time you're writing a persuasive email or trying to support your claim to your peers, you'll be able to reflect back on this guide.


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REIFICATION DEFI NITION: REIF ICATION Treat in g ab s tract or hypothetical things or ideas as concrete realities; p ersonifyin g abs tractions. 1 EXAMPLE: If you'll only o pen your hear t, lo ve will find you. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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APPEAL TO IGNOR A NCE 2 AP PEAL TO IGNOR AN CE DEFI NITION: Usi ng h uman i gnorance or so me one's inability to prove s omethi ng in order to make a claim. EXAMPLE: Nobod y' s ever b een able to pro ve t hat ghosts exist, so i t's obvio us that they don't. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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AR GUM EN TUM AD BACULUM ARGUME NTUM AD BACUL UM DEFI NITION: 3 Mak in g an arg um ent by inciti ng f ear or making threats. EXAMPLE: If you don't star t getting onbo ard the No Child Left Behi nd polici es , you'll lose yo ur jo b. It' s clearly the best av enue fo r ed ucation in you r c lassroom. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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RED HERRIN G DEFI NITION: Diver ti ng attentio n by changing t he subject. RED HE RRING EXAMPLE: 4 Inter v iewer: Have you been overcharging customers wi thout t hem knowi ng? Busin ess Owner: We take ou r b us iness s eriously and w e do ever ything we can to build a quality product. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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SMALL NUMB ER S STATISTICS SM ALL N UMBERS STATISTI CS DEFI NITION: 5 Usi ng an instance of a small frac tion o f the pop ul ati on to m ake an argument fo r the greater pop ul ati on. (Si milar to Anecdote.) EXAMPLE: The t wo s tud ents that were assaulte d on campus prove t here is a s car y trend in th e co lle ge violence that w e need to b e aware of. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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CIRCULAR REASONI NG CIR CULA R REASON IN G 6 DEFI NITION: Usi ng e v idence that hasn't be en pro ve n in order to prove s omethi ng el se, then u sing that so mething el se to p rove the or iginal claim; us ing A to prove B, the n using B to pro ve A. EXAMPLE: You can't give me a C on this pape r! I am an A student! And A stud ents don' t ge t C's. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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CH ER RY-PICK DEFI NITION: CHE RRY-PICK Che rr y-picking a p ar ticular dataset o r collection of facts w hile ig noring others in order to make an argu me nt that s uits a par ticular p urpo se . 7 EXAMPLE: The ' FastFo od T i mes' just repo r ted som e pretty convi ncing evid ence that 78% o f peop le who eat fast food regular ly, aren't obese. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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BA NDWAGO N DEFI NITION: BAN DWAGON Cl aimi ng som ething to be true o r ac cu rately simple bec ause most p eopl e believe it to be true or accu rate. (Si milar to Appeal to Tradition ) 8 EXAMPLE: 93% of the stud ents sur veyed s aid th ey believe the tui tion sp ike was to pay for th e co lle ge p resident's salar y. How coul d it not be true ? WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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OMN ISCIENCE OM NISCIENCE DEFI NITION: 9 Usi ng n on- quali fied statements to su ggest ideas that im pl y 'all ' or 'ever y' thing or situatio n; statements that would require the arguer to be omn iscient in o rder to make such a claim. EXAMPLE: Ever ybody kno ws that women pref er me n with heav y s tub ble and m en prefer wom en with blonde hai r. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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AN EC DOT E DEFI NITION: ANECDO TE Usi ng a pers onal or isolated experience as compe ll i ng and wor thwhile evid en ce , s ug gesting that a p ersonal or unique expe rie nc e can be appli ed to o ther circumstances. 10 EXAMPLE: Che v y tr uck s are the biggest was te of money! I owned one fo r four years and h ad to replace my transmi ss ion twice. Don't buy th at garbage. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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BEGGING THE QU E ST I ON 11 BEGGING T HE QUEST ION DEFI NITION: Mak in g a cl aim that uses a tacit or implied assumpt ion; rais e a question by ass um ing an answer or s hared belief. EXAMPLE: Our countr y's mo ral situation w ill only g et worse if we continue to allow rated-R mov ies in p ublic the atres. (This statement raises t he question: but do rated-R mo vies actually decrease mo rality?) WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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LOADED QUEST ION LOADED QUESTION DEFI NITION: 12 Ask in g a q ues ti on that, if answered, will imply a shared agreement; f orcing a perso n to agree to an assumpt ion by them answering a q ue st ion. EXAMPLE: Whe n are yo u guys going to sto p yo ur wholly une thic al practice of making p eo ple feel like their house i s going to f lood, then o vercharg e them to have their pl um bing fixed? WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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AR GUM EN TUM AD PO PULUM ARGUME NTUM AD PO PULUM DEFI NITION: 13 Attempt ing to s way popular supp or t b y appealing to senti mental weak nes s rather th an wit h facts or reason . EXAMPLE: Movi ng the countr y to the Affo rd able Care Act is the onl y thing that makes sen se . J us t think how many struggling single mothers and sick children are out t here without insurance b ec aus e they can't afford it. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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EXCLUDED MIDDLE EXCLUDED MIDDL E DEFI NITION: 14 Consi de ring onl y the extremes in any argument and ignor ing the po ssi bilities that exist in be tween; false dich otomy. (Sim il ar to Black or Wh ite.) EXAMPLE: If we don't imm ed iately put a sto p to the selling of guns to the p ub li c, violence is g o ing to fly through the roof and anyone who doesn't hav e a gun is goi ng to g et shot. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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AD HO MINEM AD HOM INEM DEFI NITION: 15 Attac kin g a per son or their character rather than mak ing a clai m b ased on reas onin g. Ad hominem argu me nts include name-callin g, lab eling , and bein g off ensi ve and showing litt le intelligent thought. EXAMPLE: Vegetari ans don't ha ve a clue abo ut culinar y sop histi cation. When it comes to foo d, you just can' t tr ust a tree- hugger. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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PR OVIN G NON -EXISTENCE PR OV IN G NONEX IS TENCE DEFI NITION: 16 Instead of provi ng s omething to exist o r to be true, an arguer asks his opponent to prove th at it doesn't exist; proving to to b e real b y s ug g es tin g the opp osite can't b e proven. EXAMPLE: I k now you think I'm crazy bec aus e I be lieve aliens have vi sited the ear th in the past c en tu r y, but you go ahead and p rove that they haven't! WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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AP PEAL TO CONSEQUEN CES APPEAL TO CO NSEQUENCES DEFI NITION: 17 Concl uding that a p remise is either tru e or false based on what the conseque nc e of that premise would be. EXAMPLE: If we made a l aw that children w eren 't allowed to watc h TV, they won't be expo se d to all that garbage on TV. Rem oving TV from the lives of c hildren the refore is the best way to keep kids innocent and wel l -behaving. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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COM POSITION CO MPOS ITION DEFI NITION: 18 Mak in g erroneous conclusions ab out th e composi tio n of a whole or par t o f so mething; mak ing i ncorrect as sumptions abou t ho w a whole or par t of something relates to a wh ole or par t of som ethi ng else. EXAMPLE: Ever y si ngle p layer on the Basketball team has superi or talent. Therefore, they m us t be the best basketball team in the league . WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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NO N SEQ UIT UR NO N S EQUITUR DEFI NITION: 19 Lati n for, 'it d oes not follow'. Making a conclusion that doe s not follow from prev io us ly es tablished premis e or conclus ions. (Similar to Po st Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc. ) EXAMPLE: The l ast ti me we had a lunar ec lip se , t here was an ear t hquake in Mexi co. It's pre tt y ob viou s that Mexi cans need to star t panicking f or this Friday's lu nar eclip s e. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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MISUND ERSTANDI NG STATISTI CS MISUN DERSTANDING STATISTICS 20 DEFI NITION: Mak in g strang e or er roneous claims about a par ti cular id ea by using statistics that have little or no abil i ty to make s uch a claim; misusin g or misin ter preting a statistic or set of s tat istics to make a cl aim . EXAMPLE: 84% of peop le who die in this cou nt r y die in a hospi tal room . If we'd just learn to stay o ut of hospi tals , we'd live longer. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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STRAW M AN STR AW M AN DEFI NITION: 21 Concoc ting a fals e or made up s ce nario and then attac kin g that s cenario in order to make an opp onent lo ok b ad ; person A has pos ition X, then person B uses pos ition Y (distor t io n of X) to attack person A. EXAMPLE: Donal d: NASA is s p ending too m uc h money on space explorati on. Tr ump: What are you, anti-American? Space is the future of hum an exploration. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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BLACK O R WHITE BLACK OR WHITE DEFI NITION: 22 Sugge sting onl y 2 alternate c onclus io ns exist, when in reali ty several p ossibilities exist. (Similar to Excl uded Midd le.) EXAMPLE: The US need s to ei ther triple its p ro duction of oil to reduce cos ts or require automob ile manufacturers to make cars that get 7 5 m i l e s to th e g allo n. The re's no other way the econom y can sur vive with such high g as p ri ces . WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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HA LF T RUTH DEFI NITION: HA LF TRUTH Inten ti onally m isl eading a perso n to believe som ethi ng by telling somethin g th at is, in fact, true, but le avi ng out imp or tant inform ation . 23 EXAMPLE: Thi s v an gets 28 mi les to the g allon , h as all-wheel dri ve, power- ever ything, and built in D VD-player. You can't go wrong! ( Ignoring the fact t hat the van has a faul ty transm ission and three saf ety recalls.) WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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AR GUM EN TUM AD IGNOR A NTISM ARGUME NTUM AD IGN ORA NTISM DEFI NITION: 24 Rel yi ng a per son's or group of p eo ple' s ignorance to make a claim; m is l ead i ng a p erso n or g ro up by appeal ing to their lack of kno wledge in a par ticular topic. EXAMPLE: Tr ust m e, i f you d on't get this electrical panel replace d, i t coul d could s et you r h ouse on fire. See the c or ros io n here? It's been know n to ignite sparks and b ur n through to the insulation. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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SLIPPERY SLOP E SLIPP ERY SLOPE DEFI NITION: 25 Arguin g that a change in proce du re , law, or action wi ll create a dom ino-effect of ad ve rse consequences; s ug gesting th at if on e thing happens, a seri es o f things will in ev itably happen. EXAMPLE: If fast f ood restaurants continu e to inc rease por tion sizes, t he next thing we'll kno w, M cD o nald's will be ser vi ng gallon- sized Cokes and b urgers as wide as large p izzas! WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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PO ST HOC, ER GO PR OP TER HOC PO ST H OC, ERGO PR OPTER HOC DEFI NITION: 26 Lati n for 'it happ ened after, so it w as caused by'. Sugge sting that, b ecause somethin g previously happened that is related to an ev en t, th e previous happeni ng caused the new event. (Sim ilar to Non Sequi tu r b ut d eals with somethin g in time.) EXAMPLE: The fi nanci al meltdown happened afte r republicans took office s o we can b l am e the rep ublic ans fo r the cr isi s we are i n. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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TU QUOQUE DEFI NITION: TU QUOQ UE Av oi di ng engagem ent with an other' s arg ument by argu in g som ething unrelated in return ; answering cr iti ci sm with criticism. 27 EXAMPLE: Beyonce: Vegetarianism is the b es t approach to reduci ng ani mal cruelty in this cou nt r y. Bie be r: Wel l, I just watched you eat a pepperoni pizza las t week , so anything y ou s ay about vegetar i anis m b ei ng wor thwh ile might as well be thrown out the wi nd ow. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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APPEAL TO TRADIT I ON AP PEAL TO T RA DIT ION 28 DEFI NITION: Usi ng t rad ition o r cultural belie f to sugg est that som ethi ng is true o r accurate, su gge st ing that, bec ause something has long be en don e in a cer tain way, i t must b e the correct way. (Similar to Bandwagon) EXAMPLE: We'v e been giving grad es i n scho ol f or o ver a cen tur y. Moving away from the g rading m odel seems rid iculous ! It's been the righ t way for over a hun dred year s; meaning it mu st be right. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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CO NFU SIO N O F CO RR ELATION A ND CA US AT ION CO NFUSION OF CO RRELATION AN D CAUSATION DEFI NITION: 29 Mak in g claims abo ut the caus e of som ething simply bec ause there exis ts a correlatio n be tw een two thi ngs (i. e., argui ng that a statistical co rrelation betwe en chi ld ren who play vio le nt vide o games and vi ol ent behaviour means that vio le nt video games cause violent b ehaviour). EXAMPLE: It's be en s hown over and over that kid s who play vi ol ent vi deo gam es tend to be mo re ag gressive. The refore, violent video games c aus e kids to be aggre ss ive. WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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BON US : CONFIRMAT I ON BIA S … BON US: CONFIR MATION BIA S DEFI NITION: Mak in g an arg um ent that relies he avily on a personal b as is ; inadver tently ign oring cer tain facts bec ause of p revi ously held beliefs. (Similar to Che rr y-picking. ) EXAMPLE: After all I've b een reading abo ut how rich people don 't giv e much to charities, it' s pretty much all ri ch peopl e are s el fish and money- hu ng r y. I know I've n ever m et a g enerous rich man ( ig no ring all the accounts of r ich p eople who give g en erously). WWW.ABH ISH EKPALIWAL.COM | DES IGN BY: WWW.CONCEPRO.C OM


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THIS PRESENTATION IS DESIGNED BY CONCEPRO A DIGITAL MARKETING & SALES AGENCY www.concepro.com


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