Tactics

Here is a listing of a few tactics and gambits that can be useful in discussions and arguments. Don't take the example as though it is necessarily the best response in each case -- take the essay as an example of the tactic being demonstrated.

These tactics are suggestions to help both parties effectively engage each other in conversation. One of the most useful tactics is the "Make specific claims, ask for specific claims; use examples..." tactic. It really helps both parties make sure that they are at least addressing what the other person is thinking.

  • The bear-hug embrace.

  • Rather than attack a person’s beliefs directly invite him to understand your criticism of a position not explicitly held by either of you. An extremely forceful argument can often be made without provoking a defensive shield.

  • Agree with your opponent’s statement in such a way that it actually improves your position.

  • Make specific claims and ask for specific claims; use clear examples and ask for clear examples.