If an expert says that a proposition is true, this provides a reason for tentatively accepting it, in the absence of stronger reasons to doubt it. But suppose that evidence of financial gain suggests that the expert is biased, for example by evidence showing that he will gain financially from his claim.
Engaging in friendly or formal argument is an ancient art. These days, you can match wits in a regular backyard spar, or as part of an organized debate. Whether you're debating spontaneously or as part of a in a team or going at it solo, it can be helpful to learn some of the popular formal and informal strategies and formats of debate.
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You know, that’s why I purposely kept the content of what the discussion was about off of this thread.
Audience is a very important consideration in argument. Take a look at our handout on audience . A lifetime of dealing with your family members has helped you figure out which arguments work best to persuade each of them. Maybe whining works with one parent, but the other will only accept cold, hard statistics. Your kid brother may listen only to the sound of money in his palm. It’s usually wise to think of your audience in an academic setting as someone who is perfectly smart but who doesn’t necessarily agree with you. You are not just expressing your opinion in an argument (“It’s true because I said so”), and in most cases your audience will know something about the subject at hand—so you will need sturdy proof. At the same time, do not think of your audience as clairvoyant. You have to come out and state both your claim and your evidence clearly. Do not assume that because the instructor knows the material, he or she understands what part of it you are using, what you think about it, and why you have taken the position you’ve chosen.