Arguments have the potential to allow you to connect and understand with someone else on a deep level, to introspect and figure out what you truly believe and care about, and to find out what is true so you can accomplish your goals!
Most people use it to dominate or talk past each other.
But there are ways to consistently argue well. Luckily, most of the hard work has already been done over the years on Less Wrong, SlateStarCodex, and Street Epistemology videos. My contribution is providing short summaries of these techniques, exercise prompts (some borrowed from the above sources) and solutions, generalizations, ideal algorithms, and relationships between the different techniques. They are as follows:
- Proving Too Much (w/ exercises)
- Category Qualifications (w/ exercises)
- False Dilemmas (w/ exercises)
- Finding cruxes (w/ exercises)
Although these exercises are not as useful as real-life conversations, they are enough to impart a gears-level model of these techniques, so when you find yourself in a confused conversation, you’ll know where to put all the pieces and how to have a productive discussion.
Note: This sequence is motivated by the rationality exercise contest.