In the previous lesson we learned how to construct arguments, and in particular, we learned that a good argument should include four parts:
- A claim – the proposition which the argument is trying to prove
- Logic – The theoretical reasons that back the main claim
- Evidents – Facts that support the claim and the logic, and connect them to actual reality
- Leverage – An optional part, that show how the proven argument furthers the case of the speech
In this lesson we shall learn how to refute and dis-prove an argument, and we will learn that we can refute each of the four parts of the arguments.
This method counters the argument without disproving it. It is a ‘yes, but’ argument saying, in effect, ‘what you say may be true, BUT i have a stronger argument against it’. Therefore, this rebuttal is not actually negative content that shows your oponent to be mitaken, but rather a positive content arguing yourcase.
For example, we can say “it might be true that watching violent movies promotes violence, but violent films are still free speech protected under the law”. In this case the counter argument does not clash with the original, it merely shows an opposing claim.
Refuting logic is quite often the hardest form of rebuttal, because it often involves abstract reasoning, and requires analytical skill that is difficult tom master on-stage. There are two main ways of challenging the logic of an oponent- the harder way is to find holes in their logic such as an internal contradiction or a logical fallacy (for example “It is a mistake that watching violent films make you violent, rather, people who are violent enjoy watching violent films”).
An easier way of rebutting the logic of an oponent is offering an alternative explanation to his logic and fats (for example “if watching violence on television was indeed promoting violence, we should have seen more of it in people watching the news”).
Finding fault in the facts is easier than finding faults in logic, and factual rebuttal is therefore easier and more natural to most people. It can be done in two ways – countering the facts with opposing facts, or questioning the source of the facts.
- Introducing opposing facts – this is the simplest and most straighforward way of contradicting an oponent. You simply bring your own facts that show that their facts are wrong or misleading. The advantage of this method is that it is simple to do, but the downside is that you actaully have to have opposing facts.
For Example – “during the 1990’s America has seen a steady decline in street violence even as the television broadcasted increasing amounts of violence”
- Questioning the source of the facts – this method is very useful as it does not require any knowledge from your part. The idea is that whatever facts your oponent brings must have a source, and that source is always fallible – it is either outdated, biased, its methodology or sample is wrong. or it may have been misquoted.
Rebutting the leverage
This rebuttal is not on the argument itself, but on whatever conclusions are drawn from it. The essence of this rebuttal is ‘you exaggarage’. It is not an attack on your openent’s argument itself, but on the conclusions your oponent. Doing that, your oponent may base an unrealistic plan on an otherwise sound logic.
for example “even if we agreed that there’s damage in violent films, it is outrageous to propose creating a censorship board. what are we, china?”
- changing the subject (spin)
You can sometimes circumvent a powerful argument by changing the subject, especially if you steer the discussion towards a more emotional issue. for example “it is a futile waste of time to discuss TV violence when our children commit real violence against arab children”
- Personal attaces (‘Ad Hominem’)
Instead of attacking the arguments, it is possible to attack the person making them. For Example “How can you, Guy Yariv, purport to oppose violence when your website publishes an article supporting corporal punishment in schools?’
- Physical Interruption
It is always effective to prevent a good argument being made by disrupting the speaker with loud noises or constant questions and interruptions
הירשם לקורס דיבור מול קהל (עברית או אנגלית)