Hi everyone, I'm new to the GradCafe and have just started prepping for the GRE and am having an exceptionally hard time coming up to ideas for the issue task. Here is one of the essays I have done recently, please feel free to criticise and give me feedback.
"Claim: The best test of an argument is its ability to convince someone with an opposing viewpoint
Reason: Only by being forced to defend an idea against the doubts and contrasting views of others does on really discover the value of that idea."
Being able to convince someone with an opposing viewpoint would be the best test of an argument in most scenarios, however, this may not always be the case. When rational logical arguments are being made in order to build up one’s case and when both parties in the debate are well informed, this would hold true.
An argument’s ability to convince someone should always be tested on a person with an opposing viewpoint, otherwise it would be a discussion of an argument with people who share the same belief and are more likely to be biased and open to the argument. However, putting forward the argument to someone with an opposing viewpoint, it opens up the ground for debate, doubts and a discussion of different views. The person with the opposing viewpoint would most likely be convinced only if the arguments put forward are cogent, coherent and logical. Often, I have found that talking to some one with an opposing view point results in a realisation about how little we think we know about the topic and hence extensive research can be done to build up a case.
However, this may not be true in all cases. For example, on matters that are about ethical and moral decisions, convincing the opposition is not so black and white. Each person would be reluctant to change his or her views based on the argument despite what is being said. For example, is euthanasia humane? Some would say it is for terminally ill patients while others would say that this is murder. Everyone has valid and completely true arguments for each case, however, convincing or not being able to convince someone of the opposing viewpoint does not mean that the argument is flawed or that is it not a “good enough” argument. It would just imply that there are other things that have lead a person to take such a state point and the logical cogent of the argument is not at fault.
Being forced to defend one’s idea against contrasting and contradicting views may well be a good way to discover the value of the idea however that does not make it the best argument. For example, political party support. Everyone has different core values and different socioeconomical values. I may be a big supporter of one party whose biggest policy concerns itself with education while my friend might be the biggest supporter of another part whose biggest policy is concerned with health. These ideas are not contrasting or opposing but still, we are in support of the opposing party. Any argument I may make for my party would not reduce the validity or value of the opposing party and so in this case, the best case of an argument would not be to convince someone with an opposing viewpoint.
On the whole, the best test of an argument would be to be able to convince someone of the opposition opinion. However, this should be thought of like the gold standard of what a good argument looks like. But the reality is more black and white than that, as this would not necessarily hold true in all situations.
Thank you so much!