dicapino Posted July 7, 2014 Share Posted July 7, 2014 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 one really discover the value of that idea. In many aspect of society individuals have contrasting views on a variety of issues, and in some cases both side don’t seem to agree. This intransigency from both sides is not because of the implausibility of arguments, but due to entrenched beliefs against the correct point of view. I believe the best test of an argument depends on the veracity of the claim and not necessarily on its ability to convince people who oppose it. Firstly, most of the time an opposing side don’t want to compromise or give ground to credible argument; that an argument can’t convince its detractors does not mean it is not a water-tight one. Certain individuals may not agree to a contradictory view-point due to their personal bias or what they stand to lose if they agree. For example, the face off between members of congress- specifically the republicans- and the white house depicts how these senators stymie many noble policies of the president- just because they feel that such policies are against the doctrines of their party; Obamacare would make many poor americans have access to health care insurance at cheaper rate and republicans feel it is bad for insurance companies. Clearly the best test of Obama’s argument is simply dependent on its veracity. Obama is not the only American President whose arguments have been opposed; Abram Lincoln also encountered this problem. As a proponent of the abolition of slave trade in the US, he used all methods to convince the citizens- mainly in the south- that men were made equal and that the founding fathers had created the laws to ensure of this. But his obdurate opponents who were more concerned with the gains they made from their vast plantations were inimical to these views. It led to a war and the right side won. This argument didn’t convince it detractors, but still it was the morally correct point of view, and that is its best test. While there are situations where defending your point of views may make opponents amenable- for example, scientific theories are governed by this principle- it is difficult to change entrenched views or beliefs of individuals that have something to lose if they accede to an opposing line of reasoning. The best test of a great idea is its veracity. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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