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10 Good Arguments

(Continued from EdWorld At Home)

6. Comparison

While several of the logical lies have to do with false comparisons, comparison can be a powerful and valid tool to use in an argument or a debate. In fact, it may be among the most common strategies people use in argument.

To ensure that the comparison you’re thinking about is a valid one, and not a fallacy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it really make sense to compare the two situations I want to compare? In other words, does the second situation have enough in common with the one we’re talking about to make it useful in this discussion?
  • Are there other comparisons that are just as relevant but would support the opposite point of view? In other words, does the comparison you have in mind provide a really basic new understanding of the situation being debated, or is it just an example of your point of view, leaving the other side free to bring up opposite examples?
  • Does this comparison come to mind naturally, or do you have to strain to make it make sense to the argument?

Generally, you know whether you’re using a valid comparison or whether you’re “grasping at straws.”

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