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How to Win Every Argument By Madsen Pirie

How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic is self help book by Madsen Pirie, published in 2006.

In the second edition of this witty and infectious book, Madsen Pirie builds upon his guide to using – and indeed abusing – logic in order to win arguments. By including new chapters on how to win arguments in writing, in the pub, with a friend, on Facebook and in 140 characters (on Twitter), Pirie provides the complete guide to triumphing in altercations ranging from the everyday to the downright serious. He identifies with devastating examples all the most common fallacies popularly used in argument. We all like to think of ourselves as clear-headed and logical – but all readers will find in this book fallacies of which they themselves are guilty. The author shows you how to simultaneously strengthen your own thinking and identify the weaknesses in other people arguments. And, more mischievously, Pirie also shows how to be deliberately illogical – and get away with it. This book will make you maddeningly smart: your family, friends and opponents will all wish that you had never read it. Publisher’s warning: In the wrong hands this book is dangerous. We recommend that you arm yourself with it whilst keeping out of the hands of others. Only buy this book as a gift if you are sure that you can trust the recipient.

 

Book Description:

It’s an excellent book of fallacies. The layout is professional in appearance. The writing is concise and to the point. The author comes across as erudite and somewhat witty.

I would suggest to the reader to begin at the back of the book however. In the back the fallacies are divided in to five major categories. If one reads the book in order based on these classifications it is not hard to master the material (the problem with this approach is that the reader has to flip back and forth in the book, like a choose your own adventure book, but I think it is worth the effort). If one tried to read the book simply in the order it’s laid out in; that is, alphabetical, I think they would have a hard time of it.

If another edition comes out I would hope the publisher would change the format so the fallacies are arranged by classification.

Will you win every argument if you read this book? Ah, maybe. You will be able definitely recognize fallacies when they occur though, and that may help you win arguments, or at least point out how your opponents logic is flawed.

In summary, I think it’s an interesting well written book, the only major flaw being the alphabetical layout.

 

Table of contents :

Cover ……Page 1
Copyright page……Page 8
Contents……Page 9
Acknowledgments……Page 12
Introduction……Page 13
Abusive analogy……Page 15
Accent……Page 17
Accident……Page 19
Affirming the consequent……Page 21
Amphiboly……Page 23
Analogical fallcy……Page 25
Antiquitam, argumentum ad……Page 28
Apriorism……Page 29
Baculum, argumentum ad……Page 31
Bifurcation……Page 33
Blinding with science……Page 36
The bogus dilemma……Page 38
Circulus in probando……Page 41
The complex question (plurium interrogationum)……Page 43
Composition……Page 45
Concealed quantification……Page 47
Conclusion which denies premises……Page 49
Contradictory premises……Page 52
Crumenam, argumentum ad……Page 53
Cum hoc ergo propter hoc……Page 55
Damning the alternatives……Page 58
Definitional retreat……Page 60
Denying the antecedent……Page 63
Dicto simpliciter……Page 65
Division……Page 67
Emotional appeals……Page 69
Equivocation……Page 72
Every schoolboy knows……Page 74
The exception that proves the rule……Page 77
Exclusive premises……Page 79
The existential fallacy……Page 81
Ex-post-facto statistics……Page 83
Extensional pruning……Page 86
False conversion……Page 88
False precision……Page 90
The gambler’s fallacy……Page 93
The genetic fallacy……Page 96
Half-concealed qualification……Page 97
Hedging……Page 100
Hominem (abusive), argumentum ad……Page 102
Hominem (circumstantial), argumentum ad……Page 104
Ignorantiam, argumentum ad……Page 106
Ignorantio elenchi……Page 108
Illicit process……Page 111
Irrelevant humour……Page 113
Lapidem, argumentum ad……Page 115
Lazarum, argumentum ad……Page 118
Loaded words……Page 120
Misericordiam, argumentum ad……Page 123
Nauseam, argumentum ad……Page 125
Non-anticipation……Page 128
Novitam, argumentum ad……Page 130
Numeram, argumentum ad……Page 132
One-sided assessment……Page 135
Petitio principii……Page 137
Poisoning the well……Page 140
Populum, argumentum ad……Page 142
Positive conclusion from negative premise……Page 144
Post hoc ergo propter hoc……Page 145
Quaternio terminorum……Page 147
The red herring……Page 150
Refuting the example……Page 152
Reification……Page 154
The runaway train……Page 156
Secundum quid……Page 159
Shifting ground……Page 161
Shifting the burden of proof……Page 163
The slippery slope……Page 165
Special pleading……Page 167
The straw man……Page 169
Temperantiam, argumentum ad……Page 171
Thatcher’s blame……Page 174
Trivial objections……Page 176
Tu quoque……Page 178
Unaccepted enthymemes……Page 180
The undistributed middle……Page 182
Unobtainable perfection……Page 185
Verecundiam, argumentum ad……Page 187
Wishful thinking……Page 190
Classification of fallacies……Page 193
The informal fallacies of relevance (omission)……Page 194
The informal fallacies of relevance (intrusion)……Page 195
The informal fallacies of relevance (presumption)……Page 196

 

How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic

Author(s): Madsen Pirie

Publisher: Continuum, Year: 2007

ISBN: 0826498949

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