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Pros-vs-Cons Reasoning

 

Disciplines Argument > Types of Reasoning > Pros-vs-Cons Reasoning

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Pros-vs-cons reasoning seeks to weigh up the arguments for a case (pros) against the arguments against the case (cons).

The argument will usually end up with a conclusion of whether the pros or cons are stronger, thus precipitating a 'reasonable' conclusion. Things that will make a 'pro' stronger (and vice versa) include:

  • More logical arguments.
  • More evidence being displayed (including actions and perceptions of other people).
  • Greater emphasis being put on key words.
  • More arguments for the case.

Starting with the favored side allows you to fill the other person's mind with the key points, such that the second list becomes less easy to absorb. Starting with the disfavored side allows you to make it sound reasonable, then knock down each of the disfavored arguments with stronger arguments for the contrary case.

You can also choose between giving all of one side and then all of another, or alternating between each side (the latter is good for comparing related for-and-against points).

Example

 

Say this Not this
It is useful and cheap, but on the other hand it won't last long and will make you look ungenerous. It won't last long and will make you look ungenerous.
James likes it, Jan likes it, Bill likes it, Fred likes it. Only Sam and Alice don't like it. Most people like it.
Look at the list of features on this...But when you try it at home, you may find that... When you try it at home, you may find that...

 

Discussion

Offering arguments both for and against a case makes the arguer seem even-handed, neutral and hence trustworthy. It also takes the wind out of the sails of a counter-argument if you have already discussed the point.

Quantity and quality are often confused, and more arguments for one side can make it look like that side is the better choice.

See also

Comparative reasoning, Blemishing Effect

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