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Defense Through Subtle Distinction

 

Techniques General persuasion > The Art of Being Right > Defense Through Subtle Distinction

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

If your opponent presses you with a counter-proof, you will often be able to save yourself by advancing some subtle distinction, which, it is true, had not previously occurred to you; that is, if the matter admits of a double application, or of being taken in any ambiguous sense.

Example

Well, I suppose you're right and it is true that there is a train tomorrow, but look here: it is a slow one that won't get us there in time.

Yes, I was using my camera officer, but that was just a quick snap, not a real photograph, as you say.

Discussion

When you seem beaten, then you can always snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by chunking down into greater detail and fighting the battle on a corner case or some subtly that you can escalate into a point of great importance.

'The devil is in the details' is a common saying. To find more detail, ask questions such as 'how does it really work?' or 'what are the constituent parts?' You can also reframing individual words to have additional meaning into which you can expand your argument.

'Defense Through Subtle Distinction' is the seventeeth of Schopenhauer's stratagems.

See also

Reframing, Questioning techniques

 

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