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Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it

 

Techniques General persuasion > The Art of Being Right > Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Should your opponent expressly challenge you to produce any objection to some definite point in his argument, and you have nothing much to say, you must try to give the matter a general turn, and then talk against that. If you are called upon to say why a particular physical hypothesis cannot be accepted, you may speak of the fallibility of human knowledge, and give various illustrations of it.

Example

You can't get James and his team to agree with an email. Human psychology says face-to-face works better.

You say dogs bite. Well all animals bite, don't they? Even humans!

Discussion

Generalization moves the argument away from specifics, where the other person may claim extra knowledge, to a wider wisdom. To generalize, a useful question is 'why?' This helps you 'chunk up' to less specific 'big chunk' information.

In generalizing, you can quickly get back to theory and explanation of why things are as they are. In business, generalizing may move the argument from tactics to strategy.

'Generalize the Matter, Then Argue Against it' is the nineteenth of Schopenhauer's stratagems.

See also

Generalization, Reframing, Chunking

 

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