38 Ways to Win an Argument, by Arthur Schopenhauer

What with all the talk about Schopenhauer recently, I feel I must confess a personal act of plagiarism. Once upon a time, on this blog, I offered a course in Internet Disputation (see here for the original flyer) – how to satisfyingly ridicule the views of others from the safety of your favoured web browser (mostly with examples from Stephen Mitchelmore, see here for instance). But the truth is this course was entirely cribbed from Schopenhauer’s strange work of anti-philosophy, The Art of Being Right: or, 38 Ways to Win an Argument, basically a critique of rhetoric (but also useful for mocking literary criticism) which you can read here. (I think Schopenhauer himself lifted much of it from Aristotle, though this only hearsay).

I’ve always particularly like strategm 36:

You may also puzzle and bewilder your opponent by mere bombast; and the trick is possible, because a man generally supposes that there must be some meaning in words.

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2 thoughts on “38 Ways to Win an Argument, by Arthur Schopenhauer

  1. It’s always fun to see one of your earlier Mitchelmore posts come to light again. Have you just given up on him at this stage?

  2. I’ve taken the fact that he’s decided Twitter is a more fitting forum for his style of literary criticism as meaning no further satire is required on my part.

    Still, looking at This Space, I rather liked the Mitchelmore / Thwaite composite phrase “relentless focus on quotidian dreariness”, which I intend to use quite often (although they don’t seem to be using in at all a pejorative sense).

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