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Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn't…
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Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn't Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom (vuoden 2016 painos)

Tekijä: Stanley Fish (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
1011268,481 (3.5)-
"Stanley Fish, the notoriously brash and brilliant English and Law professor, has authored dozens of academic books on subjects ranging from Milton to freedom of speech. In 2011, Fish turned his eye to a more popular subject, the art of writing great sentences. His short, wise book How to Write a Sentence became an instant New York Times Bestseller and continues to be read by students and aspiring writers. Adam Haslet called the book, "deeper and more democratic than The Elements of Style." If great sentences are, in effect, performances at the highest level, Fish acts as a lively sportscaster giving the reader a blow-by-blow. In Winning Arguments, Fish employs this same wit and observational prowess as he guides readers through the "greatest hits" of rhetoric including landmark legal cases, arguments drawn from popular film and TV, and even Fish's own career. The success of books like Jay Heinrich's Thank You For Arguing demonstrate a clear audience for fun, intellectually nourishing books that make you feel just a little bit smarter for having read them. Like How to Write a Sentence, Winning Arguments will become a modern classic"--… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:patrickjlong
Teoksen nimi:Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn't Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom
Kirjailijat:Stanley Fish (Tekijä)
Info:Harper (2016), 224 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto, Parhaillaan lukemassa
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Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn't Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom (tekijä: Stanley Fish)

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Stanley Fish, a professor of law and of literature, has written a little gem of book about arguments: political, marital, legal, and academic. And although he offers several useful strategies in how to win various kinds of arguments, his principal thesis is that argumentation is an essential and unavoidable aspect of communication. The world we live in is one of constant argument in the sense that much of our communication is an effort to convince the hearer that what we say is true.

One of the earliest (and perhaps most primitive) form of argument is that from authority. Parents often prevail over their offspring simply by asserting, “Because I said so!” Others look to Holy Scripture or recognized experts. Ironically, Aristotle identified the technique of argument from authority, and then he became one!

Fish describes politics as “not a fully rational process, although neither is it irrational.” He points out that “there is no neutral space from the vantage point of which the varieties of spin can be inventoried and assessed.” Arguments themselves don’t end political debates. Neither “side” is likely to be convinced. No matter what rational arguments you assert to an avid Trump supporter, you won’t convince him or her that their hero is a demented moron, nor will you convince detractors that he is a good person. In fact, Fish claims that Trump's tendency to advance both sides of the same argument depending on the day is irrelevant. As Fish says, Trump could never be off message, because he is the message. For Fish, Trump’s victory is a triumph of pathos (emotion) over logos (reason) and ethos (the character of the speaker).

Yet sometimes, political arguments seem to prevail all at once, e.g., the legitimacy of same-sex marriage is now recognized by a substantial majority of the population. There, the rational arguments themselves probably did not carry the day as much as gay pride parades and general acceptance of homosexuality in television and film. It was unpredictable confluence of cultural forces that had the most influence on creating a new level of acceptance.

Marital arguments are a class unto their own. Fish asserts that one spouse is almost never able to use rationality to convince the other spouse of the superiority of the first’s position. Rather, since most marital arguments involve hurt feelings, there really is no realistic chance of “winning” them. Fish recommends that one spouse begin the rapprochement by conceding that he or she was wrong and hope for the best.

Fish asserts that most arguments are constrained by what he calls “bounded argument spaces.” Arguments that are “allowed” are distinguished from those that just won’t fly. Each category is formally identified and known to everyone participating. Legal arguments presuppose a large fairly well understood bounded argument space. The practitioners of legal argumentation (lawyers) spend a lot of time and effort learning what kinds of arguments are to be permitted. Indeed, most trials are not so much attempts to determine what happened as efforts of each side to fit facts into legally pre-recognized categories like “negligence,” “notice,” or “conspiracy.” [Note: legal research is defined by these categories as well, lending a pre-determined outcome to the parameters of argumentation.]

What is or is not a proper academic argument is itself something continually being argued about. One aspect of academic arguments identified by Fish is “in addition to restrictions on the arguments one can make, there are restrictions on who can make them and receive a respectful hearing.” Without a Ph.D., you’re not likely to have your interpretation of Paradise Lost published in a respected academic journal, no matter how original or compelling it is. Part of legitimization also involves employing accepted arcane terms associated with the field. Clarity can be lost in the process, but everyone is happy because the argumentation now is refutable only by initiates into the club.

Fish contends that argumentation is an inescapable aspect of life and that pining for a world without argument is a fool’s errand. To him:

"…the wish to escape argument is really the wish to escape language, which is really the wish to escape politics, and is finally the wish to escape mortality—and it won’t matter a whit. For one effect of inhabiting the condition of difference—the condition of being partial, the condition of not being in direct touch with the final unity and full meaning of the universe—is that we long to transcend it; and it is that longing, forever disappointed, that keeps us going."

Or as Kingsley Amis once wrote, "If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing."

Evaluation: I liked this book and I liked its conclusion. For me, arguments [properly conducted within appropriate bounded argument spaces] are fun. Like the Monty Python sketch Fish recounts in the beginning when a man enters an office and says to the receptionist, “I’d like to have an argument, please,” my wife and I communicate mainly by argumentation, as a subset of our competitive relationship generally. We agree on almost nothing, so we will always have something to talk [argue (?)] about.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | May 11, 2018 |
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"Stanley Fish, the notoriously brash and brilliant English and Law professor, has authored dozens of academic books on subjects ranging from Milton to freedom of speech. In 2011, Fish turned his eye to a more popular subject, the art of writing great sentences. His short, wise book How to Write a Sentence became an instant New York Times Bestseller and continues to be read by students and aspiring writers. Adam Haslet called the book, "deeper and more democratic than The Elements of Style." If great sentences are, in effect, performances at the highest level, Fish acts as a lively sportscaster giving the reader a blow-by-blow. In Winning Arguments, Fish employs this same wit and observational prowess as he guides readers through the "greatest hits" of rhetoric including landmark legal cases, arguments drawn from popular film and TV, and even Fish's own career. The success of books like Jay Heinrich's Thank You For Arguing demonstrate a clear audience for fun, intellectually nourishing books that make you feel just a little bit smarter for having read them. Like How to Write a Sentence, Winning Arguments will become a modern classic"--

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