The GuardianThe Guardian

Don’t steamroll, and go easy on the stats: How to win an argument – without making things worse

By Simon Usborne

08 Sep 2023 · 8 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Guardian's Simon Usborne argues that in today’s increasingly divided culture, the art of debate has been lost. But pros say there are still ways to argue effectively without fuelling this division.

Whether or not history will determine that we are living in an ever more divided culture, it certainly feels that way. Perhaps there is just more to argue about when facing a never-ending Ninja Warrior course of crises. The culture wars, meanwhile, strip words of their meaning and debates of their nuance, further pitting communities, generations, families and friends against each other.

Among the many casualties of this 21st-century slanging match is – arguably – the art of debate itself. So how do you win an argument in such fractious times without fuelling division? And if arguing is indeed an art, what can we learn from its masters?

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