When I was a child, I used to see arguments as negative and attributions of individuals’ unfavorable personalities. For example, having the thought of “I should not argue over playing my favorite toy that was taken by my twin sister.” was not uncommon during my childhood memories. At least that was what I was told by my elementary school teachers and parents: Don’t argue and be a good child. Of course, like most of my peers, as I grew older and became aware and involved in more sophisticated arguments, a blurry line has gradually emerges regarding the nature and necessity of arguments.
Is there an instance in which an argument is necessary? I think so. In my mind, or perhaps likewise for others, I quickly associated arguments with conflicts. However, they are two different things. While conflicts imply different opinions and opposing thoughts, arguments could be constructive as discussions. I think the necessity of arguments come from the intentions behind having the arguments in the first place. They are particularly necessary when we need a breakthrough of the present, implying a change in the future. For example, Rebecca Solnit’s arguments of divesting and climate change are an issue that concerns the overall environment. To put it loosely, if the intention is issue focused instead of people focused, there are values in arguments.
Is there an instance when argument is a mistake? I think so if we are defining a mistake as in something preventable. As I see it, arguments are mistakes when personal harm is involved intentionally. When an argument is not surrounding an issue or context but the attributions of people, it is very likely that the discussion is not constructive and rather, would around a circle. However, I also think the responsibility is not only bared on the individual who initiates the arguments, but also their counterparts whom they argue with. Arguments require at least two people or two opinions so if there is a mistaken argument, both sides have the power to stop it.
Can we have a mistaken argument that is necessary simultaneously? I think it depends on the time frame we are looking at. At long run, it is likely that a mistaken argument serves as a necessity for the future. At times of arguments, there is always resistant. Arguments could easily escalate to heated debates involving both contextual and personal arguments. From a psychology standpoint, we as humans naturally have biases. For some of them, even if we are well aware of that, we are unable to reverse the biases. I think the nature of argument is not static but rather dynamic depending on the means and process instead of the topic.