Dissecting Argumentation

Are there instances where an argument is necessary?

1. Yes. From intellectual development to scientific innovation, the process of challenging and testing the information you have been given is a necessary component in both individual and collective progress. In conversation, even if neither side of an argument is correct, there is generally still something to be learned, given that each claim is supported by factual evidence.

2. Are there instances when arguing is a mistake?

Rarely, but yes. When you are in the unfortunate situation of arguing with someone who is making inaccurate and biased claims, it is still beneficial to know that this perspective exists. Attempting to understand the other side of an argument even at the smallest degree can facilitate your discussion and help you structure your own arguments more effectively.

3. Can an argument be both necessary and a mistake at the same time?

Yes, this is possible. An example that comes to mind is the vaccine debate. It seems to me that we have a situation of misinformation and mistrust in authority. Vaccine skeptics who argue that vaccines have been linked to autism often reference a study that has been repeatedly disproved. In this instance, an argument would be helpful in pinpointing and rejecting the source of false information. However, since there is an underlying notion of mistrust, it is very difficult to reach a mutual understanding on the issue. This is a situation where an argument could potentially intensify the disagreement rather than settle it.

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