This has slowly been bothering me more and more for a while now and I figured it was time to write a post. I'm not sure what it's called, but I call it arguing with exceptions. What I mean by this is when people will break an argument off into a new smaller tangent that is totally irrelevant to the actual value of the original argument.

Example 1

Argument: People should go to the gym and stay physically fit.
Counter: What about people who can't walk?

I call this arguing with exceptions. No matter what way you look at something there are always exceptions. It's not a matter of finding something without exceptions, but rather understanding the different degrees and weight each argument holds. Bringing in some smaller point holds very little weight in the whole scheme of things. In this example sure people who can't walk will have a much harder time working out. Maybe they can't work out at all. Who cares? That's like less than 1% of the people this argument is targeted towards. The other 99% of people who are capable of working out is the more relevant audience.

Example 2

Argument: Christians have good, solid values in their daily lives.
Counter: What about the pedophile Priests in the organization?

This would be another example. By in large, that vast number of Christians (and most organizations for that matter) have good people. A very small percentage of people may hide behind an organization and do things that are not advocated by the actual organization and as a result they damage the image of the organization. This happens with so many different things, primarily religion. All the material teaching Christianity does not advocate being a pedophile, so if a few people want to do it they are acting independent of the core values of the organization. But whatever, people will continue to argue exceptions all day long and enjoy their one-dimensional, sensory outlook on reality without actually defining or understanding their terms to begin with.


I could go on with more and more examples. But the point is that that these type of counter arguments are just weak and irrelevant. You could find exceptions all day long.

Rather than coming up with small ways to break down an argument it is usually much more valuable to actually understand the value that the argument presents and break down the actual facts and reasoning behind it. Coming up with exceptions is just poetic rhetoric.

 Filed under: Personal Development, Arguing

About The Author

Quinton Figueroa

Quinton Figueroa

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El Paso, Texas

I am an entrepreneur at heart. Throughout my whole life I have enjoyed building real businesses by solving real problems. Business is life itself. My goal with businesses is to help move the human ...



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