The Charger Bulletin

Tips on Arguing: Inductive Reasoning

Brandon T. Bisceglia April 11, 2012

In ancient Greece, philosophers and thinkers invented a process for arriving at truths about the world that we know today as deduction. These processes relied on taking general statements about the world...

Tips on Arguing: Tautologies

Brandon T. Bisceglia April 4, 2012

Ever wonder why people call it a PIN number or an ATM machine? Ever hear someone say, "Wherever you go, there you are," and think to yourself, well, duh? If you have, then you’ve already stumbled upon...

Tips on Arguing: Stay Detached

Brandon T. Bisceglia March 28, 2012

Andrew Brody, host of the Princeton Review podcast, LSAT Logic in Everyday Life, ends every episode with a reminder for his listeners: "don’t get emotionally involved with the subject matter."  Brody’s...

Tips on Arguing: Correlation versus Causation

Brandon T. Bisceglia March 21, 2012

When two events are shown to be related in some way, they are said to correlate. When one event makes the other happen, the first is said to cause the second. These two terms may at first appear to be...

Tips on Arguing: Use Qualifiers Carefully

Brandon T. Bisceglia February 29, 2012

A qualifier is any word or phrase that provides a "reference point" for a claim. Knowing how to use them can both increase the strength of an argument and shield it from attacks. English is full of qualifiers...

Tips on Arguing: Argument from Authority

Brandon T. Bisceglia February 22, 2012

If someone told you that alchemy must be a legitimate science because Isaac Newton practiced it, would you start trying to turn lead into gold? Of course not. Yet that is exactly how the argument from...

Tips on Arguing: Formal Debates

Brandon T. Bisceglia February 15, 2012

Formal debates take many forms. Some are sponsored through national or international organizations, but they may also be conducted in an impromptu fashion within high school and college classrooms. The...

Tips on Arguing: Active Versus Passive Voice

Brandon T. Bisceglia February 8, 2012

The way you phrase a sentence can influence its meaning. The choice between using active and passive voice is one of the more common examples of how sentence structure matters. The difference is subtle,...

Tips on Arguing: Admit When You’re Wrong

Brandon T. Bisceglia February 1, 2012

We’d all like to win our arguments. We’d all like to believe that our positions are the "right" ones. We’d all like to have the facts on our side. But life isn’t that simple. Circumstances change....

Tips on Arguing: Margin of Error

Brandon T. Bisceglia January 25, 2012

Have you ever noticed that news organizations will pelt you with polling data during an election cycle, and then wonder why the actual results defy the polls? There are a lot of reasons this happens, but...

Tips on Arguing: The Internet is Forever

Brandon T. Bisceglia December 14, 2011

Almost everyone these days has an account on some social media website, whether it be Facebook or Twitter. Most of us don’t think twice about sharing information with our friends, including pictures...

Tips on Arguing: Tu Quoque

Brandon T. Bisceglia December 7, 2011

"Tu quoque" means "you too." This tactic relies on shifting the focus of an argument from its independent merits to the number of people who subscribe to it. There are two ways to misrepresent an argument...

Tips on Arguing: Absolute and Relative Risk

Brandon T. Bisceglia November 30, 2011

There are several ways of measuring risks. Two of the most commonly confused are absolute risk and relative risk. They are easily explained, however, and being able to recognize what they mean can help...

Tips on Arguing: Quote Mining

Brandon T. Bisceglia November 9, 2011

Quote mining is altering the meaning of a person’s quote by taking it out of context or removing sections of the quote. It is a deceptive way to make it look like something someone said supports your...

Tips on Arguing: Primary and Secondary Sources

Brandon T. Bisceglia November 2, 2011

When you’re conducting research for an essay, a debate, or a report, you will often come across multiple sources of information about the same event or topic. How can you tell which of these to use? One...

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Tips on Arguing