Friday, September 16, 2011

Reasoning with Climate Change Deniers


A major component of my writing seminar class (which focuses on environmental philosophy) is reasoning. To start, we were asked to read Premises by Valerie Ross, within which I found some great tips for reasoning with deniers (I have specifically climate deniers in mind).

"The paradox of argument is that it must begin in agreement. If you share no common ground with your interlocutor, you are unlikely to change her mind....A skillful critical writer is able to identify common ground between himself and his readers, and uses this to launch his argument from the very edge of that common ground.

"An understanding of of your audience's premises is fundamental to any argument, and will dictate both content and ordering...Failure to grasp whether one needs to commence with universal or specialized premises will typically stall the argument before it gets off the ground."

Ross, herself, is a skilled critical writer, and so I don't think that really needs much explanation. Just some interesting things to think about when dealing with climate change deniers.

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