I wanted to preserve and make personal note of an article by Paul Graham on how to disagree. He’s taken some basic rhetorical errors and compiled them into an escalating scale, from least effective to most effective ways to dispute others’ arguments.
Click through to read his seven-point scale, from name-calling and ad hominem attacks, up through contradiction and to full refutation of the other’s central point. Well thought out and easy to use.
So easy, I’ve decided to refrain from responding to anyone who disagrees with me with what I see as levels 0 (name-calling) through at least level 2 (Responding to tone). I may or may not respond to level 3 (contradiction), and will seriously consider the content of disagreement that uses levels 4 (counter-argument), 5 (refutation) and 6 (refuting the central argument).