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Testing Strength of Arguments

While testing the strength of arguments, imagine yourself sitting in a group discussion where the invigilator gives you a topic for discussion. Remember, the first think you have to keep in mind is, that, you do not cross question the topic that the invigilator has given to you. You are either arguing in favour or against the given topic. Everyone has an opinion, and no opinion is right or wrong. Your opinion is either strong or weak in context of the subject matter. You opinion will become an argument, when you base them on facts, premises, trends, observations which are related to the topic and are generally accepted.
How to decide whether an argument is strong or weak?
There are some basic key points that you need to keep in mind while judging the strength of arguments.

Characteristics of a Strong Argument

  • It should be directly related to the statement.
  • It should be accompanied with universally accepted facts / truths or generally accepted facts / truths.
  • Logical predictions:
    • YES, it predicts a desirable outcome.
    • NO, it predicts an undesirable outcome.

Characteristics of a Weak Argument

  • Not directly related to the statement.
  • It counter questions the statement in discussion.
  • Explains the point with a counter example.
  • It is a mere opinion without facts.
  • It is based on a wrong course of action. Any action that is not practical cannot make the argument strong.
  • Argument based on assumptions, and not facts is weak.
  • Extreme arguments comprising of words / phrases such as: “only way”, “No other way”, “Impossible”, etc are generally weak.
  • Reiterating / repeating the statement in the same or other words is a weak argument.
  • Factually incorrect statements lead to a weak argument.

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