public argument

choose one of your classmate’s posts to respond to.

  • First, based on Saturday’s readings, what is the “backfire effect” (the psychological effect known as “reactance”)?
  • Second, how does the “backfire effect” help us  understand the characteristics of nonproductive argument as your  classmate has described them.
    • In other words, just as we tried to understand what role the digital  medium of the internet plays in these characteristics on Wednesday, for  Saturday, try to draw some connections between the “backfire effect”  and nonproductive argument. (Hint: I think the “backfire effect” goes a  long way in explaining the “winning-above-all-else” aspect of  nonproductive argument!)
  • Third, return to your classmate’s list of features of  nonproductive argument. Now that we have a list of at least three  central characteristics of nonproductive argument, use the inverse property to arrive at a list of at least three characteristics of productiveargument.
    • In other words, Eubanks has described what nonproductive argument  looks like in detail, so, working backwards, what does productive  argument look like?
  • To answer the questions above here’s the reading link:
  • Other readings are uploaded.
  • Classmate post to respond to:
  • “First:

The problem with the public argument, as described by Eubanks, is  that it’s not so much an actual argument taking place but merely a  platform for the opposing sides to publicly insult one another. The type  of arguments that often take publicly are that of the argumentative  fallacy Ad Hominem where they are attacking the person rather than the  argument. I think this is often done to discredit their authority in  front of an audience.

Eubanks list the three features at the center of these “nonproductive” arguments as follows

1. “Public arguments are about winning and little else”- Eubanks  states on page 4 that the public argument has taken on that of a sort of  ‘win at all costs’ mentality which creates a sort of public platform  where it doesn’t matter what you are arguing but you have to essentially  win the argument to be right. When in reality, winning an argument  doesn’t mean you’re right it just means you’re better at arguing.

2. “Public arguments are presented as two-sided even when they do not  need to be”- On page 6 Eubanks adds on to the first feature by saying  that with the concept of win-lose comes the idea that there has to be  two sides to every argument, one that wins and one that loses, when in  actuality we don’t have to pick sides, we just think we do because  that’s how these arguments are being presented to us.

3. “Two-sided, winner-take-all argumentation has poisoned the public  square”- Lastly on pages 6-7, Eubank goes on to stay that the public  platform created by the U.S. political government has sort of ‘poisoned”  the pubic by creating this idea that with the two opposing sides, each  sides goal is to destroy the other ides argument when in fact it should  be about making a sound argument that educates the public. Instead of  merely crushing your opponent and winning the argument.


Like the video “This video will make you angry” says social media  contributes to the issues with public arguments by perpetuating this  idea that “you ae either with us or against us” which in turn helps  spread the argument but also cause these alterations to the original  argument that make it seem either worse or better than the original  argument.”

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