Argument: When Losing is Winning

Cohen says, “If we want to think of new kinds of arguments we need to think of new kinds of arguers. Think of all the roles that people play in arguments: there’s the proponent and the opponent in an adversarial, dialectical argument; there’s the audience in rhetorical arguments; there’s the reasoner in arguments as proofs. Now, can you imagine an argument in which you are the arguer but you’re also in the audience watching yourself argue? Can you imagine yourself watching yourself argue, losing the argument, and yet still, at the end of the argument saying, ‘Wow, that was a good argument.’ He continues, “I think, if you can imagine that kind of argument where the loser and the audience and the jury says to the winner, ‘Yeah, that was a good argument’ then you have imagined a good argument. And more than that, I think you’ve imagined a good arguer, an arguer that’s worthy of the kind of arguer you should try to be.”

This is also a fantastic way to look at the human ego. If one always has to and does win battles or arguments, that person will never actually learn anything new. Additionally, it will just blind the arguer to new perspectives and in the long run will eventually lose out.