Feelings and Beliefs

Distinguishing between arguments and explanations can be tricky when they involve statements about how someone thinks or feels, believes or disbelieves. We have already determined that explanations are not value judgments or recommendations. Words like "believe" or "feel" are often a part of such judgments. But, they can also be a part of an explanation.

For example, you are considering buying stock in a company that two of your friends work for. One tells you, "Our company is doing really well. Sales are high, and one of our products won an award." The other says, "Economists believe our company is doing really well, because our sales are high, and one of our products won an award." The word "believe" is a warning signal

that the statement is simply an opinion. But look closely. Whose belief is it? Your friend, the speaker, is not one of the economists. She is simply stating a fact, which is that the economists hold a belief that her company is doing well.

The first friend is trying to convince you that her conclusion ("our company is doing really well") is valid by giving you evidence. The second is explaining the reasons why a group of people believe something. Perhaps you won't buy the stock after either friends' statement, but if you are thinking critically, you know the motivation of each.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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