Recommendations and Value Judgments

Many arguments express a recommendation, or value judgment. They then try to convince you of the goodness or rightness of it. Explanations do not contain such recommendations or judgments. They are about undisputed facts and not attempts at persuasion. For example, here is a conclusion to an argument:

The best place for a steak is Louie's Steak

Shack. They use only high quality meat, and the décor is fabulous.

How do we know this is not an explanation? It is a judgment on the part of the speaker, meant to recommend. "The best place for a steak" is opinion, rather than fact. It could however become an explanation if there was some factual basis for deeming the restaurant "best place for a steak." One way to do this is to factually state another person's opinion. For instance:

My cousin says the best place for a steak is Louie's Steak Shack because they use only high quality meat, and the décor is fabulous.

Now, we have a simple statement of fact (what the cousin says) followed by its causes (why the cousin has that opinion—the quality of the meat, and the décor). Remember that explanations are about something that is already accepted as fact. Judgments and recommendations are not facts.

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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