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Ben Yates

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  • The Art of the Argument

  • Western Civilization's Last Stand
  • By: Stefan Molyneux
  • Narrated by: Stefan Molyneux
  • Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 95
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 88

The Art of the Argument shocks the dying art of rational debate back to life, giving you the essential tools you need to fight the escalating sophistry, falsehoods, and vicious personal attacks that have displaced intelligent conversations throughout the world. At a time when we need reasonable and empirical discussions more desperately than ever, The Art of the Argument smashes through the brain-eating fogs of sophistry and mental manipulation, illuminating a path to benevolent power for all who wish to take it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Point perfect in The Argument

  • By Theresa McMeekin on 22-03-18

Lacking substance and disturbingly arrogant

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-18

Although I disagree with the author's politics, I knew that when I bought the book. That isn't the problem. I think everybody should read material written by those whose opinions differ from their own - if they don't, there's no opportunity to exchange and debate ideas, or to persuade people to change their views. You can't have confidence in your own views if you haven't tested them or allowed others to challenge them. I'm willing to give a high rating to a book by an author I disagree with if it's well written.

The problem with this book is that it claims to be a manual setting out techniques of debate and rhetoric, when in fact there's really not much to it. What it really consists of is an opinionated rant, written in a weirdly unpleasant and arrogant tone. The author uses examples of supposed sophistry (many of which are flawed) purely to express his political opinions and to make quite childish and often ad hominem digs at those with differing opinions. If he were really interested in analysing debating techniques, he would include (better) examples of effective arguments contrary, or unrelated, to his own political views.

There's something else about his style which grates. At times, he sounds like he's giving a speech at a political rally, knowingly and cynically pushing certain buttons to whip up popular support. It's fundamentally condescending. I suspect this book, along with his podcasts, is largely aimed at a young and impressionable audience looking for guidance and direction, and he knows what he needs to do to appeal to them. In that sense, it isn't really an "argument" at all, but rather a piece of propaganda. He is, in fact, the sophist all along.

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