5 Tools Philosophers Use to Win Arguments

If you want to be the smartest one in the room, then you need the latest intellectual gadgets

Dustin T. Cox
6 min readMay 10, 2022
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

We’ve all been there: a coworker, friend, or relative challenges us on a point of morality, politics, or religion. We know we’re right — I mean, we’re philosophers. How could we be wrong?

Still, we often find ourselves unable to persuade. No matter what tack we take, we can’t make argumentative headway. Inevitably, we start to doubt ourselves: Are we doing something wrong?

Well, yes, actually, we are. Our shortcoming is all too common: we don’t know the strategies used by philosophers to make a case, close an argument, and win the day.

Fortunately, those strategies aren’t secret, and all it takes to master them is training and practice. The good news? Plato’s Gymnasium is here to help. Professional philosophers use the following 5 argumentative tools every day to challenge and defeat their intellectual opponents.

The Syllogism

The syllogism is perhaps the oldest argumentative tool in the book and is the bedrock of everyday philosophical discourse even now. A syllogism is a simple deduction of the sort that Aristotle used throughout his work. It involves a rather mathematical formula…



Dustin T. Cox

Owner/Editor of The Grammar Messiah. Personal Lord and Savior