Reading Summaries

Arguments: The Natural State of Humanity

Argument exists everywhere. Through your words, body posture, facial expressions, the clothes you wear, and much more, a statement is made. In his Winning Arguments, Fish argues that argument is inevitable. More specifically, he claims that argument will be ever present because we do not live in a utopia with zero conflict. For example, he writes “truth and knowledge are always in the process of being renegotiated.” In other words, society is always developing and changing, therefore it is always negotiable on how to improve, and is therefore argumentative on how to best do so. However, are there times when topics are not arguable? 

Universal truths are the opposite of relativism, and can not be rhetorically argued. Examples of this include the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, or death is inevitable. With universal truths, society is given some concrete middle ground that we all “universally” experience. On the other hand, Fish writes, “a state of universal agreement… is not something we mortals will ever achieve.” Ironically, he is attempting to create his own universal truth in stating that argument is inescapable. In sum then, Fish suggests that argument is a revolving circle, that once we are out of one, it is certain that there is another argument meant to be held in the future.

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