Quotes on Argument
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308. Argument; Ouch!!!
Johnson having argued for some time with a pertinacious gentleman; his opponent, who had talked in a very puzzling manner, happened to say, "I don't understand you, Sir;" upon which Johnson observed, "Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding."
Boswell: Life

529. Anger; Argument; Obstruction; Posturing
"He that finds his knowledge narrow, and his arguments weak, and by consequence his suffrage not much regarded, is sometimes in hope of gaining that attention by his clamours which he cannot otherwise obtain, and is pleased with remembering that at last he made himself heard, that he had the power to interrupt those whom he could not confute, and suspend the decision which he could not guide."
Johnson: Rambler #11 (April 24, 1750)

705. Argument; Friendsip; Politics; Religion
"It cannot but be extremely difficult to preserve private kindness in the midst of public opposition, in which it will necessarily be involved a thousand incidents, extending their influence to conversation and privacy. Men engaged, by moral or religious motives, in contrary parties will generally look with different eyes upon every man, and decide almost every question upon different principles. When such occasions of dispute happen, to comply is to betray our cause, and to maintain friendship by ceasing to deserve it; to be silent is to lose the happiness and dignity of independence, to live in perpetual constraint, and to desert, if not to betray; and who shall determine which of two friends shall yield, where neither believes himself mistaken, and both confess the importance of their question? What then remains but contradiction and debate? and from those what can be what can be expected but acrimony and vehemence, the insolence of triumph, the vexation of defeat, and, in time, a weariness of contest, and an extinction of benevolence? Exchange of endearments and intercourse of civility may continue, indeed, as boughs may for a while be verdant when the root is wounded; but the poison of discord is infused, and though the countenance may preserve its smile, the heart is hardening and contracting."
Johnson: Rambler #64 (October 27, 1750)

719. Argument
"Sir, you are giving a reason for it, but that will not make it right."
Boswell: Life

787. Argument
"It is common for controversists, in the heat of disputation, to add one position to another till they reach the extremities of knowledge, where truth and falsehood lose their distinction."
Johnson: Idler #19 (August 19, 1758)

922. Argument
"Controversies merely speculative are of small importance in themselves, however they may have sometimes heated a disputant, or provoked a faction."
Johnson: Rambler #81 (December 25, 1750)

982. Argument; Inconclusiveness; Mediocrity; Ouch!!!
Johnson, for sport perhaps, or from the spirit of contradiction, eagerly maintained that Derrick had merit as a writer. Mr. Morgan argued with him directly, in vain. At length he had recourse to this device. "Pray, Sir, (said he,) whether do you reckon Derrick or Smart the best poet?" Johnson at once felt himself rouzed; and answered, "Sir, there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea."
Boswell: Life of Johnson

1,293. Argument; Op-Ed
"Controvertists cannot long retain their kindness for each other."
Johnson: Addison (Lives of the Poets)

1,330. Argument; Inconclusiveness; Truth
"All the force of reason and all the charms of language are indeed necessary to support positions which every man hears with a wish to confute them. Truth finds an easy entrance into the mind when she is introduced by desire, and attended by pleasure; but when she intrudes uncalled, and brings only fear and sorrow in her train, the passes of the intellect are barred against her by prejudice and passion; if she sometimes forces her way by the batteries of argument, she seldom long keeps possession of her conquests, but is ejected by some favoured enemy, or at best obtains only a nominal sovereignty, without influence and without authority."
Johnson: Rambler #165 (October 15, 1751)

1,562. Argument; Sophistry
"A man heated in talk, and eager of victory, takes advantage of the mistakes or ignorance of his adversary, lays hold of concessions to which he has no right, and urges proofs likely to prevail on his opponent, though he knows himself that they have no force."
Johnson: Adventurer #85 (August 28, 1753)

1,870. Argument
"Treating your adversary wth respect is striking soft in battle."
Boswell: Tour of the Hebrides

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