Ethical Episodes

Trade Secret

by Joel Marks

Some of my readers may wonder how I do it. How am I able to defend or attack thesis after thesis about any subject under the sun (and indeed, when in my astronomical mode, about the sun itself and things beyond it) in column after column … and actually win the day? (I hope you agree!) Of course one answer is simply: practice, practice, practice. But there are also certain tricks of the trade.

My particular stock in trade is arguments, and my line of work consists of producing and explaining them (mine and other people’s) as well as analyzing and critiquing them (usually other people’s). The main trick, then, is to understand how arguments operate.

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