Have you ever heard someone make a brilliant argument that blew you away?

It could be a CEO selling a new company strategy or a shopper trying to get the best deal from a shopkeeper.

Everybody encounters good—and bad—arguments in their lives. But do you ever stop and wonder what makes them good arguments?

Quite simply, a good argument is cogent and based on a strong premise. If it’s not sound and cogent, it’s just a bad argument.

The key to making a successful argument lies in knowing the types of arguments.

Let’s look at the top four types of arguments.

Different Types Of Arguments: Deductive And Inductive Arguments

The two major types of arguments are deductive and inductive arguments. How do you distinguish between them? Let’s find out.

Type 1: Deductive Arguments

A deductive argument is based on a strong premise for the conclusion. It’s a top-down approach in which you reach a conclusion based on a premise that is assumed to be true. Police generally solve cases with this approach: They have a suspect in mind based on previous information not directly connected to the case and then use it to build their hypothesis to prove the guilt of that suspect.

Type 2: Inductive Arguments

An inductive argument is the opposite of a deductive argument. It is a bottom-up approach that allows you to arrive at conclusions based on his observations. Of the two types of arguments, inductive arguments go from the specific to the general. They use data and observations to draw a pattern.

Other Types Of Arguments

Now that you know the difference between deductive and inductive arguments, let’s turn to two other types of arguments.

Type 3: Toulmin Argument

The Toulmin argument is another tool for constructing arguments created by British philosopher Stephen Toulmin. It involves breaking an argument down into six basic parts—claim, grounds, warrant, qualifier, rebuttal, and backing. The three most important elements in a Toulmin argument are the claim or the statement of opinion, grounds or the facts or data on which the claim is based, and the warrant or what links the grounds to the claim.

The argument with the strongest evidence claims success. But for that, the arguer has to present the data and the facts to show that the logic behind their argument is real and theoretically sound. Let’s say you want to ban junk food in an office canteen. That’s your main statement or claim and the ground is that junk food is unhealthy for employees and banning it would improve their health. The warrant is that unhealthy food will lead to health problems.

Type 4: Rogerian Argument

The Rogerian argument comes into play when you have to find the best possible solution. Essentially, it is a negotiating strategy in which you identify a common goal and try to establish common ground. Many of us are familiar with and have used Rogerian arguments in our life without being aware.

Think of the team meeting your manager calls every time before starting the new project. The team discusses the best possible solutions to the client’s requirements. What kind of software, or product or sales pitch would work?

You acknowledge your team members’ standpoints as well as make your own. The main goal is to find a mutually satisfactory solution.

Now that you know some key types of arguments, get ready to use them at work and life in general. Moreover, if you know the type of argument the person is making, you are likely to guess the conclusion it will lead to.

Sign up for Harappa’s Thinking Critically course to understand the power of arguments. And learn good argument rules to make effective arguments. Join now!


Explore topics such as What is an Argument, Fallacy, Types of Fallacies & the Strawman Fallacy from our Harappa Diaries blog section and develop your strategic thinking skills.

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