How To Argue

Filed Under (Advocacy) by Estee on 18-05-2010

I’m not an expert in “how to argue,” but I’m learning. It’s never to late to learn and improve, particularly when it comes to an advancement of how we discuss the plethora of views concerning autism. What is largely missing is a critical analysis and an understanding by most of us how to engage in ethical debates. The following consists only of a couple of sources found on the Internet:

The Ethical Argument:

Thinking Straight

Critical Analysis:

Deakin University
University of Sussex
Learn Out Loud (podcast)
The Open University Learning Space

Books to Consider Regarding the Art of Argument, Critical Analysis and Methodology:

A Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tool
s (this is a nice small guide that one can use everyday) by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder

How To Read A Paragraph: The Art of Close Reading, by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder

A consideration on Setting Guidelines:

I also thought this was a good comment on setting ground rules from a site on multiculturalism and why we might have to constantly reconsider their construction:

” Recent critical analysis of common ground rules have resulted in a collective reconsideration of their role. This is because, too often, ground rules that are put in place, whether by an educator/facilitator or by participants, privilege the already-privileged groups in a dialogical experience. For example, in a dialogue about race, white participants will often support ground rules meant to keep anger out of the discussion–ground rules focused keeping them comfortable. When we consider who is protected by ground rules like “do not express anger,” it becomes apparent that, intentionally or not, they protect the participants representing privileged groups.

While I do not advocate dropping ground rules altogether; I do support the idea of seriously studying these issues and the possible ramifications of ground rules that might ultimately support the status quo by providing safety and comfort for those who, for the sake of their own learning, most desperately need to be made to feel uncomfortable. Consider opening this conversation within your class or workshop or among colleagues and challenge yourself to make sure that the discussions and dialogues you are setting up do not further oppress historically oppressed people. “


From, The Way They Argue Now: “They should resist the temptation in order to cure liberal proceduralism of potentially inhumane tendencies; after all, procedures without persons do not necessarily lead to justice.”

Please feel free to add more references in the comments section so that we can all spend some time re-visiting the method of autism discourse.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.