Arguments that seal themselves and learn to fight fairly
A particularly powerful fallacy of reasoning in arguments of
personal beliefs, ideologies or world views is the
self-sealing argument. Self-sealing arguments take
positions that no evidence can refute. While this
it can look attractive and a good way to win any argument,
Self-sealing arguments are useless and potentially
harmful to relationships.
One of the most common forms of self-sealing.
arguments is to claim that the other person is not sophisticated
learned enough or enough to understand the concept being
argument. It is evident in the following conversation:
John: All families are dysfunctional.
Mike: My family was not dysfunctional. I had a good
John: That shows how dysfunctional it was. You are in
Mike: I’m not denying it. It was good.
John: You are also in denial. You are too dysfunctional to
see how dysfunctional his family was.
Regardless of the argument Mike makes, John will use it as
“proof” your point. Self-sealing arguments often focus on
beliefs, attributes or personal attitudes. The Arguer – John,
in this example, for some personal reason it is set
as the expert, the one who knows, and Mike is relegated to
the subordinate position. Nothing Mike can say will
refute John’s position. Just try it. John will tell you who you are
Carolyn, her mother, and two sisters appeared at a
TV talk show as an example of a separated family.
All four agreed that they were upset and angry with
each other for many years.
Carolyn recounted many cases in which her sisters did not try
her with love or justice. She was mad at her mother for
siding with her sisters in disputes and not supporting her.
Meanwhile, Carolyn’s mother and sisters agreed on things
Carolyn hadn’t always done well. She was hard to be
around, and they hadn’t spent much time with her. His
mother kept trying to say that she loved Carolyn, wanted a
relationship with her, but Carolyn rejected his advances.
Then the host of the show suggested that Carolyn sit closer.
to his mother, rather than on the edge of the set. Carolina
jumped up and yelled, “They only do this because
we are on TV. They don’t really love me. She says she does
but she doesn’t. “
Seeing Carolyn was very painful. She didn’t just say no
you loved her, but it seemed you didn’t feel loved. She does not
I want to stop being angry. She wanted revenge on her
family for what they had done, not to overcome the wounds of the past
all had experimented.
Carolyn’s self-sealing logic kept her stagnant. It does not matter that
her relatives said, or anyone else said, she
interpreted it as: “They don’t love me. They don’t care
me. Nothing they did or said could change his mind.
Whatever they said wasn’t the right thing to say, they didn’t
seriously, or more repeatedly, things should have been
different or better many years ago, so nothing can be done
today to do better.
Carolyn was caught up in getting revenge instead of putting
the problems behind them. She wanted her family
limbs to hurt as much as her. She used
your interpretations of your behavior to support your pain.
Logicians call the personalization of an argument an ad hominem
fallacy, or attacking the person, not the argument.
As a child psychologist, Leon often testifies as an expert
witness in child custody cases. He’s used to last
examinations of lawyers who fight for the rights of their clients
and objectives. Sometimes those lawyers seem to attack
him personally, his credentials, or his goals for the
case. After a particularly grueling court appearance,
Leon’s young associate asked him why he smiled when
He was being so brutally attacked by one of the lawyers.
“Simple,” Leon replied. “When they start attacking me, I
I know that I have won. There’s nothing I’ve said that you can disagree with
Leon had learned that when the attacks turned
staff, there was nothing else that could be attacked.
His work was unassailable. So they had to go after
him personally. Attacking the person is the reserve position
of a fighter who has to win at any cost and knows that it is
Facing these kinds of arguments is really frustrating.
Nothing you can say will be accepted as proof that
they are right. Everything you say can and will be twisted
provide further proof that your opponent is correct. Even carrying
in a conversation with someone who closes himself is a
real test. No matter what you say, your words prove that they are
One of your best responses might be to say, “If your
sustains the argument, you should be able to predict what
it will not happen. If it can’t be used for predictions, then really
it says nothing. Think of a specific example so that we can
talk about it. “Usually they will walk away or claim you
they are not smart enough to see it. Just smile at this point. Your
I got them.
Or if you want to exit argument mode, just say “I
I did not buy it. I don’t think all families are dysfunctional. U.S
I do not agree on this “.
Self-sealing arguments sometimes occur when one
The person takes an idiosyncratic view of a problem and then
arbitrarily rejects or avoids someone else’s position because
is different. Again, no matter what you say, they won’t
Agree and you will say that you are wrong.
What passes for conventional wisdom, or worst of
stereotyped thinking, can be self-sealing arguments.
“Everybody knows that Latinos are great lovers” or “Women can’t
be counted as leaders because they are not trustworthy
several days a month “or” All men are only interested in one
“When people really believe that these statements are
“truth and reality, the way the world really is”, there is no
amount of evidence that will change your mind.
Howard missed an important meeting and lost face with
Your boss. I was furious with Elaine, her administrative support
person. He said that she hadn’t given him the message. Her
said he had. Said she was a liar. Howard did not have
the message and Elaine was unable to produce the piece of
paper with the message. Therefore, Elaine was lying.
When Elaine tried to explain, she had emailed her.
message with the information, Howard replied that the email
did not count. Everyone knew the email wasn’t real
Howard and Elaine were part of a working group that was
scattered in various buildings over eighteen acres. Tea
the group had agreed to use email for important scheduling
messages instead of physically tracking each other
under. Howard wasn’t the only one who didn’t like the
change, but he was the only one who wouldn’t use the new
system. I would only use “real communication”, written in
on paper or spoken in person.
No matter what Elaine said, Howard claimed he was
right and it was her fault that he missed the
appointment. Its definition of notification did not include
what he had done to notify her. Discarding email
like not a real communication i could tell she was wrong
using it, and not having to admit that he was wrong for not using it.
With self-sealing arguments, whatever happens will be
prove a point, so the position loses its ability to predict what
it can and / or will happen. Logicians call this kind of
empty or empty arguments. They are a form of logic
fallacy or logical error.
Self-sealing positions are difficult to refute and argue
around. They often acquire the fervor of a religious or
political argument and serve as sounding boards for a point
of view, rather than representing any attempt to participate in
discussion or dialogue. It is often more effective to declare
what is happening, to face the interaction process,
instead of trying to change someone’s position or
influence your thinking.
This becomes an example of knowing when to count.
your losses and stop playing the game. The only way
to “win” is to stop playing.
Conflict is inevitable. We will always have differences with
our loved ones, friends and colleagues. Is not having
arguments that is the problem, but how do we argue that it is
hard. Arguing can bring people closer together and increase their respect for each other and for themselves. Or you can put a gap between people
pushing them further and even destroying their
When we focus on winning at any cost, overwhelm
someone else, it is easy to fall into logical errors, problems
with clearly defining our positions, or even without using
accurate data to support our positions.
By understanding the types of logical errors we can
to do in the heat of an argument, we can refocus on the
problems, clarify our positions and reach a better resolution
of the problems that divide us.