You should display your training in inductive reasoning against …
You should display your training in inductive reasoning against a
young man, in deductive against an expert. You should try, moreover, to secure from those skilled in deduction their premisses, from inductive reasoners their parallel cases; for this is the thing in which they are respectively trained. In general, too, from your exercises in argumentation you should try to carry away either a syllogism on some subject or a refutation or a proposition or an objection, or whether some one put his question properly or improperly (whether it was yourself or some one else) and the point which made it the one or the other. For this is what gives one ability, and the whole object of training is to acquire ability, especially in regard to propositions and objections. For it is the skilled propounder and objector who is, speaking generally, a dialectician. To formulate a proposition is to form a number of things into one-for the conclusion to which the argument leads must be taken generally, as a single thing-whereas to formulate an objection is to make one thing into many; for the objector either distinguishes or demolishes, partly granting, partly denying the statements proposed.
Do not argue with every one, nor practise upon the man in the street: for there are some people with whom any argument is bound to degenerate. For against any one who is ready to try all means in order to seem not to be beaten, it is indeed fair to try all means of bringing about one’s conclusion: but it is not good form. Wherefore the best rule is, not lightly to engage with casual acquaintances, or bad argument is sure to result. For you see how in practising together people cannot refrain from contentious argument.
It is best also to have ready-made arguments relating to those questions in which a very small stock will furnish us with arguments serviceable on a very large number of occasions. These are those that are universal, and those in regard to which it is rather difficult to produce points for ourselves from matters of everyday experience.