A meaningful argument is a perfect way of finding the truth and resolving conflicts in various contradictions, ranging from pressing political issues to daily life aspects. However, the key to success is a mutual understanding of what is discussed and what the opinions of all the parties involved are. Incorrect perception of a term or its deliberate misinterpretation can aggravate the existing conflicts and turn the discussion away from its goal. Therefore, giving a correct and mutually understood definition for the term being discussed is a key to a successful argument.
The importance of definition in an argument can be easily shown through various cases, among which is the debate about assessing the current political protests in the United States. Here, the understanding of two terms, protesters and terrorists, is crucial for interpreting the entire political event. While some perceive protesters like the ones fighting against inequality using all available means, others consider using force as a sign of terrorism. This leads to the danger of naming thousands of American criminals and placing them on a par with members of international terrorist organizations. Moreover, the hazard of misinterpreting the term “protesters” is also in distracting the entire discussion from the problem origins. It is also important that since the debate is widely spread, many of its participants are not aware of the definition’s role in it and the pitfalls of different interpretations of key terms. Still, a short formal definition contained in regular dictionaries would not be enough for this argument. The only way to succeed is to reach a mutually agreed extended definition of the critical terms including their context, historical meaning, and current circumstances.
As the example shows, the definition of the key terms is a crucial part of any dispute. Finding the right way to interpret the subject and using the necessary type of definition according to its complexity helps avoid many pitfalls and reach a fruitful discussion. It also reduces the amounts of conflicts between the parties and makes them more willing to come to an agreed solution. Therefore, understanding the importance of definition and mastering the art of finding the correct one in a specific case is essential for a persuasive argument.