Why document arguments

When I am in the process of convincing myself or someone else about an idea, I begin by compiling my arguments in a note and figuring out what makes most sense.


Documenting views in this way lets me to gain the following advantages:

  1. Knowledge of reasons favouring a particular decision or option
  2. Opportunity to revisit them later to learn from present experience
  3. Opportunity to test hypotheses
  4. Ability to prioritize them based on relative weight and any unintended consequences
  5. Ability to articulate them in conversation with someone else when needed
  6. Ability to represent a view even in absentia
  7. Space between decision and action for critical analysis and introspection
  8. Space for preparation preceding a discussion
  9. Space for gathering supporting evidence
  10. Space to get thoughts out of my head, leaving me with room for breathing

Process breakdown

Here's a quick breakdown of the steps that I would usually go through:

  1. Make a note with a list of arguments for and against a decision or option in consideration
  2. Add structure with the flow from the problem statement, through challenges faced to proposed solutions
  3. Furnish essential details for each element in the outline
  4. Proceed to have a socratic debate with self based on the above notes
  5. At each stage of the debate, write down or strengthen the arguments that win
  6. Iterate
  7. Share, if needed, as part of your discussion with someone else
  8. Get feedback and rework if new information emerges through the conversation
  9. Save as a guide for future reference

When I manage to write down my views, it affords me space for clarity. It doesn't cost much and it requires little or no skill.

#clarity #iteration #notes #thinking #writing

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