Although I spent the bulk of my high school philosophy classes turning the philosophers on the worksheets into drag-queens, I can still help you find an obscure philosophy reference that you can bring up in an argument, to win, or at least confuse the person you’re dealing with. So here’s some tips:
(*side note – these techniques are enhanced ten-fold when you add “so shove that up your bollocks!!!!” to the end of the conversation. And possibly flip them the bird a few times in case there’s any confusion)
The old ‘that’s a fallacy’ defence
Its surprisingly hard to completely avoid fallacies, and even bringing up the word fallacy, is quite intimidating (and a hint douchey). Common fallacies you could look for include:
- Slippery Slope – one course of action will invariably cause one particular consequence
- Straw Man – the arguer creates a simplified version of what you said and criticises that, rather than your original argument
- Naturalistic fallacy – stating that something is moral because it exists in nature
Pull a Socrates
Engage them in a long, tedious dialogue where you insist on an in-depth analysis of every point they’ve just made and the meaning of each word they’ve just used (and do it in a toga for full effect)
If deep down you know that you’re the one who’s fucked up
- Virtue Theory – this believes that a virtuous person will always make the right choice, so you could try making a big case about how you’re very virtuous to justify yourself
- Utilitarianism – If your course of action caused more pleasure for the most amount of people than it caused harm, you could bring up utilitarianism. OR you could say that it just caused so much happiness for you personally that it justifies it (but that might be rubbing salt in the wound)
- Perspectivism – The truth differs depending on where it’s viewed from. Or you could really take it up a notch by asking ‘what is truth?’ and bringing up Dualism. They’ll be so distracted by pondering their existence and whether they’re a brain in a jar they might forget the whole unpleasantness.
- Idealism – this is perfect for if you’ve eaten some of your room-mates food for example. Simply state that an object/thing can only exist so long as its being perceived – if you can’t see your box of pop-tarts, maybe they never existed to begin with? Mention John Locke in there as well to really look like you know what you’re talking about.
- Bringing up Lacan – Jacques Lacan wrote an analysis of a widely reported case of a woman called Aimee who had stabbed an actress. Lacan suggested that in stabbing the actress Aimee was stabbing herself, because the actress was the embodiment of who she wanted to be. You could use this to flatter somebody maybe? Like, I did the wrong thing by you because I think you’re the greatest! Lets hug!
- Bringing up Nietzsche – you could use the old ‘Will to Power’ argument that Nietzsche and Foucault were so fond of. A belief that meaning, ideas, rules, truth ect. do not emerge naturally but are created to support the strongest social group. So you didn’t do the wrong thing, you were making a stand against a social construct! Or bring up Slave & Master Morality (also known as the ‘don’t hate me cause I’m awesome defence’) which in summary believes that your actions and character are not two separate entities:
‘popular morality separates strength from the manifestation of strength as though they were indifferent substratum’