What are the basics of what maeks good argument

I often talk to my friend and it infuriates me because he makes stupid claims which I know are false but I can’t quite explain why.

He will make a claim but offer no reasons as to why it is so (I suppose this would be one point of making a good argument). He just keeps repeating the claim- ‘You can’t do X because of Y’ but offers nothing to substantiate it.

What other factors make a ‘good’ argument?

In an argument each person always thinks the other person is being unreasonable and irrational.

There are two basic factors - premises that can be accepted as true, and valid argument form. As a practical matter, you’re not going to convince many people if you don’t use mutually accepted premises.

Sounds like you don’t accept the truth of the premises. The form isn’t going to matter much if the premises cannot be accepted as true. Why can’t you explain why the premises (claims) are not true?

Give us a couple of examples.

I think I see after a few rewrites what the problems with his arguments are. He draws a conclusion based on premises that are GENERALLY the case, but not necessarily so. I just looked at this resource: philosophy.hku.hk/think/arg/goodarg.php and as with the example of the baby who will not be good at quantum physics he does just the same thing (although in my case it is not as likely that the baby will be bad at physics; ie it has been a general trend but not necessarily so). So he is using invalid arguments. I will have to think of an example which would be relevant to others as the claims he makes are part of some esoteric field we do which would not be easily relatable to others so let’s see if I can preserve the essence of his argument in my transposition…

*this has proved harder than I thought with several rewrites but it’s making me learn more about the structure of his errors each time I write it :-k *

Let me think of an example which has relatively equal plausibility to what he says:

Him: No men I have met/know have been good at X using Y*
Therefore: Noone can be good at X

*based on a very limited data sample. For the field in question it is quite plausible that he would make this claim as many are not, but by no means all as he has not met any where near all members of said group and is drawing a conclusion only from this small sample. It would be more accurate to say: so far, in general, noone I have met has been successful at doing X using Y

I ask: So noone could has ever been good at X using Y?
I can’t recall what he said here but it wasn’t showing any signs of him changing his position.

I guess I have now diagnosed what is the problem with his argument now but what might I do to show him such? I think what irks me is that he is think it cannot be so when clearly that is not NECESSARILY so. How might I make this clearer to him? Now I know the structure better I can be better armed next time something of this nature comes up, but any other tips to help me along?

You mean, “I know of no men who can use a hula-hoop, therefore no men can use a hula-hoop”?

That’s just induction masquerading as deduction.

It’s “disproven” by a counter-example, or simply dismissed as a probability and not a proven fact.

Look up the difference between induction and deduction. Try the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, or even Wiki.

Induction establishes (at best) probabilities. Deduction can’t lead from particulars to a generalisation. It can lead from generalaisation to another generalisation, however.

Can you just give us a specific case? Without the alphabet soup?

Hmm yea the difference between induction and deduction is something that’s interested me for a while.

Well I don’t see how much more helpful it would be as you could just put an X or Y in of your choice, whatever best suits your weltenchauung.

It’s hard because the specific case wouldn’t be relevant to you and it’s tough thinking of examples which would have equal plausibility of premises and same sort of conclusion.

Your hula hoop example would suffice, however, in terms of real counter examples, on my part I would not off the top of my head be able to offer evidence of an example who is able to use a hula hoop in the thing we would be talking about. I am quite confident they exist just that I wouldn’t have examples ready to hand that they do. So pretty much it is 50/50 although I think it is more in my favour cos there is no substantial reason why they SHOULDN’T be able to use hula hoops just other than that it has generally been the case up to this point. I think his skepticism of whether people can use hula hoops is due to his lack of ability to use hula hoops himself given that he tried for almost 2 years unsuccessfully. So it is mainly his personal opinion which tints his conclusion.

It sounds like it is also your own personal opinion that tints your conclusions.
You are shooting at the wrong target and so you will always miss and get frustrated.

It sounds like you are trying to prove the person wrong rather than prove the logic wrong.
Do you think my understanding is accurate?

Aim for the logic and not the person and you will always find the best course of action.

This is a bit Zen but it is very true - and as always, this is not what people want to hear.