Author(s): Stanley Fish
Reference & Language | No Category
A lively and accessible guide to understanding rhetoric by the world class English and Law professor and bestselling author of How to Write a Sentence. Filled with the wit and observational prowess that shaped Stanley Fish's acclaimed bestseller How to Write a Sentence, Winning Arguments guides readers through the "greatest hits" of rhetoric. In this clever and engaging guide, Fish offers insight and outlines the crucial keys you need to win any debate, anywhere, anytime-drawn from landmark legal cases, politics, his own career, and even popular film and television. A celebration of clashing minds and viewpoints, Winning Arguments is sure to become a classic.
An important book for any lawyer, scholar, or pundit-not to mention any spouse who has tried to walk back fractious words-Fish's shrewd work can help everyone better understand the power of effective communication in everyday life. -- Publishers Weekly Compelling...The points [Fish] presents are philosophical, metaphysical, even ontological. -- Kirkus "Timely... readers will find this latest work simultaneously challenging and accessible." -- Library Journal "A guided tour through some of the most beautiful, arresting sentences in the English language." -- Slate on HOW TO WRITE A SENTENCE "Both deeper and more democratic than The Elements of Style." -- Financial Times on HOW TO WRITE A SENTENCE "[Fish] shares his connoisseurship of the elegant sentence." -- New Yorker on HOW TO WRITE A SENTENCE "How to Write a Sentence is a must read for aspiring writers and anyone who wants to deepen their appreciation of literature. If extraordinary sentences are like sports plays, Fish is the Vin Scully of great writing." -- Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, authors of They Say/I Say
“The acclaimed literary theorist and law professor addresses the concept of argument.
Fish (Cardozo Law School; Think Again: Contrarian Reflections on Life, Culture, Politics, Religion, Law, and Education, 2015, etc.) covers a lot of argumentative territory—political debates, marital spats, courtroom cases, academic analyses—and he is uniquely qualified to provide illumination on all. Fish shows how the arguments omnipresent in each of these arenas may differ—for example, “if you find yourself in an intractable political argument, you may extricate yourself and go home, but it will be the intractable domestic argument that you go home to; it’s always waiting for you.” The metadimension is where the illumination transcends such distinctions and the book’s essence lies: “I am making an argument about argument and its relationship to the human condition,” writes the author. “Basically, argument is the medium we swim in, whether we want to or not.” The points he presents are philosophical, metaphysical, even ontological, because arguments about argument involve inquiry into the nature of truth, the possibility of authority, and the cultural disdain toward words such as “rhetoric” and “spin” that the author considers crucial to these inevitable arguments. The book is not so much about winning arguments as it is about better arguments, ones that elevate the discourse toward a mutual discovery of truth (whatever that is) rather than scoring points toward partisan goals. If we ever were to agree on truth, arguments might cease, or at least decrease, but Fish asserts that this will never happen. “The wish to escape argument is really the wish to escape language,” he writes, “which is really the wish to escape politics and is finally the wish to escape mortality—and it won’t matter a whit.”
...Fish presents a compelling argument about the necessity of argument.”
Kirkus Review (JC BookGrocer)
STANLEY FISH is a professor of law at Florida International University in Miami, and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He has also taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, and Duke University. He is the author of fourteen books, most recently Fugitive in Flight and Save the World on Your Own Time. He lives in Andes, New York, and New York City.