Presumably, this is from Schopenhauer, a German Philosopher, who is quite well-known for his clarity of thinking. Though I never read his works in the university, I have heard of him and his influence on Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and the psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung.
These stratagems to win any argument were lifted from one of his books, The Art of Controversy, which as you will find out is quite controversial indeed. In this book, he enumerated how one can win any argument.
Well, it doesn't necessarily mean that one ought to follow them - one needs to be aware of them in order to deflect any attempts of others in using them to win an argument.
Will I recommend someone using these? I am not sure. Going through the list, I think these do increase the chance of winning an argument - but they do not necessarily facilitate truth nor are they conducive to real, clear communication lines.
I will recommend reading through them in order to know and be aware.
1) Carry your opponent's proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it.
The more general your opponent's statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow your propositions remain, the easier they are defend.
2) Use different meanings of your opponent's words to refute his or her argument.
3) Ignore your opponent's proposition, which was intended to refer to a particular thing.
Rather, understand it and state it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than that which was asserted.
4) Hide your conclusion from your opponent till the end. Mingle your premises here and there in your talk. Get your opponent to agree to them in no definite order.
By this circuitious route you conceal your game until you have obtained all the admissions that are necessary to reach your goal.
5) Use your opponent's beliefs against him.
If the opponent refuses to accept your premises, use his own premises to your advantage.
6) Another plan is to confuse the issue by changing your opponent's words or what he or she seeks to prove.
7) State your proposition and show the truth of it by asking the opponent many questions.
By asking many wide-reaching questions at once, you may hide what you want to get admitted. Then you quickly propound the argument resulting from the opponent's admissions.
8) Make your opponent angry.
An angry person is less capable of using judegment or perceiving where his or her advantage lies.
9) Use your opponet's answers to your question to reach different or even opposite conclusions.
10) If your opponent answers all your questions negatively and refuses to grant any points, ask him or her to concede the opposite of your premises.
This may confuse the opponent as to which point you actually seek them to concede.
11) If the opponent grants you the truth of some of your premises, refrain from asking him or her to agree to your conclusion.
Later, introduce your conclusion as a settled and admitted fact. Your opponent may come to believe that your conclusion was admitted.
12) If the argument turns upon general ideas with no particular names, you must use language or a metaphor that is favorable in your proposition.
13) To make your opponent accept a proposition, you must give him or her an opposite, counter-proposition as well.
If the contrast is glaring, the opponent will accept your proposition to avoid being paradoxical.
14) Try to bluff your opponent.
If he or she has answered several of your questions without the answers turning out in favor of your conclusion, advance your conclusion triumphantly, even if it does not follow. If your opponent is shyr or stupid,and you yourself possess a great deal of impudence and a good voice, the trick may easily succeed.
15) If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent's acceptance or rejection some true poposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it.
Should the opponent reject it because he or she suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject a true proposition.
Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your own for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what the opponent accepted. For this, an extreme degree of impudence is required.
16) When your opponent puts forth a proposition, find it inconsistent with his or her other statements, beliefs, actions, or lack of action.
17) If your opponent presses you with a counter proof, you will often be able to save yourself by advancing some subtle distinction.
Try to find a second meaning or an ambiguous sense for your opponent's idea.
18) If your opponent has taken up a line of argument that will end in your defeat, you must not allow him or her to carry it to its conclusion. Interrupt the dispute, break it off altogether, or lead the opponent to a different subject.
19) Should your opponent expressly challenge you to produce any objection to some definite point in his or her argument, and you have nothing much to say, try to make the argument less specific.
20) If your opponent has admitted to all or most of your premises, do not ask him or her directly to accept your conclusion.
Rather draw the conclusion yourself as if it too had been admitted.
21) When your opponent uses an argument that is superficial and you see its falsehood, you can refute it by setting forth its superficiality.
But it is better to counter with an argument that is just as superficial.
Your concern is victory - NOT truth.
22) If your opponent asks you to admit something from which the point in dispute will immediately follow, you must refuse to do so, declaring that it begs the question.
23) Contradiction and contention irritate a person into exaggerating their statements.
By contradicting your opponent, you may drive him or her into extending the statement beyond its natural limit.
When you then contradict the exaggerated form of it, you look as though you had refuted the orginal statement your opponent tries to extend your own statement further than you intended, redefine your statement's limits.
24) Make a false syllogism.
Your opponent makes a proposition; force from the proposition other propositions that are unintended and are absurd through false inference and distortion.
25) If your opponent is making a generalization, find an instance to the contrary.
Only one valid contradiction is needed to overthrow the oppoent's proposition.
26) A brilliant move is to turn the tables and use your opponent's arguments against him or herself.
27) Should your opponent surprise you be becoming particularly angry at an argument, you must urge it with all the more zeal.
Not only will this make the opponent angry, it may be presumed that you put your finger on the weak side of his or her case, and that the opponent is more open to attack on this point than you expected.
28) You make an invalid objection to your opponent who seems to be defeated in the eyes of the audience.
This strategy is particularly effective if your objection makes the opponent look ridiculous or if the audience laughs.
If the opponent must make a long, complicated explanation to correct you, the audience will not be disposed to listen.
29) If you find that you are being beaten, you can create a diversion - i.e., you can suddenly begin to talk of something else, as though it had bearing on the matter.
This may be done without presumption if the diversion has some general bearing on the matter.
30) Make an appeal to authority rather than reason.
If your opponent respects an authority or an expert, quote that authority to further your case. If needed, quote what the authority said in some other sense or circumstance. Authorities that your opponet fails to understand are those which he or she generally admires thae most. You may also, should it be necessary, not only twist your authorities, but actually falsify them, or quote something that you have invented entirely yourself.
31) If you know that you have no reply to an argument that your opponet advances, you may by a fine stroke of irony, declare yourself to be an incompetent judge.
32) A quick way of getting rid of an opponent's assertion, or throwing suspicion on it, is by putting it into some odious, detestable category.
33) Admit your opponent's premises but deny the conclusion.
34) When you state a question or an argument, and your opponent gives you no direct answer, or evades it with a counter question, or tries to change the subject, it is a sure sign you have touched a weak spot, sometimes without you knowing it.
You must, therefore, pursue the point all the more, and not let your opponent evade it, even when you do not know where the weakness that you have hit upon really lies.
35) Instead of working on an opponent's intellect, work on his or her motive.
If you succeed in making your opponent's opinion, should it prove true, seem dinstinclty to his or her own interes, the opponenentwill drop it like a hot potato.
36) You may also puzzle and bewilder your opponent by mere pomposity or use of highfalutin words.
If the opponent is weak or does not wish to appear as if he or she has no idea what you are talking about, you can easily impose upon him or her some argument that sounds very deep or learned, or that sounds indisputable.
37) Should your opponent be in the right but with a faulty proof, you can easily refute it and then claim that you have refuted the whole position.
This is the way which bad advocates lose a good case.
38) A last trick is to become personal, insulting and rude as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand.
In becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack on the person by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character. This is a very popular trick, because everyone is able to carry it into effect.
via experimentalist.posterous.com and http://melsantos.blogspot.com/2005/06/schopenhauers-38-stratagems-or-38-ways.html. For the complete list in German and in English, see http://coolhaus.de/art-of-controversy/