To aid the understanding and construction of quality arguments, Paul Graham has created a “disagreement hierarchy”: a study on how (and how not) to disagree.
We can use this classification system to ensure that when we respond to a person’s reasoning, we respond to it in a way that is constructive for the conversation (by avoiding responses low in the hierarchy—DH0, DH1, etc.).
- DH0 Name-calling.
- DH1 Ad Hominem.
- DH2 Responding to Tone.
- DH3 Contradiction.
- DH4 Counterargument.
- DH5 Refutation.
- DH6 Refuting the Central Point.
It’s a simplification of a complex area, useful as a reference. Graham suggests the following benefit, among others:
The most obvious advantage of classifying the forms of disagreement is that it will help people to evaluate what they read. In particular, it will help them to see through intellectually dishonest arguments.