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citing personal experience in a debate, Good or bad?

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Good if all you want to do is tell someone why you believe something, although they have no reason to believe, this is a tricky one where both people are being rational and not reaching a conclusion (unless of course you're lying).
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  • DevonDevon 36 Pts   -  
    Personal experience is good to use in conversation about personal experience or to establish a premise for the existence of something that can be verified by a first-hand account. Systemic data is required for anything beyond that. 
  • xlJ_dolphin_473xlJ_dolphin_473 1224 Pts   -  
    It can be effective as an emotional appeal, but you should not base your entire argument off it. You will need hard evidence as well as logical arguments: an emotional appeal alone can easily be taken down as purely anecdotal evidence.

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3702 Pts   -  
    When someone makes a hard general statement and you have experienced something that contradicts this statement, then it is appropriate to point it out to refute the statement. Ultimately, your experiences are all you have, and if you only rely on other people's accounts to describe reality, then your reality will become conditional upon other people telling the truth, being right, being accurate in their assessment of their own experiences and so on. Everything that others tell you you have to verify in some way, and your experiences offer a major contribution to the verification process.

    I cite my personal experiences all the time, because I see people constantly make claims that are not in line with my observations, and it is easier to point at those observations to illustrate the contradiction, than to just explain in general terms why that should not be the case. People are free not to believe that the observations I am citing are real and not made up: I have no reason to lie about my experience, and people who respect my opinion will respect this fact as well. And those who do not - well, no matter what I say to them, they will not take me seriously anyway.
  • Debater123Debater123 407 Pts   -  
    @anarchist100 Depends on the experience, depends on the debate, this is pretty situational.
  • Happy_KillbotHappy_Killbot 4217 Pts   -  
    Personal experience should never be used as a substitute for hard data, nor should it be accepted as a valid argument. At best, this story is an anecdote, and at worst it is a total fabrication. Especially in an online debate where anyone's personal history and identity are unknown, personal experience carries no discernable weight.

    When someone cites personal experience:

    How do I know what they claim happened at all?

    How do I know the experience doesn't include information the person telling the story is unaware of or withholding?

    How do I know that the experience cited is accurate to what actually happened?

    Since there is no way for me to know these things without some other kind of evidence, I don't consider this to be a good tactic to use in a debate, nor do I find it convincing when someone uses it in any discussion I am in.
    At some point in the distant past, the universe went through a phase of cosmic inflation,
    Stars formed, planets coalesced, and on at least one of them life took root.
    Through a long process of evolution this life 
    developed into the human race.
    Humans conquered fire, built complex societies and advanced technology .

    All of that so we can argue about nothing.
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