Wilson, Douglas, and Nathan D. Wilson. The Rhetoric Companion: A Student's Guide to Power in Persuasion. Moscow, Idaho: Canon, 2011.
Lesson 20, “Invention, Stasis, and the Confirmation and Refutatio” pp. 97-99.
Wilson, counter to the typical order of the progymnasmata, places confirmatio prior to refutatio. This may be warranted depending on the occasion of a speech. “The confirmation is where the speaker assembles the pieces. The refutatio is where he tries to keep his worthy adversary from being able to disassemble the pieces” (Wilson 2011, 97). While it might be tempting to either ignore one’s opponent’s actual arguments or to catalog and address each one, Wilson suggests finding the strategically important point. “A point is strategic when it meets two criteria: being both decisive and feasible. In military terms, a point is decisive when, if captured, the enemy’s cause is lost. It is feasible if you can do it” (Wilson 2011, 97). In all argumentation we must remember the appeal to ethos, not allowing ourselves to seem inhuman and therefore easily attacked (Wilson 2011, 98). In short, find the absolutely critical point of an opponent’s argument which can be overcome. You then win the point.