In the theory of classical rhetoric
, stasis is the point of disagreement in a debate
, the point that has to be settled before you can make any more progress
towards a conclusion
Most (but not all) writers on the subject distinguish between four "questions of stasis" originally identified by Hermagoras, called conjectural, definitional, qualitative, and translative, or in Greek, stochasmos, horos, poiotes, and metalepsis.
Conjectural stasis refers to disagreement about matters of fact. "You murdered my best friend!" "Not I. I was elsewhere when your friend was killed."
Defintional stasis is nowadays usually called semantic argument. It refers to a disagreement about what a word or phrase means. "You murdered my best friend!" "The deceased is a dog, not a human being. Only human beings can be murdered."
Qualitative stasis refers to differences in judgment about intangible properties such as virtue. "You murdered my best friend!" "I'd hardly call him your 'best friend' after the way he treated you."
Translative stasis is what you get when someone thinks the topic under discussion is inappropriate for the venue. "You murdered my best friend!" "Can we take this discussion to private email? It's severely off-topic for comp.os.linux.advocacy."