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Structure of Arguments

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Jon Greene

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of Structure of Arguments

- lists specific examples and draws a conclusion from them:
I get hives after eating ice cream
My mouth swells when I eat cheese.
Yogurt triggers my asthma.

Dairy products make me sick.

sets out a general principle and applies it to a specific example:
Dairy products make me sick.
Ice cream is a dairy product.

Ice cream will make me sick.

- condensed deductive argument:
Dairy products make me sick.

Therefore, I should not eat ice cream.
Basic Argument
Rogerian/Invitational Argument
Psychologist Carl Rogers = non-confrontational principles
Alternative to confrontational and angry arguments
Learn the opponents position well and describe it fairly.
All parties gain from working together.
Structuring Arguments
- The argument you wish to prove
The federal government should ban smoking.
-Any limits you place on your claim
The ban is limited to public places.
- Support for your claim
Smoking causes serious disease and secondhand smoke endangers nonsmokers.
- Assumptions that support your claim
Citizens are entitled to protection from harm.
- Evidence for the warrant
Dangers of secondhand smoke
Conditions of rebuttal
- potential objections
Smokers have rights too.
address objections

Smokers can still smoke in private.

Toulmin Argument
"The way that ordinary people make reasonable arguments."

Uses qualifiers such as
often, it seems, in some cases, and typically
, which makes this method practical, but less "airtight" than formal logic

This logic quickly became powerful and practical.

"My claim is true, to a qualified degree, because of the following reasons, which make sense if you consider the warrant, backed by these additional reasons."
Toulmin Argument
Rogerian/Invitational Argument
Rogerian/Invitiational Argument Example
Frederick Douglas, former slave
Fourth of July speech 1852
(support for your claim)
So, the federal government should ban smoking
(underlying assumptions that support your claim)
The constitution promises to "promote general welfare", and citizens are thus entitled to protection from harmful actions
The warrant is the bridge between the reasons and the claim.
Classical Argument- Example
- Introduce the subject, try to win the attention and goodwill of the audience

- Present the facts of the case, explain what happened when, who is involved

- Explain what the claim is, what the key issues are, and in what order the subject will be treated

- Offer detailed support for the claim, using both logical reasoning and factual evidence

- Recognize and refute opposing claims or evidence

- Summarize the case, move the audience to action
Classical Argument
Classical Argument
-states you claim, demonstrates that you're fair, gains readers interest willingness to listen
-present important information and personal narrative
Lines of the Argument
-present good reasons, logical and emotional appeals that support your claim
Alternative Arguments
-address alternative points of views, explain why your view is better
-summarizes the argument, elaborates on the implications of your claim, reinforces your credibility, as well as makes clear what you would like the audience to think or do
Exordium (Introduction)
Explains why the document is necessary
Invokes a large audience by stating a need to show "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind"

Narratio (Background)
Because the government of George III has become destructive, the framers of the Constitution abolish their allegiance to him.

Confirmatio (Lines of the argument)
Lists a "long train of abuses and usurpations" by George III

The Declaration of Independence
- describe the problem in terms that show a full understanding and respect for the opposing position

- describe the context in which alternative positions are valid

Writers Position
- state the writer's position and circumstances in which his/her position is valid

Benefits to opponent
- explains to opponents how they [the opponents] would benefit from adopting this position
Cindy Griffin and Sonja Foss outlined this form of argument.
The goal is not to win over opponents, but for people to work together.
It stresses careful listening and "walking in the other person shoes" in order to understand the oppositions point of view.
Acknowledged the "great principles" and "glorious anniversary" the holiday represents

Asked the (white) listeners to see the holiday from a different point of view

"The forth of July is yours, not mine."

"Justice, liberty, prosperity and independence..." given to us by the Declaration of Independence was not shared with African Americans

"Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us."
Toulmin Argument
Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
Classical Oration
Formal (used by Ancient Greeks and Romans)
6 parts: Exordium, Narratio, Partitio, Confirmatio, Refutatio, Peroratio
Focuses on understanding the opponents point of view
Allows the use of qualifiers (i.e sometimes, typically, mostly)
Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
Often includes ethos and pathos
Formal and Confrontational
Declaration of Independence
Non-confrontational and seeks consensus
Four part structure
Frederick Douglas 4th of July speech
Practical and allows the use of qualifiers
Acknowledges the step towards more reasonable and subtle claims
Smoking ban argument
Smoking causes serious disease in smokers and endangers nonsmokers as well
Basic Elements of Structure/Example
Ancient Greek/Roman Structure-6 parts (generally structured close to that of Greek and Roman rhetors)
Updated Version- 5 parts
(argument to prove)
Full transcript