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Persuasion and Argument

From the Riverside Reader

Christina Chatel

on 2 May 2018

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Transcript of Persuasion and Argument

a statement of belief or
that the writer undertakes to support (with
) and explain (your
). This is your starting point!
The difference between
Both the assertion and the support are highly emotional, depending heavily on biased language and strong appeals to feelings and instincts.
the assertion and support are strictly rational, depending on logical explanations and appeals to intelligence.
HOWEVER… Authors balance both!
Exception to the rule:
Some occasions call for appeals to pride and patriotism, for vivid metaphors that reach the senses, and for strong language that arouses passion.
Ceremonial discourse
1. support a cause.
2. make a commitment.
3. take action.
4. try to change a situation.
5. change behavior or attitudes.
6. refute a theory.
7. arouse sympathy.
8. stimulate concern.
9. win agreement.
10. provoke anger.
**Often, several of these purposes will be combined in one piece of writing.**
A. Readers who
already agree
with the writer’s ideas and are reading mainly for
. (Don’t expect tightly reasoned, carefully structured argument; want to see position stated with vigor and conviction.)
B. Readers who are
in and are
inclined to agree
with the issue but want to know more. (Don’t expect a completely rational argument and won’t object to slanted language or emotional examples to strengthen a point.)
C. Readers who are
on an issue and want explanations and arguments based on evidence and logical reasoning before they make up their minds. (Want a carefully developed and factual argument, although a writer can reinforce facts with opinions.)
D. Readers who are
about an issue and will not take a stand until they hear both sides of an argument explained in complete detail. (Want data and documentation from someone knowledgeable, capable, and balanced.)
To construct an argument, you must collect one or more of the following kinds of evidence:
Conclusions inferred from facts
Reports facts, but not always trustworthy
Expert witness
Provides facts and authority, but could be biased or disputed by other experts
Arranging Evidence
(a.k.a. scientific method) begins by presenting
specific evidence
and then moves to a
general conclusion
. This reflects the history of investigation, collecting a cross-section of evidence until a pattern emerges.
begins with a general statement or major premise that when restricted by a minor premise leads to a specific conclusion.
(a.k.a. nonthreatening argument) arranges evidence so that all parties believe their position has received a fair hearing. This takes audience hesitations into account.
Induction begins with the same two letters as the word
, which can help you remember that in induction, you start with a limited number of observations and increase that number by generalizing.
Because deduction rhymes with
you can easily remember that in deduction, you start with a set of possibilities and reduce it until a smaller subset remains.
For example....
Instead of trying to win an argument,
you try to improve communication and increase understanding
. Begin by composing an objective description of the controversy.
Then draft a complete and accurate statement of your opponents' positions, supplying evidence that makes each position credible. This is called making a
Next, show where and why you and the various parties agree.
Then present your own argument explaining where it differs from other positions and why it deserves serious consideration.
Finally, present a proposal that might resolve the issue in a way that recognizes the interests of all concerned.
"Everybody here is so nice!"
For example, suppose you spend the weekend in a small town and the first five people you meet are friendly, so you inductively conclude the following:
In other words, you started with a small set of examples and you increased it to include a larger set.
By the end of the story, he or she has reduced this set to only
one person
and has confirmation of the criminal
Typically, the detective begins with a set of
possible suspects
— for example, the butler, the maid, the business partner, and the widow.
For example, The detective's
is that the business partner committed the crime. He

hypothesizes and observes,"The victim died in the bathtub but was moved to the bed. But, neither woman could have lifted the body, nor could the butler with his war wound. Therefore, the business partner must have committed the crime."
(a.k.a. the thesis!)
Collecting Evidence:
a murder mystery!
Tentative Hypothesis
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