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Transcript of ENGL1301AnalyzingArguments
What do you think when you hear the word "argument"?
What Is Argument?
Arguments are complicated, but they're also a pervasive, important part of our lives.
To succeed in academic and professional life, you'll need to be able to understand, analyze, and construct arguments.
When you prepare an argument, you'll need to decide how to organize your ideas. We'll discuss three approaches in detail (
), but keep in mind that all three forms of argument will:
Present a specific, debatable
to support the claim
Rely on some
(a value or reason the audience accepts)
Arguments are only as strong as the reasons and evidence used to support them. As you develop your ideas, you may want to use the following strategies to support your claim:
Strategies for Supporting Argument
A strategic form of communication that presents a specific, debatable
, supported by
, that persuades the audience to do or think something.
An Argument IS NOT:
a Fight or Shouting Match
(the goal isn't to win)
A Statement of Fact, Belief, or Personal Taste
Neutral (it takes a stand)
Characteristics of Argument
Where's the Argument Coming From?
All arguments are part of an ongoing
-- they are a
to someone else's ideas.
To figure out where an argument's coming from, think about:
(newspaper, blog, etc.)
When you write, think about
where you're "coming from."
Who are you responding to? What's your stance?
What's the Claim?
make a claim
support it with
usually appears in the thesis statement, which
narrows the topic
indicates why it matters
*It should be
*Usually in the
(limited in scope)
When you write, your goal is to convince the audience that a position is reasonable.
What do you want to argue? Why does it matter?
was developed in Ancient Greece, and it hasn't changed much. Use a classical argument:
When your topic
isn't really controversial
When your audience
doesn't know a lot
about the topic.
When your audience is likely to
agree with your stance
approach to argument is more like a legal case.
The goal is to do the best you can with the evidence.
Use Toulmin Argument when:
Your audience is
ike a jury
(skeptical) and has
some knowledge of the subject
Your goal is to
convince readers your claim has merit
Toulmin Argument - Basic Structure
c. Debatable, Specific Claim (
a. Good Reasons & Evidence (
b. Underlying Assumption (
c. Evidence for Warrant (
/ Other Views
a. Sum up or restate main points
b. Implications/Significance ("
n college, you'll need to write and analyze arguments. To do this, you'll need to ask several questions:
Where's the argument
means of persuasion
Whether you want to understand someone else's position or state your own, these questions will help you think critically about argument.
ENGL 1301: Composition I
Arguments vary across media and genre, but they share some features, such as:
an Explicit Position (Claim, Thesis)
a Response to What Others Have Said
Appropriate Background Information
Good Reasons and Evidence
A Clear Sense of Why the Topic Matters
Attention to Other Points of View
An Appropriate, Credible Tone
An Appeal to Readers' Values
What's at Stake?
In ancient Rome, rhetoricians developed the concept of
, or the point where you and your audience diverge on an issue. It's where your argument begins.
You can determine
what's at stake
(stasis) by asking four questions:
1. What are the facts?
2. How can the issue be defined?
3. How much does it matter, and why?
4. What actions should be taken as a result?
When you write, think about how you can use these questions to identify the crux of your position.
Means of Persuasion
Aristotle wrote that strong arguments use "
all the available means
is a more general term than
Persuasion focuses on
a writer influences readers.
While persuasion might focus solely on appeals to
argument always requires LOGOS
Means of Persuasion
the audience is assumed to hold; should be
-- relies on the
of the person making the argument; you establish ethos by
being fair and ethical
in your writing.
Give others credit.
Describe other's views fairly.
Acknowledge what you don't know.
Means of Persuasion
The most important means of persuasion for academic arguments is the appeal to
. To appeal to
, you'll need to include certain types of evidence in your writing, including:
Facts & Statistics Observations
Surveys & Questionnaires Interviews
Expert Opinions/Testimony Experiments
Personal Experience Charts, Images
You also need to
AVOID flaws in reasoning
(logical fallacies) when you write.
What about Other Perspectives?
When you read or write an argument, it's important to consider what other perspectives exist on the topic.
If a writer doesn't consider other points of view
. Good writers establish credibility (ETHOS) by showing they value other perspectives.
When you acknowledge or critique other views, be sure to:
Describe the position in
fair, neutral language
Be sure not to
overstate your position
Consider how you might
Basic Classical Argument Structure:
or relevant information
III. Reasons & Evidence
-- Appeals to Logos, Ethos, Pathos
-- Address Counterarguments
-- Sum up; answer "So What?" question
Toulmin argument uses slightly different terminology, including:
Reasons and Evidence
Supporting the Claim
that underlies the Claim
-- Evidence that
Supports the Warrant
recognized that people are more likely to listen to you when you listen to them.
The goal of Rogerian Argument is to find common ground and compromise.
Use Rogerian Argument when:
Your topic is
(abortion, gun rights, etc.)
Your audience may
with your claim
You can approach this issue with
an open mind
You genuinely want
to understand others' views
You want to find solutions for complicated problems
Rogerian Argument - Basic Structure
Rogerian argument differs in its approach,
presenting others' views first
before the claim and the writer's position.
-- (a) identifies the issue; (b) briefly describe the different view or positions on the issue (be neutral and fair).
-- (a) discusses the various positions
; (b) presents
reasons and evidence
to show why each position would have merit in some context; (c) presents the
(thesis); (d) establishes
between all the points of view.
-- (a) proposes some kind of
; (b) demonstrates why
compromise benefits all parties
The best arguments use a variety of strategies to support a claim.