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ENGL1301AnalyzingArguments

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Jessica Zbeida

on 29 October 2018

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Transcript of ENGL1301AnalyzingArguments

Analyzing & Constructing Arguments
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.
Conclusion
Analyzing Arguments
When you prepare an argument, you'll need to decide how to organize your ideas. We'll discuss three approaches in detail (
Classical
,
Toulmin
, and
Rogerian
), but keep in mind that all three forms of argument will:
Present a specific, debatable
CLAIM
or position
Use
Good Reasons
and
Evidence
to support the claim
Rely on some
ASSUMPTION
(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
Defining Argument
What is
ARGUMENT
?

A strategic form of communication that presents a specific, debatable
CLAIM
, supported by
REASONS
and
EVIDENCE
, that persuades the audience to do or think something.

An Argument IS NOT:
a Fight or Shouting Match
a Debate

(the goal isn't to win)
Propaganda
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
conversation
-- they are a
RESPONSE
to someone else's ideas.

To figure out where an argument's coming from, think about:
The
Source
(newspaper, blog, etc.)
The
Publisher/Sponsor

The
Stance

When you write, think about
where you're "coming from."
Who are you responding to? What's your stance?
What's the Claim?
Arguments

MUST

make a claim

and

support it with
good reasons
and
evidence
.

The

CLAIM

usually appears in the thesis statement, which

narrows the topic

(subject) and

indicates why it matters

(significance).
*It should be

SPECIFIC

and

DEBATABLE
*Usually in the

introduction

(except Rogerian)
*May be

QUALIFIED

(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?
Classical Argument
Classical argument

was developed in Ancient Greece, and it hasn't changed much. Use a classical argument:
When your topic

isn't really controversial

or divisive.
When your audience

doesn't know a lot

about the topic.
When your audience is likely to

agree with your stance
.
Toulmin Argument
Philosopher
Stephen Toulmin's
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

l
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
I. Introduction
a. "
Hook
"
b. Background/Context
c. Debatable, Specific Claim (
Thesis
)

II. Body:

a. Good Reasons & Evidence (
Grounds
)
b. Underlying Assumption (
Warrant
)
c. Evidence for Warrant (
Backing
)
d.
Counterarguments
/ Other Views

III. Conclusion
a. Sum up or restate main points
b. Implications/Significance ("
So What?
" question)
Analyzing Arguments
I
n college, you'll need to write and analyze arguments. To do this, you'll need to ask several questions:
Where's the argument

coming from
?
What's the

CLAIM
?
What's
AT STAKE
?
What

means of persuasion

are used?
What

other perspectives

are considered?

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
Dr. Zbeida

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
STASIS
, 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
" of
persuasion,
such as

appeals to

LOGOS, ETHOS,
and
PATHOS.
PERSUASION
is a more general term than
ARGUMENT
, though.
*
Persuasion focuses on
HOW
a writer influences readers.

While persuasion might focus solely on appeals to
pathos
or
ethos
,
argument always requires LOGOS
.
Means of Persuasion
Pathos

--
stirs feelings
and
invokes values
the audience is assumed to hold; should be
FAIR
(don't
manipulate
people).
Ethos
-- relies on the
credibility
and
character
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
LOGOS
. To appeal to
LOGOS
, 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
,
BE SUSPICIOUS
. 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
qualify
your thesis.
Structuring Arguments
Basic Classical Argument Structure:
I. Introduction

-- "Hook,"

Common Ground
,
CLAIM

(thesis)
II. Background

-- Context
or relevant information
III. Reasons & Evidence

-- Appeals to Logos, Ethos, Pathos
IV. Refutation

-- Address Counterarguments
V. Conclusion

-- Sum up; answer "So What?" question
Rogerian Argument
Toulmin argument uses slightly different terminology, including:
Claim

-- Your
Thesis
Grounds

--
Reasons and Evidence
Supporting the Claim
Warrant

--
Assumption
that underlies the Claim
Backing

-- Evidence that
Supports the Warrant
Psychologist
Carl Rogers
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
very controversial
(abortion, gun rights, etc.)
Your audience may
strongly disagree
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.

I. Introduction
-- (a) identifies the issue; (b) briefly describe the different view or positions on the issue (be neutral and fair).

II. Body
-- (a) discusses the various positions
respectfully
; (b) presents
reasons and evidence
to show why each position would have merit in some context; (c) presents the
WRITER'S POSITION
(thesis); (d) establishes
COMMON GROUND
between all the points of view.

III. Conclusion
-- (a) proposes some kind of
resolution
; (b) demonstrates why
compromise benefits all parties
.
Analogy
Classification
Definition
Humor
Narration
Reiteration
Cause/Effect
Comparison/Contrast
Description
Examples
Problem/Solution
The best arguments use a variety of strategies to support a claim.
Full transcript