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Transcript of Argumentation
Argumentation: appeal to reason, wherein a writer connects a series of statements that lead logically to a conclusion (primary appeals are ethos and pathos)
Different from persuasion because it does not always try to move the audience to action; its primary purpose is to demonstrate that certain ideas are valid and others are not.
Moreover, unlike persuasion, argumentation has a formal structure:
establishes a logical chain of reasoning
refutes opposing arguments
accommodates the audience's views
Argument: against lowering the drinking age to 18
Claim: the state should not condone policies that have a high probability of injuring or killing citizens
Evidence: statistics showing that alcohol-related traffic accidents kill more teenagers than disease does
Evidence 2: study showing that when the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21, fatal accidents declined
Pathos: anecdote about 18 year old alcoholic or drunk drving tragedy (can strengthen argument, but are only persuasion alone)
To analyze an argument, use the Toulmin Method
Dissection that reveals the HOW and WHY of arguments
The Toulmin Method Steps
1. Identify Claims
2. Identify Qualifiers and/or Exceptions
Qualifiers are words like some, most, many, in general, usually, typically,---little words whose value to an argument is critical
Exceptions restrict a claim, so that is is understood to apply in some situations but not in others
Qualifier or exception? Qualifier is one word.
The Toulmin Method Steps
3. Identify Reasons, Weigh their Relevance, Effectiveness, Sufficiency, Credibility, and Accuracy
Claim: Argumentation is an important skill to learn.
Reason: no other type of writing requires a great deal of thought.
Reason: If you examine writing assignments given in various disciplines at college, you will find that many include elements related to argument.
Sufficient? No. Would need several examples, ranging from Engineering to English
Toulmin Method (cont'd)
5. Evaluate the Counterclaim and Rebuttal
Does the author anticpate the audience's objection to his claim?
When a speaker does not address the opposition, his argument is weakened.
After revealing opposing viewpoints, the speaker must then provide reasons why those viewpoints are incorrect (the rebuttal)
You can use the Toulmin Method to:
organize your own strong argument
you can complete an analysis of someone else's argument to determine its efficacy
4. Acknowledge the Warrant:
After making a claim and providing reasons and evidence for those reasons, the author must include warrants to link data and other evidence to a claim, legitimizing the claim by showing the grounds to be relevant. A warrant is the glue that holds an argument together by explaining the connection betwee the evidence and the claim
Example of qualified claim: MANY (qualifier) books by Charles Dickens are fun to read.
Example of unqualified claim: Books by Charles Dickens are fun to read.
Without qualifiers, unqualified claims can lead to vast generalizations that could not possibly be argued.
Exception: Having labored over David Copperfield in high school, I would not rank that book among them.
Exceptions like this one are important. Without them, readers would begin to concoct exceptions of their own. Essentially it is beginning to address the counterargument.
Claim: You should use a hearing aid.
Evidence: Over 70% of all people over 65 years have a hearing difficulty.
Warrant: A hearing aid helps most people to hear better. (notice the qualifier)
It answers the questions "SO WHAT?" or 'Why does that evidence mean your claim is true?' It is the COMMENTARY in your essays. While many warrants are implicit, for the purpose of our class you must explicitly state any warrants when you are writing.
Warrants may be based on logos, ethos or pathos, or values that are assumed to be shared with the listener.
CLAIM You should join my t’ai chi class.
EVIDENCE T’ai chi clears the mind and brings peace to the soul.
WARRANT As an airline pilot, you need a clear mind and a peaceful soul.
CLAIM Forks were not used in France in the fifteenth century.
EVIDENCE Paintings of banquets from that period show no forks on the tables or people eating with them.
WARRANT Contemporary paintings are very good indications of the customs of an age.