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Chapter 10: Arguing a Position

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Paul Mills

on 9 April 2014

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Transcript of Chapter 10: Arguing a Position

Third Key Feature
Good Reasons
1. Format of "Organ Sales Will Save Lives"
2. Key Features of an Argument Essay
3. Possible Topics
Sixth Key Feature
A trustworthy tone
"Organ Sales Will Save Lives" by Joanna MacKay
"Governments should not ban the sale of human organs; they should regulate it. Lives should not be wasted; they should be saved."
First Key Feature of Arguments
A clear and arguable position
Second Key Feature
Seventh Key Feature
Chapter 10: Arguing a Position
17 paragraphs:

for the background
4 sources:

New York Times Magazine
(Goyav, Madhav, et al)
Journal Article
Article from a Website
(Radcliffe-Richards, J., et al)
Medical Journal
The author sets up the reader with background information in the first 7 paragraphs (including the intro).
Uses two different sources' ideas, but no direct quotes. Why?

Donors need the money (Goyal)
Feeling good for doing the right thing (altruism) is not enough for donors (general support)
Regulating would lead to better decisions/education/monitored/safer (Radcliffe...)
Fairness (compensation) to sellers (Finkel)
Fairness to buyers (examples)

Donating organs is risky (Radcliffe...)
Selling organs is wrong (Finkel)
Poor people are exploited (Goyal...)
Controlling organ sales would be difficult (Radcliffe...)

Hits on all (or most of) the key points of the essay
Asks a rhetorical question that leaves readers thinking
Must be a claim with which people may reasonably disagree.
What's not arguable?
matters of taste or opinion (I hate sauerkraut)
matters of fact ( The first Star Wars movie came out in 1977)
claims based on faith or belief (life after death)
Must reflect at least two points of view
making reasoned argument necessary.
Selling human organs should be legal (or illegal)
Often you are not arguing that a certain position is correct, but that it is plausible-that it is reasonable, supportable, and worthy of being taken seriously
Necessary Background Information
Sometimes background information is needed so that readers can understand what is being argued.
McKay establishes the need for kidney donors before launching her argument for legalizing the selling of organs
A position on an issue is not enough to make an argument.
Writers need to attach good reasons to back the position up.
McKay bases her argument in favor of legalizing the sale of human organs on:
the grounds that doing so would save more lives
that impoverished people should be able to make risky choices
that regulation would protect such people who currently sell their organs on the black market as well as desperate buyers.
Fourth Key Feature
Convincing Evidence
Reasons need evidence
Expert Testimony
Anecdotal Evidence
Case Studies
Textual Evidence
McKay cites statistics about Americans who die from renal failure to support her argument for organ sales
Fifth Key Feature
Appeals to Readers' Values
Try to appeal to your readers' values and emotions
MacKay appeals to basic values
value of compassion
value of fairness
She also appeals to emotion:
descriptions of people dying of kidney disease
descriptions of poor people selling their organs
Both likely to evoke an emotional response in many readers
The way readers perceive the writer is important.
They need to trust the writer.
Prove that you know what you're talking about
Offer plenty of facts to show your knowledge
Use a self-assured tone
Show you have some experience with your subject
Show that you are fair
Show that you are honest
Careful Consideration of Other Positions
Others my disagree or offer counterarguments

You need to consider those other views and to acknowledge and, if possible, refute them in your written arguments.
MacKay acknowledges that some believe selling organs is unethical
She argues that it is usually healthy, affluent people who say this, not people who need either an organ or the money they could get by selling one.
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