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Critical Thinking: Argumentative Claims

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Katie Friedman

on 16 June 2017

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Transcript of Critical Thinking: Argumentative Claims

All arguments must have claims

A claim is the point that's being made
Explains what something means. Claim of Definition needs to account for how others will define the term
Suggests a particular course of action. Most advertisements are a claim of policy.
Good claims of cause gradually walk you through each step towards the final result
For an audience to accept a claim of value they must deem the thing that should be judged, they must agree with the criteria for judgement, and they must agree that the criteria was applied correctly

This argument claims that you will save money by switching your TV service
There are Five types of claims: claims of definition, value, cause, fact, and policy.

Common Myths about Claims
Myth 1:

A claim should be general so that lots of evidence in the text will support the argument

Usually, a really broad claim can only be supported by really broad evidence, which ends up being description rather than argumentation.

Be specific, concrete, and focused. Think carefully about what you are trying to argue.
Myth 2:

A claim shouldn't include everything the paper is going to say because then it "gives it all away" and eliminates suspense.

You want to be clear about where your argument is going so that your reader can follow along.

State what it is you are trying to do, to argue, and how you plan to accomplish it.
Myth 3:

A claim should never be longer than a sentence

Your claim should tell your readers where you are going, BUT don't feel trapped inside a five paragraph essay.

Present information in a reasonable manner, and place emphasis appropriately, so that readers know what is important.
Myth 4:

The connection between your ideas and your evidence will be obvious

Don't confuse a claim for a topic sentence. They may sometimes be the same thing, but a claim may not fit cleanly into one sentence. It may take more space to discuss completely.

Depending on the essay requirements, your claim should fit into the project at hand.
Myth 5:

A claim should present a theme and provide 3 examples of that theme.

Writing is all about making connections, and making explicit the ways your ideas mix, mingle, and reciprocate other writer's ideas. If you have more than three examples, use them; they will make your argument stronger.
Myth 6:

A claim should be true or correct beyond a doubt so the reader "buys" the argument

Argument is rarely black or white. Argumentative writing is about being able to articulate a position and argue it using academic evidence.

Arguments are often a mixture of assertion, acknowledgment, confirmation, refutation, and concession.
Also called the "proposition" answers the question
"what are you trying to prove?"
Claim of definition:
Questions for claims of definition
What is it?
How should we define it?
What is it like?
How should it be classified?
How should we interpret it?
How does its usual meaning change in a particular context
Claim of cause:
links an effect with a reason
Questions for claims of cause
What caused it?
Where did it come from?
Why did it happen?
What are the effects?
What will probably be the results over the short and the long term?
Claim of value: judges quality
Questions for Claims of Value
Is it good or bad?
How bad?
How good?
Of what worth is it?
Is it moral or immoral?
Who thinks so?
What do those people value?
What values or criteria should I use to determine its goodness or badness?

Claim of policy:
Questions for claims of policy
What should we do about it?
How should we act?
What should our future policy be?
How can we solve this problem?
What concrete course of action should we pursue to solve the problem?
A claim of policy often describes a problem and then suggests ways to solve it.
Claim of Fact
Questions for claims of Fact
Did it happen?
Does it exist?
Is it true?
Is it a fact?

When you insist a paper was turned in on time even if the professor cannot find it, or that you were not exceeding the speed limit when a police officer claims that you were, you are making claims of fact.
Examples of claims of fact
Women are as effective as men in combat.
The ozone layer is becoming depleted.
Increasing population threatens the environment.
Bigfoot exists in remote areas.
Men need women to civilize them.

Example of claims of definition
Marriage as an institution needs to be redefined to include modern variations on the traditional family.
Some so-called art exhibits could more accurately be described as pornography exhibits.
The fetus is a human being, not just a group of cells.
Examples of claims of cause:
Overeating causes disease and early death.
A healthy economy causes people to have faith in their political leaders.
Sending infants to day care results in psychological problems later in life.
Inadequate funding for AIDS research will result in a disastrous worldwide epidemic.
Crime is caused by lack of family values.
Examples of claims of value:
Public school are better than private schools.
Science fiction novels are more interesting to read than romance novels.
Dogs make the best pets.
Mercy killing is immoral.
Computers are a valuable addition to modern society.
Viewing television is a wasteful activity.
Examples of claims of policy:
We should stop spending so much on prisons and start spending more on education.
Children in low-income families should receive medical insurance from the government.
Social security should be distributed on the basis of need rather than as an entitlement.
Identify what type of claim is being made.
What about this one?
And this one:
And finally, this one:
Full transcript