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Writing Arguments

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Information about Writing Arguments

Published on July 28, 2008

Author: gskeesee

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Provides an overview of how to write an argumentative essay--also includes brief discussion of logical fallacies
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Writing Argumentative Essays Mack Gipson, Jr. Tutorial and Enrichment Center Gayla S. Keesee Education Specialist 10/2006

An argument presents logical reasons and evidence to support a viewpoint.

Parts of an Argument ISSUE - problem or controversy about which people disagree CLAIM - the position on the issue (Thesis) SUPPORT - reasons and evidence that the claim is reasonable and should be accepted REFUTATION - opposing viewpoints

ISSUE - problem or controversy about which people disagree

CLAIM - the position on the issue (Thesis)

SUPPORT - reasons and evidence that the claim is reasonable and should be accepted

REFUTATION - opposing viewpoints

Thesis Statements Topic— Issue Controlling Idea— Claim Supporting Details Must be concise and to the point

Topic— Issue

Controlling Idea— Claim

Supporting Details

Must be concise and to the point

Organizing Your Argument Clustering pattern— present information in sections Similar to Comparison/Contrast Organizational Patterns Background Evidence Counterarguments Rebuttal Background Refutation Evidence Summary

Clustering pattern— present information in sections

Background

Evidence

Counterarguments

Rebuttal

Background

Refutation

Evidence

Summary

Organizing Your Argument Alternating pattern Shift between evidence, counterargument, and rebuttal for each separate piece of evidence Similar to Comparison/Contrast Organizational Patterns

Alternating pattern

Shift between evidence, counterargument, and rebuttal for each separate piece of evidence

Organizing Your Argument Problem—Solution General introduction to the problem—background Include thesis statement History of the problem Past attempts at a solution (Sources needed) Extent of the problem who is affected how bad it is (Sources needed) Repercussion if not solved (Sources needed) Conclusion Restatement of thesis and summary of main ideas

Problem—Solution

General introduction to the problem—background

Include thesis statement

History of the problem

Past attempts at a solution (Sources needed)

Extent of the problem

who is affected

how bad it is (Sources needed)

Repercussion if not solved (Sources needed)

Conclusion

Restatement of thesis and summary of main ideas

Types of Claims CLAIM OF FACT - statement that can be proven or verified by observation or research “ Within ten years, destruction of the rain forests will cause hundreds of plant and animal species to become extinct.”

CLAIM OF FACT - statement that can be proven or verified by observation or research

“ Within ten years, destruction of the rain forests will cause hundreds of plant and animal species to become extinct.”

Types of Claims CLAIM OF VALUE - states that one thing or idea is better or more desirable than another. “ Requiring community service in high school will produce more community-aware graduates.”

CLAIM OF VALUE - states that one thing or idea is better or more desirable than another.

“ Requiring community service in high school will produce more community-aware graduates.”

Types of Claims CLAIM OF POLICY - suggests what should or ought to be done to solve a problem. “ To reduce school violence, more gun and metal detectors should be installed in public schools.”

CLAIM OF POLICY - suggests what should or ought to be done to solve a problem.

“ To reduce school violence, more gun and metal detectors should be installed in public schools.”

Types of Support EVIDENCE —show why the claim is valid Reasons Facts Statistics Personal experiences Comparisons Examples EMOTIONAL APPEALS Ideas targeted toward needs or values readers likely to care about

EVIDENCE —show why the claim is valid

Reasons

Facts

Statistics

Personal experiences

Comparisons

Examples

EMOTIONAL APPEALS

Ideas targeted toward needs or

values readers likely to care about

Errors in Supporting Evidence Do not weaken your argument Unfair Emotional Appeals Invalid or unstated assumptions Conclusions that do not logically come from the evidence

Do not weaken your argument

Unfair Emotional Appeals

Invalid or unstated assumptions

Conclusions that do not logically come from the evidence

Unfair Emotional Appeals Emotionally Charged or Biased Language “ Modern universities are infested by the whining of idle intellectuals who force their decadence and discontent onto our captive youth.” infested, whining, idle, force, decadence, and discontent imply writer’s disdain for scholars and will immediately alienate many readers

Emotionally Charged or Biased Language

“ Modern universities are infested by the whining of idle intellectuals who force their decadence and discontent onto our captive youth.”

infested, whining, idle, force, decadence, and discontent imply writer’s disdain for scholars and will immediately alienate many readers

Unfair Emotional Appeals Testimonials/false authorities— assumes that an expert in one field is also an expert in another. athletes endorsing SUV’s movie stars selling shampoo

Testimonials/false authorities— assumes that an expert in one field is also an expert in another.

athletes endorsing SUV’s

movie stars selling shampoo

Unfair Emotional Appeals Appeal to “Common Folk” an ad showing a product being used in an average household a politician suggesting he is like everyone else “ Join the Crowd” Appeal or Bandwagon Everyone else is, so why don’t you…? Everyone else believes that …, so you should also.

Appeal to “Common Folk”

an ad showing a product being used in an average household

a politician suggesting he is like everyone else

“ Join the Crowd” Appeal or Bandwagon

Everyone else is, so why don’t you…?

Everyone else believes that …, so you should also.

Errors in Logical Reasoning Ad Hominem - attack on the person rather than his/her viewpoint “ She says we need more military spending, but that is false, since she is only saying it because she is a Republican.” “ I think that we should reject what Father Jones has to say about the ethical issues of abortion because he is a Catholic priest. After all, Father Jones is required to hold such views.”

Ad Hominem - attack on the person rather than his/her viewpoint

“ She says we need more military spending, but that is false, since she is only saying it because she is a Republican.”

“ I think that we should reject what Father Jones has to say about the ethical issues of abortion because he is a Catholic priest. After all, Father Jones is required to hold such views.”

Errors in Logical Reasoning Guilt by association - a person rejects a claim simply because it is pointed out that people she dislikes accept the claim. “ You think that 1+1=2. But, Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, Joseph Stalin, and Ted Bundy all believed that 1+1=2. So, you shouldn't believe it.” Bin Laden supports Iraq in opposition to the U.S. There is an “alliance of terror” between bin Laden and Iraq, and this is a reason to make war on Iraq.

Guilt by association - a person rejects a claim simply because it is pointed out that people she dislikes accept the claim.

“ You think that 1+1=2. But, Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, Joseph Stalin, and Ted Bundy all believed that 1+1=2. So, you shouldn't believe it.”

Bin Laden supports Iraq in opposition to the U.S. There is an “alliance of terror” between bin Laden and Iraq, and this is a reason to make war on Iraq.

Errors in Logical Reasoning Hasty Generalization - conclusion based on insufficient evidence or bias Someone who is a sexist might conclude that all women are unfit to fly jet fighters because one woman crashed one. “ Because one apple is sour, all of them in the bowl must be sour.”

Hasty Generalization - conclusion based on insufficient evidence or bias

Someone who is a sexist might conclude that all women are unfit to fly jet fighters because one woman crashed one.

“ Because one apple is sour, all of them in the bowl must be sour.”

Errors in Logical Reasoning Either-Or Fallacy - states that only two alternatives exist when in fact there are more than two. “ Because of the violence, TV must be either allowed or banned.” “ My country: love it or leave it.”

Either-Or Fallacy - states that only two alternatives exist when in fact there are more than two.

“ Because of the violence, TV must be either allowed or banned.”

“ My country: love it or leave it.”

Errors in Logical Reasoning Non Sequitur - a conclusion that does not follow from the original statement. “ Because my doctor is young, I’m sure she’ll be a good doctor.” “ Science has not ‘proven’ that EMF can cause cancer ... so what are you worrying about ... it's safe.”

Non Sequitur - a conclusion that does not follow from the original statement.

“ Because my doctor is young, I’m sure she’ll be a good doctor.”

“ Science has not ‘proven’ that EMF can cause cancer ... so what are you worrying about ... it's safe.”

Errors in Logical Reasoning Circular Reasoning/Begging the Question – author supports a conclusion by giving a reason that says the same thing. Conclusion: Gun control legislation needs serious and drastic revision. Supporting Reason: Our country cannot afford to continue without legislative revision.

Circular Reasoning/Begging the Question – author supports a conclusion by giving a reason that says the same thing.

Conclusion: Gun control legislation needs serious and drastic revision.

Supporting Reason: Our country cannot afford to continue without legislative revision.

Errors in Logical Reasoning Slippery Slope - assumes that if one thing is allowed, it will be the first step in a downward spiral If a teenager uses birth control, he/she will have sex more often. If a person uses marijuana, he/she will naturally start using hard drugs soon.

Slippery Slope - assumes that if one thing is allowed, it will be the first step in a downward spiral

If a teenager uses birth control, he/she will have sex more often.

If a person uses marijuana, he/she will naturally start using hard drugs soon.

Errors in Logical Reasoning False Cause - assumes that because one event follows another, the first is the cause of the second “ Because I brought my umbrella today, it didn’t rain.” “ Because I washed my car, it will rain.”

False Cause - assumes that because one event follows another, the first is the cause of the second

“ Because I brought my umbrella today, it didn’t rain.”

“ Because I washed my car, it will rain.”

Checklist for Evaluating Arguments Relevancy and Sufficiency of Evidence Is there enough of the right kind to support your claim? Definition of Terms Terms should be carefully defined and used consistently Cause-Effect Relationships Evidence that the relationship exists should be present

Relevancy and Sufficiency of Evidence

Is there enough of the right kind to support your claim?

Definition of Terms

Terms should be carefully defined and used consistently

Cause-Effect Relationships

Evidence that the relationship exists

should be present

Checklist for Evaluating Arguments Personal Experience May be biased—need additional support Examples Should not be used by themselves Statistics Can be misused, manipulated or misinterpreted Comparisons and Analogies Reliability depends on how closely they correspond to the situation

Personal Experience

May be biased—need additional support

Examples

Should not be used by themselves

Statistics

Can be misused, manipulated or misinterpreted

Comparisons and Analogies

Reliability depends on how closely they correspond to the situation

Offering a Counterargument Demonstrates your credibility Researched multiple sides of the argument Made an informed decision

Demonstrates your credibility

Researched multiple sides of the argument

Made an informed decision

Counterarguing Effectively Consider your audience Conceding some of your opposition’s concerns demonstrates respect for their opinions Remain tactful yet firm No rude or mocking language can cause your audience to reject your position without carefully considering your claims.

Consider your audience

Conceding some of your opposition’s concerns demonstrates respect for their opinions

Remain tactful yet firm

No rude or mocking language

can cause your audience to reject your position without carefully considering your claims.

Checklist for Evaluating Counterarguments Refuting Opposing Viewpoints Address opposing viewpoints clearly and fairly Refute the opposing viewpoint with logic and relevant evidence Question the accuracy , relevancy or sufficiency of the opponent’s evidence

Refuting Opposing Viewpoints

Address opposing viewpoints clearly and fairly

Refute the opposing viewpoint with logic and relevant evidence

Question the accuracy , relevancy or sufficiency of the opponent’s evidence

For a fantastic tutorial The unit is built around one particular type of argumentative essay. It is important to understand that there are many other ways of structuring argumentative essays than the one proposed in this unit. However, the structure outlined here has proved to be very effective in giving students a clear, accessible and useable model for their own essays. http://www.ltn.lv/~markir/essaywriting/frntpage.htm

The unit is built around one particular type of argumentative essay. It is important to understand that there are many other ways of structuring argumentative essays than the one proposed in this unit. However, the structure outlined here has proved to be very effective in giving students a clear, accessible and useable model for their own essays.

http://www.ltn.lv/~markir/essaywriting/frntpage.htm

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