Argumentation
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Argumentation

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A brief overview of argumentation and persuasion as well as coverage of some logical fallacies.

A brief overview of argumentation and persuasion as well as coverage of some logical fallacies.

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    Argumentation Argumentation Presentation Transcript

    • Argumentation: A Primer “Happiness is when everyone agrees that I’m right!”
    • What is Argumentation?
        • Argumentation -- clear thinking, logic to convince reader of the soundness of a particular opinion on a controversial issue.
        • Persuasion -- emotions used to convince reader to take a particular action.
        • Persuasion and argumentation are often combined.
    • Arguments must have the following:
      • Logos
      • Ethos
      • Pathos
    • Logos
      • "Logos" or soundness of argument -- facts, statistics, examples, and authoritative statements to support viewpoint.
      • Evidence must be: unified, specific, sufficient, accurate, and representative. This is the main strength of the argument.
    • Pathos
      • "Pathos" -- appeals to readers' needs, values, and attitudes, encouraging them to commit themselves to a viewpoint or course of action.
      • Pathos is derived from language (connotative -- strong emotional overtones).
    • Ethos
      • "Ethos" -- credibility and integrity. Prove to the reader that you're knowledgeable and trustworthy.
      • Give a balanced approach, acknowledge differing points of view; give lots of support for your viewpoint.
    • There are two basic types of reasoning:
      • Inductive reasoning -- draw a conclusion from using specific details.
      • (Small to big)
      • Deductive reasoning -- apply a generalization to a specific case.
      • (Big to small)
    • There are lots of things to consider.
      • First: There are perfectly wonderful, reasonable, intelligent people who disagree with you absolutely. (And there are dunderheads who may agree with you.) The moral: judge the argument, not the person.
    • Know what you know.
      • You need to be certain of what you know as well as of what you are uncertain -- that knowledge affects your use of proofs as well as your use of language.
    • Don’t offend.
      • Goodwill -- readers are more likely to listen to an argument if it is reasoned, cool, calm, and relatively dispassionate.
      • Focus on the issues, not the reader or opponent.
    • Know the history.
      • Be able to identify the controversy of your issue and why there is a controversy in the first place.
    • Know all sides.
      • You should be able to see the validity of both (all) sides of an issue.
      • Also, you should be able to determine what the two sides may agree on.
    • What can you do with both sides?
      • Refutations -- restate opposing points of view, acknowledge the validity of some of the arguments given by opponents, point out common grounds, present evidence for your position.
      • You must be able to refute the opposition in order to have a strong argument (and get an “A” on your essay).
    • Things to avoid:
      • faulty conclusions, post hoc fallacy (cause-effect sequential but not related); non sequitur fallacy (conclusion has no connection to evidence); ad hominem argument (attach person rather than point of view);
    • More things to avoid:
      • faulty authority (when authority is in doubt); begging the question (reader expected to accept a controversial premise without proof); false analogy (two things share all characteristics if they share only a few); either-or fallacy (viewpoint can only have one of two solutions); red herring argument (deflect attention).
    • Structure
      • There is no one “better” way to structure an argument. Whatever works, whatever is actually convincing, is the “right” way to do it.
      • Do consider the “Rogerian” method, however, because it does contain all elements of a strong argument.
    • More stuff to think about:
      • Always be thorough. Find out what you don’t know -- do your research -- and don’t spout nonsense.
      • Avoid loaded words and prejudicial statements -- generalizations that are vague and often misleading and inaccurate.
    • Language issues:
      • Vary sentences structure.
      • Be aware of homonyms.
      • Be aware of transitions.
      • Be aware of connotations and denotations.
      • Have a clearly identifiable thesis.
    • Things to remember.
      • Avoid announcements. Please never say something like, “In this paper I will discuss…” That is fine for papers written in science or math classes, but it is not acceptable in an English class.
    • Possible Beginnings
      • Broad statement narrowing to a limited subject (end introduction with thesis statement)
      • Brief anecdote leading up to thesis
      • Comparative or opposite ideas leading up to thesis
      • Series of short questions leading to thesis
      • Quotes leading to thesis
      • Refutation of a common belief leading up to a thesis
      • Dramatic fact or statistic leading to thesis
    • Possible Conclusions
      • Summary of information presented (useful if your argument is long and/or complicated)
      • Prediction based on information presented
      • Quotation leading to concluding statement
      • Statistics leading to concluding statement
      • Recommendation or call for action
    • Double Check These:
      • Does the paper answer the assignment given?
      • Does the paper address your audience?
      • Does the paper have the appropriate tone?
      • Does the paper serve the purpose intended?
      • Is the thesis clear and easily understood?
      • Add information where it appears to lack adequate support.
    • More to remember:
      • Delete useless or confusing information.
      • Do all of the supporting statements actually support the thesis?
      • Are clear transitions used between thoughts, ideas, paragraphs?
      • Are the introduction and conclusion adequate and appropriate?
      • Is your organization systematic and methodical (consistent throughout the paper)?
    • More to consider:
      • Consider sentence structure and length.
      • Reconsider word choice. Never use profanity or slang. Always identify abbreviations.
      • Proofread for correct grammar, punctuation, typing errors.
      • REPEAT ALL OF THIS UNTIL YOU ARE SATISFIED (or cannot stand to look at it anymore).
    • Last Items
      • Give your paper a title
      • Make sure that your paper is on correct paper stock, typed, and legible.
      • Make sure that your paper is properly identified with your name, course title, date, and paper title
      • Make a copy of your paper and keep it as a record for yourself
      • Turn in your paper on time