Argumentation

Jocelyn, Luke, Caleb

Objectives

  • Take notes on argumentation
  • Do activities/ reading assignments
  • Fully understand argumentation by the end of class
  • Homework assignment

What is argumentation?

  • Process of reasoning that asserts the soundness of a debatable position, belief, or conclusion.
  • Argumentation takes a stand- supported by evidence.
  • Can be used to convince other people to accept your position.

Understanding Argumentation

  • Persuasion - General term that refers to how a writer influences an audience to adopt a belief or follow a course of action.
  • To persuade an audience, a writer relies on various kinds of appeals. (pathos, ethos, logos, etc.)
  • Argumentation - The appeal to reason.
  • In an argument, a writer connects a series of statements so that they lead logically to a conclusion.
  • Purpose - What you expect your argument to accomplish and how you wish your audience to respond.

Planning an Argumentative Essay

  • Primary purpose is to demonstrate that certain ideas are valid and others are not.
  • Consider all sides of a question. Be able to consider the topic from other people's viewpoints, then use this knowledge to build your case and to refute opposing viewpoints.
  • Develop a strong thesis and make it debatable.
  • Most readers are skeptical- they are open to your ideas but need to be convinced so you have to gather evidence.

Kinds of Evidence

  • Evidence can be fact or opinion.
  • Facts - Statements that most people agree are true and that can be verified independently.
  • Opinions - Interpretations of facts.
  • The opinions of experts are more convincing than are those of individuals who have limited knowledge of an issue.

Criteria for Evidence

1. Your evidence should be relevant; support your thesis and be pertinent to your argument.


2. Your evidence should be representative; it should represent the full range of opinions about your subject, not just one side.


3. Your evidence should be sufficient; it should include enough facts, opinions, and examples to support your claims.


  • The examples and expert opinions you include should also be typical, not aberrant.
  • When using documents to support your stance, make sure to document it by providing the source of the information. Avoid plagiarism.
  • Common knowledge can be presented without documentation.

Dealing with the Opposition

  • When gathering evidence, do not ignore arguments again your position. In fact, specifically address the most obvious - and sometimes not-so-obvious - objections to your position.
  • This part of an argument is called refutation.
  • When an opponent's argument is so compelling that it cannot be easily dismissed, you should concede its strength (admit that it is valid).
  • Traditional strategies of argument rely on confrontation - trying to prove that an opponent's position is wrong. With this method of arguing, one person is "wrong" and one is "right." By attacking an opponent and repeatedly hammering that the message that his or her arguments are incorrect or misguided, a writer forces the opponent into a defense position that leads to conflict and disagreement.

Deductive and Inductive Arguments

  • Deductive Reasoning - Proceeds from a general premise or assumption to a specific conclusion. Deduction is what most people mean when they speak of logic.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Proceeds from individual observations to a more general conclusion and uses no strict form. Requires only that the evidence be stated and that the conclusion fit the better than any other conclusion would.

Deductive Arguments

  • The basic form of a deductive argument is a syllogism. A syllogism consists of a major premise, which is a general statement; a minor premise, which is related but more specific statement; and a conclusion, which is drawn from those premises.
  • An error in logic can occur because the minor premise refers to a term in the major premise that is undistributed - it covers only some of the items in the class it denotes.
  • To be valid, the minor premise must refer to the term in the major premise that is distributed - it covers all the items in the class it denotes.

Inductive Arguments

  • Inductive arguments move from specific examples or facts to a general conclusion.
  • Decide on a question to be answered, called a hypothesis.
  • Move from your evidence to your conclusion by making an inference.
  • Avoid jumping to conclusions, so don't have a large gap between your evidence and your conclusion.
  • Remember that inductive conclusions are NOT facts.

What have you learned?

  • What is argumentation?
  • What is an important part of planning an argumentative essay?
  • What is deductive reasoning?
  • What is inductive reasoning?

Assignments: