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Chapter 1: Everything Is an Argument

Our text is based on the following presumption:


(p. 4)

an argument can be any text (whether written, spoken, or visual) that expresses a point of view.

Inform Convince Explore Make Decisions Meditate/Pray

Presenting specific information to inform readers Focus is on the information

Obama for President 2008

Focuses on readers
trying to satisfy or convince them that you have thoroughly examined and presented information that merits attention.
Example:
Writing a research essay on the causes of soil erosion in southeast Alabama

Usually show that there is merit in looking into a subject that there is an argument to be made. Opponent can be the status quo or current trend. Problem does exist writer or reader needs to solve it.

This is an exploratory column, its purpose to encourage thought on a question that badly needs thinking about. The Problem: The birth every year of one million babies to unwed mothers. The Consequence: One million children who, on reaching the age of 13, tend to run into difficulties. The statistics tell us that a child raised by a single parent is likelier by a factor of 600 percent to commit crimes, consume drugs, quit school, and bear, or sire, children out of wedlock. Assume if only to be hopeful that the problems diminish after age 19; we are still left with six million teenagers who are a heavy social burden, as also, of course, a burden to themselves. William F. Buckley Should There Be a Law?

Problem does exist writer or reader needs to solve it.


Example:
We have a problem with litter on campus.

Closely allied with exploratory arguments Argue for a particular decision


Example:
From the essay addressing soil erosion in Southeast Alabama, you might write a proposal which focuses on a possible solution to the problem.

Arguments can take form of meditation on a theme or of prayer. Pausing to consider or to gain peace of mind. Purpose:
Writer is hoping to transform something within to reach a peace of mind.

Past Future Present

Forensic arguments: debates about what has happened in the past.


Present evidence from past to justify conclusions. Rely heavily on precedents actions or decisions in past that influence policies or decisions in the present.
Example:
Years of clear-cutting timber without replanting has led to the current problem of soil erosion in SE Alabama.

Deliberative argument
Often rely on forensic arguments because what happened in the past usually decides what will happen in the future.
Make some kind of decision (proposals) try to establish policies or project future outcomes

Epideictic or Ceremonial Arguments


Its aim: to condemn or to eulogize an individual, cause, occasion, movement, city, or state.

Often about contemporary values


Ethical premises/assumptions widely held within a society

Arguments of Fact Arguments of Definition Arguments of Evaluation Proposal Arguments

Did something happen? What is its nature? What is its quality?

What action should be taken?

Facts can be proved or disproved with evidence or testimony. Concern: if something can easily be proven, it cant be argued.
A Hyundai is significantly lower in price than Toyota.

Global warming is rapidly destroying the rain forests of South America.

Often involves categorizing or defining terms.


Is a human embryo a human being? Is abortion murder?

Bob Costas example (pg. 24) :


Mickey Mantle eulogy ROLE MODEL HERO

Common type of argument Argument of quality


Makes some kind of judgment about topic
Tahoe vs. Expedition: which is the better SUV for the price? Parks evaluation of Martin Luther King Jr. (pg. 26)

Present evidence to show there is a problem; then, propose a solution. Recommend most viable course of action.

Argument of Fact Argument of Definition Argument of Evaluation

Proposal Argument

Does global warming exist? What is global warming? Should global warming be a concern to us today? What action should be taken to stop global warming?

Making a Connection to Reader


Writers do not write in a cultural vacuum. Writers works are influenced by who they are.
Race Religion Gender Ethnicity Class Intelligence

Readers perceptions of writer influence their reception of what has been written. Must think about readers perceptions, values, possible prejudices. Establish some connection with readers.
Familiarity Presenting yourself as authority

Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me. And aint I a woman?... I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mothers grief, none but Jesus heard me. And aint I a woman? Sojourner Truth Aint I a Woman?

Aristotle identified 3 key ways writers can appeal to their audiences in arguments.
Pathos Ethos
Emotional appeals or appeals to the heart Ethical appeals or appeals based on the writers authority and credibility Logical appeals or appeals to reason

Logos

Designed to appeal to the readers emotions and feelings. Can cause readers to think more carefully about subject.
Persuading reader not to drink and drive
telling a story of a teen or young mother killed by drunk driver

As writer, must seem honest, sincere, and trustworthy. Look for evidence of character in arguments
Who is the author? Is writer an authority on topic/knowledgeable about topic? Is evidence presented full/complete, not slanted to writers agenda? Does writer acknowledge and address opposition? Are sources documented?

REMEMBER: these same questions will be used to analyze your writings.

As author, you must consider


Language Organization & structure Sense of authority

Writer must provide enough evidence to support argument. Test all assumptions and claims. Question every source and authority cited.
data and information from reliable sources

Claim: statement of belief or truth


Can be plainly stated (more traditional arguments). Can be inferred (in stories, anecdotes, etc.).

Claims must be attached to reasons that support it and premises that uphold it to be an argument. Can have several claims in one essay.
Look at relationship among them

Arguments must have logical structure, even if appeal uses emotion, values, or character. Aristotle asserted arguments had only 2 parts:
Statement Proof (claim) (evidence)

Have to think of the way the evidence is presented. Even logical, well-planned argument can be boring. Have to tailor your style to the topic Style can tell readers what to expect
What is most appropriate

Must always think about audience or readers when you present arguments. Must always address an intended audience.

Different kinds of readers


Ideal reader (exists in authors mind) Invoked reader (represented in the text) Real reader (ones who actually read text)

If potential readers do not feel connected to text in some way, then


They will (probably) not be affected by your argument or They will not even continue to read.

Ways to establish credibility:


Demonstrate you are knowledgeable Highlight shared values Refer to common experiences Use language to build common ground Respect reader

Almost impossible to guarantee credibility because readers are varied.

Demonstrate Knowledge
Show readers you know what you are talking about
Facts/statistics

Highlight Shared Values


Find common values with the potential readers
What community do you share?

Refer to Common Experiences Build Common Ground


Closely related to common experiences Establish a connection with readers
Use pronouns

Respect Readers
Do not speak down to readers Do not use offensive language

Argument exists in a particular context of some kind that influences how it can be shaped and how others receive it.
Topic/Subject (Logical Appeals)

Context CONTEXT Audience/Readers (Emotional Appeals) Author (Ethical Appeals)

Topic/Subject (Logical Appeals) LOGOS

Context

Audience/Readers (Emotional Appeals) PATHOS

Author (Ethical Appeals) ETHOS