Argumentation

Argumentation

Argumentation Structure, Form, and Fallacies What is an ARGUMENT? In its broadest sense, ALL writing is argument. Presentation, defense, support of specific thesis, assertion, or claim (warrant). THESIS Strongly held belief, critical view of an issue, presentation of an insight, search for truth, description Convince using logical evidence (logos) and emotional appeals (pathos)

What is NOT an argument? A piece of writing that offers no support for a claim. Example: Smokey November clouds gyrate menacingly, shooting bullets of ice upon the weak, frail human specter. What is the difference between argument and persuasion? ARGUMENT PERSUASION Goal accept the

Goal writers thesis ACT get moving and do something after accepting or rejecting the writers position ALL persuasion is a type Example:

Walking is necessary for good health. of argument Example: For good health, a person should walk every day. How can I write an effective argument on the AP Language exam? The prompt could be A brief excerpt A quotation A statement An anecdote

Defend (agree), challenge (disagree), or qualify (agree with some and disagree with other parts of the text) the Authors position Statements main idea Narratives main point What does it mean to agree, disagree, or qualify? Agree Do I think about this subject in the same way as the writer/speaker?

Disagree Do I think the writer/speaker is totally wrong? Qualify Do I think some of what is said is correct and some incorrect? How do I argue a point or position? Support should be rational and logical NOT emotional Objective NOT biased

Do not try to con the reader or pad the essay with irrelevancies How do I structure my argument? 1. Present the issue/situation/problem. 2. State your (writers) assertion/claim/thesis. 3. Support your claim. 4. Acknowledge and respond to real or possible opposing views. 5. Make your final comment or summary of the evidence.

How do I support my argument? Facts/statistics Details Quotations Dialog Needed definitions Recognition of the opposition Examples Anecdotes Contrast and comparison Cause and effect Appeal to authority The Argument Itself An argument can be

Ethical Appeal to good sense, goodwill, desire to do the right thing, credibility Emotional Appeal to readers fear, patriotism, etc. Logical Appeal with inductive or deductive reasoning Inductive: form a generalization based on a specific set of examples Deductive: reach a probable conclusion based on given premises

Induction and Deduction Inductive Example: Margo has 17 stuffed teddy bears, 3 stuffed cows, 11 monkeys, 4 camels, and 6 stuffed elephants. Margo loves to collect stuffed animals. Deductive Example: All high school seniors at this high school must write a research paper. Sean is a senior at this high school; therefore, Sean must write a research paper. Deduction: Conclusions Conclusions can be drawn from implicit

premises: Universal truths Possibilities that the reader will readily accept Familiar sayings Common knowledge: facts that everyone, including the reader, should know Deduction is based on the syllogism Format of a formal argument consisting of a Major premise: All A are C. All lions are cats. Minor premise: B is A. Leonard is a lion. Conclusion: Therefore, B is C. Leonard is a cat.

If a syllogism does not contain a conclusion based on a major and minor premise, then it is possibly a LOGICAL FALLACY. LOGICAL FALLACY: Mistakes in Reasoning Non sequitur argument: does not follow Diane graduated from Vassar. She will make a great lawyer. Begging the question: something remains to be proved Taking geometry is a waste of time. High School

students should not be required to take this course. Circular reasoning: restates premise rather than giving a reason for holding the premise I like to eat out because I enjoy different foods and restaurants. Logical Fallacies Continued Strawman argument: (political campaigns) attributing false or exaggerated characteristics or behaviors to the opponent and attacking based on the falsehoods and exaggerations

You say support allowing people under eighteen to drive alone. I will never be able to understand why weak-willed drivers like you are willing to risk your life and the lives of all other drivers with these crazy teenagers on the road. Logical Fallacies Continued Ad hominem argument: argue against the man Attacks the person instead of the issue We all know Sam has several speeding tickets

on his record. How can we trust him to vote for us on the issue of a trade agreement with Europe? Logical Fallacies Continued Hasty generalization: drawing a conclusion about an entire group based insufficient evidence The veterinarian discovered a viral infection in five beagles. All beagles must be infected with it. Overgeneralization: (stereotyping, profiling) drawing a conclusion about a group of people,

ideas, or things based on limited or vague evidence; (qualifiers: all, never, always, every) All members of group A are not to be trusted. Logical Fallacies Continued Post hoc argument: cites an earlier, unrelated event as the cause of the current situation I saw a black cat run across the street in front of my car five minutes before I was hit by a foul ball at the ball park. Therefore, the black cat is the cause of my bruised arm. Either/or argument: writer asserts that there

are only two possibilities, when, in reality, there are more Tomorrow is April 15; therefore, I must mail in my tax return, or I will be arrested. Rhetorical Argument Checklist Clearly developed thesis is evident Facts are distinguished from opinions Opinions are supported and qualified Speaker develops a logical argument that avoids fallacious reasoning Support for facts is tested, reliable, and authoritative Speaker does not confuse appeals to logic and emotion

Opposing views are represented fairly and objectively Argument reflects a sense of audience Argument reflects an identifiable voice and point of view Piece reflects image of a speaker with identifiable qualities (honesty, sincerity, authority, intelligence, etc.) Practice Prompt In his famous Vast Wasteland address to the National Association of Broadcasters in May of 1961, Newton Minow, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, spoke about the power of television to influence the taste, knowledge, and opinions of its viewers around the world. Carefully read the following, paying close attention to how

timely it is today, especially in light of the worldwide Internet. Minow ended his speech warning that The power of instantaneous sight and sound is without precedent in mankinds history. This is an awesome power. It has limitless capabilities for goodand for evil. And it carries with it awesome responsibilities responsibilities which you [and the government] cannot escape Highlight essential elements of the prompt. In his famous Vast Wasteland address to the National Association of Broadcasters in May of 1961, Newton Minow, the Chairman of the Federal

Communications Commission, spoke about the power of television to influence the taste, knowledge, and opinions of its viewers around the world. Carefully read the following, paying close attention to how timely it is today, especially in light of the worldwide Internet. Minow ended his speech warning that The power of instantaneous sight and sound is without precedent in mankinds history. This is an awesome power. It has limitless capabilities for goodand for evil. And it carries with it awesome responsibilities responsibilities which you [and the government] cannot escape Highlight essential elements of the

prompt. In his famous Vast Wasteland address to the National Association of Broadcasters in May of 1961, Newton Minow, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, spoke about the power of television to influence the taste, knowledge, and opinions of its viewers around the world. Carefully read the following, paying close attention to how timely it is today, especially in light of the worldwide Internet. Minow ended his speech warning that The power of instantaneous sight and sound is without precedent in mankinds history. This is an awesome power. It has limitless capabilities for goodand for evil. And it carries with it awesome

responsibilitiesresponsibilities which you and [the government] cannot escape Plan the Essay Refer specifically to the prompt Clearly state your position on the given issue Cite speaker and occasion Examine sample opening paragraphs Sample A I agree with Newton Minows assertion to the National Association of Broadcasters that The power of instantaneous sight and sound isan awesome power[with] capabilities for goodand for evil. However, I disagree with

his placing the responsibility for this power squarely in the hands of the broadcasters and the government. Does the response defend, challenge, or qualify? Sample A qualifies the assertion presented by Minow. The writer agrees with the potential of the power but disagrees about who should take responsibility. Sample B Imagineyou have limitless capabilities for good and evilyou, not Superman, can control the world with you super powers.

And, what are your powers? Do you have xray vision, morphability, immortality? NO, you have the most awesome power ever devised you can instantaneously influence the taste, knowledge, and opinions of mankind around the world. You are Supernet! And you have a super headache because you agree with Newton Minow, who warned the national Association of Broadcasters in 1961 You Does the response defend, challenge, orthat

qualify? Sample B agrees with Minows position but treats the have an awesome responsibility. assertion in a lighthearted fashion. The reader can expect a humorous and possibly irreverent tone in the essay. Sample C Nowhere is the awesome power for good and evel of modern technology more clearly seen than in the Internets pervasiveness and

influence. Newton Minow was right on target in 1961 when he warned the national Association of Broadcasters that the power of TV has limitless for goodand Does the responsecapabilities defend, challenge, or for evil. qualify?

Sample C indicates a writer who has obviously decided to limit the area of the argument to that of the Internet and has chosen to agree with Minow. Sample body paragraphs and essays Read, analyze, and evaluate sample body paragraphs on provided handouts. Reference Murphy, Barabara L., Rankin, Estelle M. Five Steps to a Five: AP Language 2012-2013. McGraw-Hill: New York. 2011.

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