Argumentation in academic writing
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ARGUMENTATION IN ACADEMIC WRITING. EN 112 BMCC Fall, 2009. What is argumentation?. http://www.longleaf.net/ggrow/cartoons1.gif/argument.gif HERE ARE SOME COMMON SENSE BELIEFS: Argumentation is a form of fight It is something that has winners and losers

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ARGUMENTATION IN ACADEMIC WRITING

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ARGUMENTATION IN ACADEMIC WRITING

EN 112

BMCC Fall, 2009


What is argumentation?

http://www.longleaf.net/ggrow/cartoons1.gif/argument.gif

HERE ARE SOME COMMON SENSE BELIEFS:

  • Argumentation is a form of fight

  • It is something that has winners and losers

  • “Every issue has two sides”; one side has to be right, and the other side has to be wrong

  • The purpose of argumentation is to win

  • Argumentation is the same as persuasion


ACADEMIC ARGUMENTATION

  • http://www.longleaf.net/ggrow/cartoons1.gif/argument.gif

  • ACADEMIC ARGUMENTATION IS DIFFERENT

  • The purpose is to learn the truth and to avoid errors

  • Academic arguments describe multiple arguments and multiple perspectives

  • The counterargument is an important component of the argument

  • Unbiased language is used

  • Logic, reason and solid evidence are preferred over emotion

  • Logical errors (fallacies) are to be avoided

  • The purpose of persuasion is opening minds first (change of opinion may follow)


THREE MODELS OF ARGUMENTATIONMODEL ONE: Classic Aristotelian

Aristotle (BC 384-322)

  • Our knowledge is not absolutely certain (=most of what we know is a well-informed opinion at best)

  • Argumentation is necessary in court, politics and science, and young people need to be trained in argumentation just like they need to be trained in athletics

  • Arguments rely on three elements

    ethos (values, credibility)logos pathos (emotions, compassion, suffering)

    (knowledge,

    facts, statistics, evidence, logic, reasoning)


THREE MODELS OF ARGUMENTATIONMODEL TWO: Modern Toulminian (1958)

Stephen Toulmin (1922 - 2009)

  • Toulmin’s argumentative structure was designed to serve practical purposes, to value scientific evidence and to find common ground for ethical arguments

  • It is primarily based on evidence (facts, statistics, reasoning, research)

  • “Warrant” is the assumption that connects the facts with the claims


THREE MODELS OF ARGUMENTATIONMODEL THREE: Rogerian

Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

  • The purpose of argumentation is to build bridges between human beings, to find the common ground, to reach a win-win situation and practice emphatic listening

  • Rogerian argument is used in counseling, advising, business, recruitment, etc.


Rogerian argumentation in 4 easy dance moves:

  • Introduce problem: I know you all love your steak, and I myself have eaten my fair share of meat in life.

  • Acknowledge opposition: I understand that you think meat is necessary for growth, but I am telling you that there are other sources of protein, not just meat.

  • Present position: On the other hand, if we don’t reduce our meat consumption, the Earth will face a disaster, and our health will deteriorate rapidly.

  • Explain why your position benefits opposition: We need to eat less meat. Right now, we consume seven times more than what is recommended. I am sure you don’t want to be sick, and I know you care about the Earth, which right now is feeding too many cattle.


What else is there?

  • ARGUMENT FROM ANALOGY:

  • Is A like B or not?

    The strengths of an argument from analogy depends on the level of similarity

EXAMPLES:

  • 9/11 was like Pearl Harbor (=a war attack)

  • Government supported health insurance is like socialism (=not good!)

  • A fetus is like an adult citizen (=should have full rights)

  • Food is medicine (=use it with moderation and to keep yourself healthy)

  • Animals are like people (=have feelings and need to be treated with respect)


Research papers are argumentative

  • They have an arguable claim (=something that not everybody agrees on)

  • The introduction explains the significance of the topic

  • The claim is supported by facts, by credible sources (experts, authorities), statistics, examples, personal experience (the writer’s or others), possible consequences (Atwan, 2009, pp. 17-18)

  • At least one “opposition” (or challenging opinion) is addressed (refuted)

  • Overly emotional or biased language is avoided


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