Writing the argumentative essay
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Writing the Argumentative Essay. By Caryl Bishop. Argumentation. “. . . the art of influencing others, through the medium of reasoned discourse , to believe or act as we wish them to believe or act.”. Structure of Argument. Claim Proposition Support Evidence Motivational Appeals

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Writing the Argumentative Essay

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Writing the argumentative essay

Writing the Argumentative Essay

By Caryl Bishop


Argumentation

Argumentation

  • “. . . the art of influencing others, through the medium of reasoned discourse, to believe or act as we wish them to believe or act.”


Structure of argument

Structure of Argument

  • Claim

    • Proposition

  • Support

    • Evidence

    • Motivational Appeals

  • Warrant

    • Assumption(s) that have been taken for granted


Features of argumentation

Features of Argumentation

  • Writer

    • Develop your own ETHOS or borrow from established authority

  • Audience

    • Know your audience and be sensitive to their views

  • Text

    • Use the language to make your point, but be careful not to misuse language


The writer

The Writer

  • Ethos

    • Your own

      • You must look like you know what you’re talking about

      • Educate yourself on the issue(s) before writing

    • Borrow from authority

      • Be sure to give appropriate credit where due


The audience

The Audience

  • Who is your audience?

  • Qualities you should presume of your audience:

    • Assume they are as knowledgeable about your topic as you are.

    • Assume they are aware of common knowledge.

    • Assume they could be fundamentally opposed to your argument and be sensitive to their prejudices –

      • Don’t Alienate Your Audience


The text

The Text

  • Argue from logic and reason

    • Do NOT base your entire argument on:

      • Emotion

      • Religious Conviction

      • Tradition

  • Avoid fallacious logic

    • There are a multitude of formal errors in logic, known as FALLACIES


Some common fallacies

Some Common Fallacies

  • Hasty Generalization

  • Faulty Use of Authority

  • Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

  • False Analogy

  • Ad Hominem

  • False Dilemma

  • Slippery Slope


Hasty generalization

Hasty Generalization

  • Black or White thinking

  • Prejudice

  • Drawing Hasty Conclusions

  • Insufficient Evidence


Faulty use of authority

Faulty Use of Authority

  • Misuse of a source

  • Misquoting

  • Fitting the quotation to your own needs

    • If four out of five dentists prefer Colgate, don’t use the one dentist who prefers Crest as your authority!


Post hoc ergo propter hoc

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

  • “After this, therefore because of this”

    • Faulty Cause and Effect Reasoning


False analogy

False Analogy

  • Faulty Connection Between Two Things Being Compared


Ad hominem

Ad Hominem

  • “Against the Man”

  • Attacking the person rather than attacking an issue.

    • If you don’t like this administration’s policies, and want to see them changed, don’t attack the President, address the issues you want changed.


False dilemma

False Dilemma

  • “Black or White Fallacy”

    • There are only two alternatives, no room for compromise and no grey areas.

      • Nearly every issue has at least two sides, and somewhere, someone has determined that the OTHER side is the only legitimate approach.

      • Nothing is black and white; there are shades of grey everywhere!


Slippery slope

Slippery Slope

  • The assumption that “A” will inevitably lead to “B”

    • Then “B” will inevitably lead to “C”

      • And so on…

        • And so on…


More common fallacies

More Common Fallacies

  • Begging the Question

  • The Straw Man Fallacy

  • “Two Wrongs Make a Right”

  • Non-Sequitur

  • Ad Populum

  • Appeal to Tradition

  • Faulty Emotional Appeal


Begging the question

Begging the Question

  • The statement being argued actually assumes the issue has already been proven true.

  • An argument that assumes itself

Circular Reasoning


Straw man fallacy

Straw Man Fallacy

  • Set up a slightly different problem and attack it, rather than the problem at issue

    • Diverts attention away from the real issue

      • “Wag the Dog”


Two wrongs make a right

“Two Wrongs Make A Right”

  • “But all my friends are doing it…”

    • Diverts attention away from the question at issue


Non sequitur

Non-Sequitur

  • “It does not follow”

    • Erroneous Cause and Effect Reasoning

    • Uses irrelevant information to back of a claim


Ad populum

Ad Populum

  • Appeals to the prejudices of the people

  • Appeals to popular opinion

  • Appeals to what you believe your teacher wants to hear


Appeal to tradition

Appeal to Tradition

  • “But we’ve always done it that way before…”

    • Just because it has always been that way doesn’t make it right


Faulty emotional appeals

Faulty Emotional Appeals

  • Don’t base your whole claim on an appeal to emotion

  • Don’t use emotional appeals that are

    • Irrelevant to the argument

    • Draw attention away from the real issue

    • Appear to conceal another purpose


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