Discuss these questions: (1) What kinds of issues get people “excited”? Are these economic? Social? Something else? (2) Do these issues have strong arguments for BOTH sides? Or are they “lop-sided”? (3) Have you ever changed your mind on an issue based on encountering arguments about it? (4) Which kind of reasons appeal more to you: (a) From-the-head(logic; statistics/research) (b) From-the-heart(emotion; anecdote)
Approaches to argumentation: Rules-of-thumb (i) Don’t be “wishy-washy”—have a clear stance But make it a reasonable,defendable stance! (ii) Use a mix of head-and-heartfor evidence (iii) Anticipate your opponent’s strong arguments (in the counterarguments)—no “straw-men” (iv) Don’t stop there—attack back (in the refutation) How do “head” & “heart” relate to Brandon’s… Facts Examples Statistics Authorities
Argumentative or (merely) Persuasive? (i) People should quit smoking. (ii) People should quit eating meat. (iii) Vote-buying should be prosecuted. (iv) Political campaigns should have time limits. (v) The Eastern Freeway should be built. (i) is persuasive—it’s hard to imagine anyone arguing that people shouldn’t quit smoking! (ii) is argumentative—there is a lot of disagreement about this (i.e. it is controversial).
(ii) People should quit eating meat. * Which of the following are PRO? Which are CON? * Which are unreasonable? A little reasonable? Very reasonable? Why do you think so? * Are there other reasons which aren’t given here? (a) People who don’t eat meat have less energy. (b) Eating meat is bad for the environment. (c) There are dangerous chemicals in meat. (d) Young children need meat for proper growth. (e) The Buddha asks us to not take others’ lives. (f) People have a right to eat whatever they choose.
(iii) Vote-buying should be prosecuted. * Which of the following are PRO? Which are CON? * Which are unreasonable? A little reasonable? Very reasonable? Why do you think so? (a) Politicians who are willing to buy your vote are more likely to be unscrupulous if elected. (b) No politician can be trusted, so there is little use in pretending that the system is fair. (c) Each voter’s ballot belongs to them—if they want to sell it, they are exercising their freedom. (d) The vote-seller is even worse than the vote-buyer. (So, it is Argumentative or Persuasive?)
Argumentative or Persuasive? (iv) Political campaigns should have time limits. * Can you come up with BOTH PROS AND CONS? * Are they reasonable on both sides? If “yes,” this issue is controversial, and hence is argumentative! Apply this same procedure for looking at: (v) The Eastern Freeway should be built. Which side are YOU on? Why are you on that side? Is it more head-based, or heart-based?