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Historical Argument. October 3, 2013. Argument. An argument is an attempt to establish the truth of a claim. An argument often includes premises, or supporting arguments. Arguments and Explanations.

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historical argument

Historical Argument

October 3, 2013

argument
Argument

An argument is an attempt to establish the truth of a claim.

An argument often includes premises, or supporting arguments.

arguments and explanations
Arguments and Explanations

Arguments differ from explanations. Arguments attempt to establish the truth of some claim.

Explanations assume the truth of a claim, and merely try to show how it came about, what caused it, how it works, etc..

for example
For Example…

Argument: Rover has fleas. He’s been scratching all day.

(will try to prove that Rover has fleas)

Explanation: Rover has fleas. The neighbor’s dog has fleas, and he’s been playing with him all morning.

(assumes the fleas and explains why)

argument premises
Argument Premises

Independent

Dependent

Independent premises are premises that do not rely on each other as support for the conclusion.

If the assumption that a premise is false does not cancel the support another premise provides for the conclusion, the premises are independent.

Textbooks tend to have independent premises.

Dependent premises are premises that depend on one another as support for their conclusion.

If the assumption that a premise is false cancels the support another provides for the conclusion, the premises are dependent.

premises
Premises

Independent

Dependent

Example: [Premise] Raising the speed limit will wear out the highways faster. [Premise] In addition, doing so will result in more highway deaths. [Main Argument] Therefore, we should not raise the speed limit.

You can view it as two separate arguments with the same conclusion.

Example: [Premise] Raising the speed limit will waste gas. [Premise] We don’t have any gas to waste. Therefore, [Main Argument] we should not raise the speed limit.

however
However…

•While identifying premises can often help students identify an argument,

•and Explanations can often serve as premises,

• Both premises and main arguments are sometimes unstated, particularly in textbooks.

•So, how do we help students identify and understand the argument?

key words and phrases can help
Key Words and Phrases Can Help

For Premises

For Main Arguments

Since...

For...

Because...

In view of…

Given that…

It follows that...

We may conclude that...

This serves to show that...

Thus...

This suggests that...

This proves that..

Hence...

Accordingly...

Consequently...

So...

Therefore...

This shows that...

This implies that…

but in the end
But in the end…

There is no magic bullet.

The only real way to help kids identify the argument is to practice.

Primary sources are often easier in this regard than textbooks, which tend to obscure their arguments under a cloak of neutrality and balance.

sentence by sentence
Sentence by sentence..

Read a sentence. Is it a fact? An explanation? A clear opinion/interpretation/argument? Label the sentence in the margin (F, E, A).

Read the next sentence, etc.

Go back and look at explanations and arguments. Which ones serve as premises for another (main) argument? Label those with a P. What is that main argument?

Is the argument explicit or implicit? If it’s implicit, summarize it in the margin.

paragraph by paragraph
Paragraph by Paragraph..

Identify the main argument in each paragraph.

Does the main argument of one paragraph serve as a premise for the main argument of another?

Which paragraph(s) contain the main argument the author of the source is trying to make?

**Note: There will probably be some debate about all of this. That’s as much a part of the intellectual process as anything. Just make the kids justify their answers.

textbooks
Textbooks

Read and discuss the section heading. Discuss what the heading is asking the reader to look for. Note that headings often contain implicit arguments.

Go through the same process as with a primary source.

Textbook paragraphs are more likely to serve as explanations to an implicit argument (often indicated by the heading) than paragraphs in other sources.

However, this is complicated by the fact that textbooks often just stick in information that needs to be covered and that doesn’t clearly tie in with any argument.

nehru on building a modern nation
Nehru on Building a Modern Nation

The octopus of war grips and strangles the world…

india democracy progress and problems
India: Democracy, Progress, and Problems

India adopted a British-style parliamentary system, with democratic rights guaranteed for all…

standards
Standards

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences. CCRA R.1

Analyze the structure of texts. CCRA R.5

Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text. CCRA R.8