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Argument Techniques

Jerry Springer

Oprah

Purpose & Audience


Reasoning strategies (Organization)
The rational appeal
The emotional appeal
The ethical appeal
Fallacies
Ethical issues

Demonstrating facts
Nursing is hard work, dorms are poor study
places
Defend/oppose a policy, action, or project
Company should drug-test employees
Assert the greater/lesser value of
someone/something
Ranking candidates for promotion

Think like a reader


Consider readers interests, expectations, and
needs concerning this issue
Identify the evidence most likely to convince
readers
Identify the objections readers will have
Identify the consequences of this argument
Decide how objections should be addressed

Induction
General claim is supported by specific
evidence (direct observations, statistical
data, scientific studies)
Makes conclusion probable but doesnt
prove
Must demonstrate credibility of evidence
College program effective because most
students in it get jobs

Deduction

Deduction
Demonstrates how a specific conclusion
follows logically from initial premise
Must make clear how conclusions do actually
follow from agreed-upon premises
Politicians assert the benefit to future
generations, then policies to favor that

Present reasons and evidence in a way that


readers will find as reasonable or plausible
Established truths
Opinions of authorities
Primary source information
Statistical findings
Personal experience

To Evaluate Evidence
How credible are the sources of information?
How reliable is the evidence?
How much confirming evidence is there?
How much contradictory evidence is there?
How well established is the evidence?
How well does the evidence actually support
or fit the claim?
What does the evidence actually allow you to
conclude?

Identify stories, scenes, or events of the


topic that arouse the strongest emotions
Can lend powerful reinforcement
Tug heartstrings of readers to take
actions

Write with genuine concern for topic,


commitment to truth and sincere respect
for others
Tone is paramount
Offensive, arrogant, or mean-spirited
is ineffective
Look for snide comments
Pleasant, fair-minded, decent is
effective

Lapses in logic that reflect upon ability to think


clearly and weaken argument
Hasty generalization someone bases a
conclusion on too little evidence
Student tries to reach instructor one time and
declares that the instructor is impossible to reach

Non sequitur draws unwarranted conclusions


from seemingly ample evidence
Bill is out every night. I wonder who he is dating?

Stereotyping attaches one or more supposed


characteristics to a group or one of its
members
Teenagers are lousy drivers

Lapses in logic that reflect upon ability to think


clearly and weaken argument
Card Stacking only part of available evidence
given while deliberately omitting essential info

College students have it easy because they are only in


classes 12 hours per week.

Either/Or Fallacy only two choices exist when


several are available
Either buy tires or get stuck inside this winter

Begging the Question asserts truth of an


unproven statement

Vitamin A is harmful to your health, so all bottles


should have a warning label. If enough of us write to
the FDA, this could change. But how do we know its
harmful when evidence isnt given?

Lapses in logic that reflect upon ability to think


clearly and weaken argument
Circular Argument supports position merely
by restating it
That person is overweight because he is fat.

Red Herring argues off point


American car is superior but abruptly shifts to the
plight of laid off workers

Ad Hominem argument attacks an individual


rather than opinion
Sam doesnt deserve a promotion. His divorce was
messy.

Lapses in logic that reflect upon ability to think


clearly and weaken argument
Appeal to the Crowd plays on irrational fears
and prejudices of audience
The Red Scare, Adolf Hitler

Guilt by Association some similarity between


one person to another
Similar to poisoning the well

Post Hoc assuming that because one event


follows another, the first caused the second
Coincidence that a black cat ran across the street
right before the car crashed into the telephone pole

Lapses in logic that reflect upon ability to think


clearly and weaken argument
Faulty Analogy error of assuming two
circumstances are similar in all respects when
they are not
Football coach insists that if he emulates Lombardis
techniques that his team will win conference
Doesnt take players into consideration, level of play, etc.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXLTQi7vVsI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dln3DJEcghY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8LydU2P7Yw

Argument is an attempt to alter attitudes or


spark action
Responsibility for quality of argument and
possible consequences
Carefully consider stance and argument
Is it credible? Is it dependent on certain conditions?

Be fair to other positions


Legitimacy of reasons and evidence
Examine fallacies and other possible reader
manipulations
Explore the consequences of readers adopting
this position

Purpose & Audience


Reasoning strategies (Organization)
The rational appeal
The emotional appeal
The ethical appeal
Fallacies
Ethical issues

Rough draft due