What is an Argument? Reasons that support a conclusion.
Components of an Argument Reasons (or Premises) Statements that support the conclusion Conclusion A statement that is affirmed or denied on the basis of the reasons.
Reason Indicator Words Since Because For Given that If…, then… Either…, or… All Some Many For the reason that But May be inferred from
Conclusion indicator words Therefore Accordingly Hence Thus Consequently We may infer It must be said that Implies that As a result So
Parts of the Argumentative Essay The Introduction The Argument The Counter-Argument Response Conclusion
The Introduction This section introduces the topic of the essay Offers any background information which might be necessary for clarity AND Clearly indicates the position that will be defended.
The Argument This section advances the best argument (defense) for the essay’s position. Thus, the section should consist of a single argument which supports the position in the introduction.
The Counter-Argument This section advances the best counter- argument against the essay's position. It presents the counter-argument as completely and fairly as possible. In essence, it defends the opposite position.
Response This section responds to the counter- argument. It should respectfully and fairly respond as to avoid fallacy (or errors in reasoning).
Conclusion This section restates the position the essay is defending Reveals how it defends its position AND Responds to any related issues. By responding to related issues the paper shows the relevance of its conclusion.
Argument Example #1 If you want to find a good job, you should work hard. You do want to find a good job. So you should work hard.
Argument Example #1 (standard format) Reason 1 : If you want to find a good job, you should work hard. Reason 2 : You do want to find a good job. Conclusion : So, you should work hard.
Argument Example #2 We should not inflict unnecessary pain on cows and pigs. After all, we should not inflict unnecessary pain on any animal with consciousness, and cows and pigs are animals with consciousness.
Argument Example #2 (standard format) R 1 : We should not inflict unnecessary pain on any animal with consciousness. R 2 : Cows and pigs are animals with consciousness. C : We should not inflict unnecessary pain on cows and pigs.
Argument Example #3 If this liquid is acidic, the litmus paper would have turned red. But it hasn't, so the liquid is not acidic.
Argument Example #3 (standard format) R 1 : If the liquid is acidic, the litmus paper would have turned red. R 2 : The litmus paper has not turned red. C : The liquid is not acidic.
Argument Exercises Do these passages contain arguments? If so, what are their conclusions?
1) Cutting the interest rate will have no effect on the stock market this time round as people have been expecting a rate cut all along. This factor has already been reflected in the market.
2) So it is raining heavily and this building might collapse. But I don't really care Not an argument. Although the first statement starts with "so" it does not indicate a conclusion.
3) Bill will pay the ransom. After all, he loves his wife and children and would do everything to save them. Yes. The first statement is the conclusion.
4) Rewrite the following argument in the standard format. He is either in Hong Kong or Macau. John says that he is not in Hong Kong. So he must be in Macau.
5) Rewrite the following argument in the standard format. If the Government wants to build an incinerator here they should compensate those who live in the area. Incinerators are known to cause health problems to people living nearby. These people did not choose to live there in the first place.