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The Structures of Various Arguments

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1 The Structures of Various Arguments
Quick Outlines

2 Classical Argument Introduction—Sets the stage for the argument
Thesis statement—the central claim of the argument Background—basic info needed to understand the argument Evidence and reasons for your position Response to opposing views—also called refutation or rebuttal Conclusion—ends the argument logically

3 Classical Argument Example
The WGA and AMTP are at odds over digital rights royalties. The WGA should be paid for new media broadcasts. 1988 was the last renegotiation for the WGA; the DVD market was in its infancy and digital rights were unheard of. WGA members make 2 cents per DVD sold. They make 0 cents from digital rebroadcasts. The studios will lose money, but they make billions and none will fold by a 2 cent increase in writer’s pay. Writers should be paid for digital media rights and paid more for DVD sales.

4 Advantages and Disadvantages
It’s called “Classic” for a reason; it’s time tested and effective. It’s straightforward and provides an easy template to follow. Disadvantages It’s called “Classic” for a reason; Aristotle wrote it almost 2,500 years ago It’s formulaic and doesn’t provide much room for personal flair (but it can be done).

5 Rogerian Argument Introduction—sets stage for the argument, gains readers interest Thesis—articulates the central claim Common ground—explains the issue under debate and looks for places of agreement between opposing viewpoints, especially those of a skeptical audience and the writer or speaker Discussion of the position—evidence and reasons for believing the thesis Conclusion—why the writer’s position is better for everyone

6 Goals of Rogerian form Writers (or speakers) let readers (or listeners) know they have been understood Writers show how readers’ positions are valid in certain contexts and under certain conditions Writers get readers to believe that both of them share the same values, types of experience, attitudes, and perceptions and are thus similar in significant ways.

7 An example of Rogerian Argument
The WGA strike has been an ongoing struggle between the WGA and the AMTP With the advent of digital media, writers deserve a fair share of the profits from internet broadcasts Both the studios and writers benefit from new media, and we all like money. If studios pay writers royalties from new media then they will abide by the spirit of the old contracts and then writers will begin writing for new media, and all will profit handsomely. Paying writers for new media means more for all.

8 Advantages and Disadvantages
Eases tension Levels out power and control Can utilize the opposing side’s position and reframe it Disadvantages You may start believing your opponent’s view You need to find connections and risk change

9 Toulmin Method of Analyzing Arguments
All arguments have claims All arguments have support or reasons for claims (or should in order to be convincing) All arguments have unstated assumptions or warrants The Toulmin method of argument analysis is used to expose the unstated assumptions of another’s argument in order to question it, evaluate it, or critique it in some way

10 Example of Toulmin Analysis
Claim: The university should establish rules of punishment for cheating students . . . Support: because last year thirty students were caught cheating on exams. Warrants: Cheating is wrong Cheating should be punished If students knew they would be punished, they would not cheat. Enough students are cheating that there is a problem

11 More Toulmin Terminology
Backing: an argument to support a warrant Why is cheating wrong? Why do we believe punishment will deter cheating? Conditions of rebuttal: ways that counterarguments against your position might be established Where might my claim be vulnerable to attacks by skeptics? Qualifier: a phrase that limits the scope of your claim The university should establish rules of punishment for cheating students as well as ways for preventing cheating because last year thirty students were caught cheating on exams.

12 Advantages and Disadvantages
Requires creativity You must be able to thoroughly analyze your opponent’s position Takes hard work and thorough research of both sides. Disadvantages You must be able to analyze your opponent’s position

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