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Counterarguments & Rebuttals Anticipate the naysayers, and prove them wrong!

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Presentation on theme: "Counterarguments & Rebuttals Anticipate the naysayers, and prove them wrong!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Counterarguments & Rebuttals Anticipate the naysayers, and prove them wrong!

2 Overview Counterarguments & Rebuttals What are they, and why use them? Ways to introduce counterarguments Structure Transition templates Ways to rebut counterarguments Faulty facts Faulty analysis Faulty values Examples

3 COUNTERARGUMENTS & REBUTTALS What are they, and why use them?

4 Counterarguments Definition an argument opposed to your thesis, or part of your thesis. It expresses the view of a person who disagrees with your position. Purpose gives you the chance to respond to your reader’s objections before they have finished reading. It also shows that you are a reasonable person who has considered both sides of the debate. Presentation Should be expressed thoroughly, fairly, and objectively. Should be a few sentences to a full paragraph; one sentence is not enough. Avoid sarcasm, loaded language, and vague connotation; will give the reader a disrespectful tone. Can be included anywhere in the argument: intro, immediately following claims, directly before conclusion.

5 Counterargument Templates Quickly show what follows is someone else’s opinion: Many people [believe/argue/feel/think/suppose/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here] It is often [thought/imagined/supposed/etc.] that [state the counter- argument here] [It would be easy to/One could easily] [think/believe/imagine/suppose/etc.] that [state the counter- argument here] It might [seem/appear/look/etc.] as if [state the counter-argument here] Another common approach is to use a question: But isn’t it true that [state the counter-argument here]? [Doesn’t/Wouldn’t/Isn’t] [state the counter-argument here]? You can also cite specific writers or thinkers who have expressed a view opposite to your own: On the other hand, Fund argues that... However, Ngugi has written,... Dangarembga takes the position that...

6 Rebuttals Definition The techniques you use to disprove or show assumption flaws in a counterargument against you. Purpose Rebutting a counterargument demonstrates your claims are superior to the claims of others; it adds ethos, logos, and pathos to your argument Types of Rebuttals Faulty Factual Assumption Faulty Analytical Assumption Faulty Values True, but Irrelevant Strengthens Own Argument

7 Rebuttal Templates What this argument [overlooks/fails to consider/does not take into account] is... This view [seems/looks/sounds/etc.] [convincing/plausible/persuasive/etc.] at first, but... While this position is popular, it is [not supported by the facts/not logical/impractical/etc.] Although the core of this claim is valid, it suffers from a flaw in its [reasoning/application/etc.]

8 Examples All of these examples use a claim from James Loewen’s book, Lies My Teacher Told Me. In that book, Loewen makes the claim: “To function adequately in civic life … students must learn what causes racism” (143).

9 Faulty Factual Assumptions Counterargument Racism is a thing of the past; therefore, students don’t need to bother with it. Rebuttal One response would be to muster facts to show that racism continues to be a problem. Example: This view overlooks the fact that 30% of 6 th graders are victims of racial bullying.

10 Faulty Analytical Assumptions Counterargument Learning about racism might make students more racist. Rebuttal The analytical assumption is that learning about racism can make you racist. The response would be that understanding the causes of a problem is not the same as causing or creating the problem.

11 Faulty Values Counterargument Who cares if students are racist? Rebuttal This counter-argument is based on an assumed value that your readers probably do not share—namely, the idea that it’s ok for students to be racist. The response would be to point out this value, state why you don’t share it and state why you don’t think your readers do either. Base your arguments on values that most readers are likely to share.

12 True, but Irrelevant Counterargument Students are already familiar with racism; they don’t need to study it in school. Rebuttal Many students are, in fact, already familiar with racism. But Loewen is not saying they need to learn about racism, he’s saying they need to learn what causes it. You might be very familiar with racism but still not know what causes it.

13 Strengthens Own Argument Counterargument Previous generations didn’t study the causes of racism, so why should we start now? Rebuttal The response here would be to show that previous generations did not “function adequately in civic life,” because they had a lot of problems with racism (segregation and more hidden forms of discrimination). Therefore, the fact that they didn’t learn about the causes of racism, together with this other information, actually supports the claim that students do need to learn what causes racism.

14 MODEL COUNTERARGUMENT ESSAY Identify the rebuttals and their types


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