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The Classical Argument

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1 The Classical Argument
A Model for Writers

2 The Introduction Warms up the audience.
Establishes good will and rapport with readers. Announces general theme or thesis of argument.

3 The Narration Summarizes relevant background material
Provides any information audience needs to know about the environment and circumstances that produce the argument Sets up the stakes – what’s at risk in this question.

4 The Confirmation Lays out in a logical order (usually strongest to weakest or most obvious to most subtle) the claims that support the thesis, providing evidence for each claim.

5 The Refutation and Concession
Looks at opposing viewpoints to the writer’s claims. Anticipates objections from the audience. Allows as much of the opposing viewpoints as possible without weakening the thesis.

6 Summation Provides a strong conclusion.
Amplifies the force of the argument Shows readers that this solution is the best at meeting the circumstances.

7 Strategies for Developing Each Section of Argument
Introduction has three jobs To capture audience’s interest use a focusing anecdote or quotation use a shocking statistic restate a problem or controversy in a new way Establish perception of you as a writer Set out your point of view

8 Narration Strategies Establish a context for your argument
You need to explain the situation to which your argument is responding Include relevant background information, history, statistics, and so on that affect it. Language that you use will give audience a picture of you.

9 Confirmation Strategies
Allows you to explain why you believe in your thesis. It takes up several supporting claims individually Develop each one by bringing in facts, examples, testimony, definitions, etc. It is important that you explain why evidence for each claim supports it and the larger thesis. This builds a chain of reasoning in support of your argument.

10 Refutation and Concession Strategies
Difficult because you need to think of reasons why your argument won’t work. This, however, can be the strongest part of an argument. When you show audience that you have anticipated potential opposition and objections, you have an answer for them Allows you to defuse the audience’s ability to oppose you and persuade them to accept your point of view. If there are places where you agree with your opposition, conceding their points creates goodwill and respect without weakening your thesis.

11 Conclusion It is tempting to just restate claims and thesis, but this does not give a sense of momentum or closure to your argument. Instead, try to hearken back to the narration and issues. Remind readers what’s at stake here. Try to show why your thesis provides the best solution to the issue being faced; this gives an impression of the rightness and importance of your argument and suggests its larger significance or long-range impact. Gives the readers a psychological sense of closure – the argument winds up instead of breaking off.

12 Rhetorical Fallacies Rhetorical Fallacies do not allow for open two-way exchange of ideas. They distract readers with various appeals instead of using sound reasoning. They can be divided into three categories: Emotional fallacies –unfair appeal to audience’s emotions Ethical fallacies – unreasonably advance the writer’s own authority or character Logical fallacies – depend upon faulty logic.

13 Emotional Fallacies Sentimental Appeals Red Herrings Scare Tactics
Bandwagon Appeals Slippery Slope arguments Either/Or Choices False Need Arguments

14 Sentimental Appeals Use emotion to distract the audience from the facts. Example: The thousand baby seals killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill have shown us that oil is not a reliable source of energy.

15 Red Herrings Use misleading or unrelated evidence to support a conclusion. Example: That painting is worthless because I don’t recognize the artist.

16 Scare Tactics Try to frighten people into agreeing with the arguer by threatening them or predicting unrealistically dire consequences. Example: If you don’t support the party’s tax plan, you and your family will be reduced to poverty.

17 Bandwagon Appeals Encourage an audience to agree with the writer because everyone else is doing so. Example: Paris Hilton carries a small dog in her purse, so you should buy a hairless Chihuahua and put it in your Louis Vuitton.

18 Slippery Slope This argument suggests that one thing will lead to another, oftentimes with disastrous results. Example: If you get a B in high school, you won’t get into the college of your choice, and therefore will never have a meaningful career.

19 Either/Or Choices Reduce complicated issues to only two possible courses of action. Example: The patent office can either approve my generator design immediately or say goodbye forever to affordable energy.

20 False Need These arguments create an unnecessary desire for things.
Example: You need an expensive car or people won’t think you are cool.

21 Ethical Fallacies False Authority
Asks audiences to agree with the assertion of a writer based simply on his or her character or the authority of another person or institution who may not be fully qualified to offer that assertion. Example: My high school teacher said it, so it must be true.

22 Using Authority Instead of Evidence
This occurs when someone offers personal authority as proof. Example: Trust me – my best friend wouldn’t do that.

23 Guilt by Association Calls someone’s character into question by examining the character of that person’s associates. Example: Sara’s friend Amy robbed a bank; therefore, Sara is a delinquent.

24 Dogmatism Shuts down discussion by asserting that the writer’s beliefs are the only acceptable ones. Example: I’m sorry, but I think penguins are sea creatures and that’s that.

25 Moral Equivalence Compares minor problems with much more serious crimes (or vice versa). Example: These mandatory seatbelt laws are fascist.

26 Ad Hominum These arguments attack a person’s character rather than the person’s reasoning. Example: Why should we think a candidate who recently divorced will keep her campaign promises.

27 Strawperson These arguments set up and often dismantle easily refutable arguments in order to misrepresent an opponent’s argument in order to defeat him or her. Example: We need to regulate access to handguns. My opponent believes that we should ignore the rights guaranteed to us as citizens of the United States by the Constitution. Unlike my opponent, I am a firm believer in the Constitution, and a proponent of freedom.

28 Logical Fallacies Hasty Generalization
Faulty Causality (or Post Hoc) arguments Non Sequitur (Latin for “It doesn’t follow”) Equivocation Begging the Question Faulty Analogy Stacked Evidence

29 Hasty Generalization Draws conclusions from scanty evidence. Example:
I wouldn’t eat at that restaurant – the only time I ate there, my entrée was undercooked.

30 Faulty Causality These arguments confuse chronology with causation; one event can occur after another without being caused by it. Example: A year after the release of the violent shoot-’em-up video game Annihilator, incidents of school violence tripled – surely not a coincidence.

31 Non Sequitur Latin for “It does not follow.”
This is a statement that does not logically relate to what comes before it. An important logical step may be missing in such a claim. Example: If those protestors really loved their country, they wouldn’t question the government.

32 Equivocation This is a half-truth.
A statement that is partially correct but that purposefully obscures the entire truth. Example: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman..” – President Bill Clinton.

33 Begging the Question This occurs when the writer simply restates the claim in a different way; such an argument is circular. Example: His lies are evident from the untruthful nature of his statements.

34 Faulty Analogy This is an inaccurate, inappropriate, or misleading comparison between two things. Example: Letting prisoners out on early release is like absolving them of their crimes.

35 Stacked Evidence This represents only one side of the issue, thus distorting the issue. Example: Cats are superior to dogs because they are cleaner, cuter, and more independent.

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