A one-sided argument presents only the writer’s position on the issue without summarizing and responding to alternative viewpoints. A multisided argument presents the writer’s position, but also summarizes and responds to possible objections and alternative views. A dialogic argument has a much stronger component of inquiry, in which the writer presents himself as uncertain or searching, the audience is considered a partner in the dialogue, and the writer s purpose is to seek common ground perhaps leading to a consensual solution to a problem. 3 Types of Arguments
One-sided and Multisided arguments often take an adversarial approach. Typically see alternate views as flawed or wrong, support own claim the most. However, can be made to feel dialogic, depending on the way the writer’s handles alternative views. Benefits/Problems
At issue is how a writer handles the opposition. How you deal with these viewpoints can wildly affect how your argument functions. Will you… Omit them (one sided) Summarize them to acknowledge their validity, value, or force (sort of dialogic multisided) Often determined by purpose, audience resistance, and confidence in your own stance or view. Treatment of Alternate Views
One sided—most useful when an issue is NOT highly contested. IF it is highly contested, only useful to strengthen the views of people who agree with you. Will ALIENATE people who don’t share your views. When to use what?
A multisided argument reduces hostility, by demonstrating concern for multiple viewpoints On a neutral or undecided reader, something interesting can happen: For the short term, one sided arguments can persuade. But, in the long term, multisided arguments have staying power. If only presented with a single side to an issue, they may change their minds when presented with other views. By dealing with other views, you diminish their power to affect your reader later. When to use what?
IF dealing with a neutral to resistant audience, adversarial approaches produce diminished returns. Even multisided can be rendered ineffective. Tend to focus on differences, increase hostility, despite addressing counterpoints. A more dialogic approach tends to work best with neutral-highly resistant audiences. What to Use When?
Creating a “Support scale” Determining Audience Resistance
But, only rarely will it be so simple. May have categories of resistance. Complications
But what if your position lies between TWO resistant groups? Be aware—trying to please both may not be feasible. Consider for yourself! Complications
Typically used when audience is known to be supportive Will ignore opposing views or reduce them to “the enemy” in a false US vs. THEM situation. Heavily utilize Pathos, and often fear, to convince readers of dire outcomes or wonderful benefits Goal is often to simply solidify and reinforce existing views. No need to convince or fairly persuade. One-Sided Arguments
Ideal for a neutral/undecided audience Basically jurors weighing the merits of a case A classical argument is defined by the writer’s willingness to summarize opposing views and openly respond. Can refute the views or concede to some of their strengths. The Classical Argument
The first step is to actually summarize them fairly for your audience. See handout! Summarize Opposition
Once summarized, you can either refute them or concede to their strengths. You are attempting to convince your audience of one of the following: 1. it is logically flawed 2. it is inadequately supported 3. it is based on erroneous assumptions Remembering Toulmin’s schema, you should know that you can either attack the reason and grounds, the warrant and backing, or both. Refuting Opposition
Example: We shouldn’t elect Joe as committee chair because he is too bossy. Two points of potential attack: The reason and grounds itself, or the warrant. To wit— Refuting
I disagree that Joe is bossy. In fact, Joe is very unbossy. He s a good listener who s willing to compromise, and he involves others in decisions. The example you cite for his being bossy wasn’t typical. It was a one-time circumstance that doesn’t reflect his normal behavior. [The writer could then provide examples of Joe’s cooperative nature.] In this example, we are refuting the statement that Joe is a bossy person, directly attacking the stated reason and presenting a well-supported counter-claim. Refuting the reason
I agree that Joe is bossy, but in this circumstance bossiness is just the trait we need. This committee hasn’t gotten anything done for six months and time is running out. We need a decisive person who can come in, get the committee organized, assign tasks, and get the job done. Here, you are attacking the warrant (that bossy people make bad committee chairs). Refuting the warrant
Sometimes, the opposition won’t be easy to refute or dismiss, and you will have to concede to their claims For example, if looking to legalize hard drugs, you will likely have to concede that the availability of the drugs will increase addiction. So, then, your purpose becomes not to refute that claim, but show how the benefits will outweigh that negative consequence. Conceding Opposition
So, instead of refuting the reasons, warrant, etc., you shift to a NEW field of values. Your goal is to create a new warrant that your audience can share—that (perhaps) shutting down the black market and ending the violence, crime, and prison costs associated with it is more beneficial to society than the cost of increased addiction. Even though this may feel like weakness, you are actually increasing audience goodwill by being credible, reasonable, and ethical. Cont.
The following essay is an example of the refutation strategies we’ve discussed found in a classical argument. She is arguing for continued taxpayer support for an alternative public school called “First Place,” designed to support homeless children and their families. Knowing many people object to taxpayer funding for such programs, she offers these refutations. Example!
Appealing to a resistant audience is always difficult, and, as discussed, a classical argument works best for a neutral or undecided audience. Because resistant audiences are likely to differ from the writer on key issues and values, the direct attack approach of the classical argument may encroach TOO much on their worldview. So what’s the alternative? The Resistant Audience
The point is, argument in this scenario may be impossible—but conversation might be on the table. For example—a pro-life and pro-choice advocate may never agree on abortion, but they likely both agree about reducing teenage pregnancy rates. Finding that kind of common ground might be enough to open a dialogue. Dialogic Argument
The end goal of this approach is rarely to convert a person to your beliefs. Instead, it is to lower (somewhat) the level of resistance, perhaps by in preparation for future dialogue. If a dialogue can be opened (and parties can respect each other and engage in meaningful conversation), then that may lead to an opportunity to reach solutions. Such are the goals of Dialogic Arguments. Goal of Dialogue
One approach to reaching a resistant audience is to use the “Delayed-Thesis” approach. Classical argument demands that you open with your thesis or claim. This isn’t always the best approach. By doing so, you immediately distance yourself from opposing views and set up the adversarial nature of classical argument. May be more effective to keep the issue open, delaying the revelation of your stance until the end of the essay. Delayed-Thesis
This piece, by Ellen Goodman, was written in response to a brutal rape on the pool table of a local bar and ran in 1985 during a feminist outcry about the effects of pornography. Her kairotic moment was the nation’s shock over the brutality of the rape (which later became the subject of the film The Accused, starring Jodie Foster). Example!
An even more powerful approach is known as Rogerian Argument, named after psychologist Carl Rogers, who used it in therapy to help people resolve their differences. Emphasizes “empathic listening”– which he defined as the ability to see an issue sympathetically from another’s perspective. Trained people to withhold judgment of ideas until after listening attentively, understanding their reasoning, appreciated their values, and respected their humanity. In short, they had to “walk in their shoes.” Rogerian Argument
Felt that traditional methods of argument were too threatening. Stresses the psychological AND logical dimensions of argument. Stresses building bridges instead of winning. Effective when dealing with emotionally laden issues. Rogerian Argument
First goal—reduce threat by showing that both writer and resistant audience share common values/desires. There’s no attack—it’s all about common ground. Not looking to fully persuade per se—mostly just about shifting towards the writer’s views. All about accepting compromise. Synthesizing opposing views in an ideal world—sees how they are connected. Rogerian Strategy
The key—besides listening and understanding well—is finding those areas of agreement. This view eliminates power and forcefulness--it is about agreement and conciliation. stresses self-examination, clarification, and accommodation rather than refutation. Rogerian argument is more in tune with win-win negotiation than with win-lose debate. Rogerian Approach