# Arguments: creating & refuting (argumentation skills course)

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Arguments: creating & refuting (argumentation skills course)
Mārtiņš Liberts SSE Riga & LMT Debate Club coach

Agenda SEXI model Toulmin model Creating arguments Refuting arguments
NOTE: All Valid arguments are Sound; Not all Sound arguments are Valid

SEXI model by unknown debater

TIP: the best argument is the clearest one
SEXI argument: basics Statement Summarizes the argument in a clear and concise form Introduces the desired activity or value Might introduce the main reason for the activity or value S Explanation The most important part of any argument Provides the analysis behind the Statement E x Illustration Provides necessary validity for the argument Few things can be used to Illustrate: Basic logics Analogy Example Statistics I TIP: the best argument is the clearest one

SEXI argument: examples
Statement Shows desired action & main reason S We should tax cars to decrease pollution Explanation Explains the reasoning behind Statement Taxing provides incentive for drivers to use cars less and to switch to other alternatives – other means of transportation E x Illustration (Basic Logics) Validates Explanation Whenever you tax something it becomes more expensive, thus people are less able to afford it and are either limiting its usage or shifting to alternative products or services I NOTE: ‘basic logics’ simply expands Explanation TIP: avoid using ‘basic logics’ alone

SEXI argument: examples
Statement Shows desired action & main reason S We should tax cars to decrease pollution Explanation Explains the reasoning behind Statement Taxing provides incentive for drivers to use cars less and to switch to other alternatives – other means of transportation E x Illustration (Analogy) Validates Explanation After putting taxes on alcohol, its usage has decreased and more people are spending their time in other ways I TIP: if two things share some features, they might still not be completely similar

SEXI argument: examples
Statement Shows desired action & main reason S We should tax cars to decrease pollution Explanation Explains the reasoning behind Statement Taxing provides incentive for drivers to use cars less and to switch to other alternatives – other means of transportation E x Illustration (Example) Validates Explanation When introducing a tax in Latvia for cars that have engines larger than 5 l, less of such cars have been purchased I TIP: make sure that example used is not an exception

SEXI argument: examples
Statement Shows desired action & main reason S We should tax cars to decrease pollution Explanation Explains the reasoning behind Statement Taxing provides incentive for drivers to use cars less and to switch to other alternatives – other means of transportation E x Illustration (Statistics) Validates Explanation Questionnaire answered by people last week shows that approximately 57% would use public transportation instead of a car if annual costs of cars increased by Ls 1 000 I TIP: statistics should be clear, reasonable, not always absolute numbers should be used

Toulmin model by Stephen Toulmin

Toulmin argument: basics
Claim Main point, thesis, controlling idea Claim may be directly stated or it may be implied “What is author trying to prove?” Support Reasons to support Claim (evidence, facts, statistics, proof, expert opinion, examples, explanations, data, arguments, logical reasoning or grounds) “What does author say to persuade listener of Claim?” Warrant (-s) Assumptions or presuppositions underlying the argument Warrants are generally accepted beliefs, values, common ways our culture or society views things Warrants provide underlying reasons linking Claim & Support Warrants are often unstated and implied “What is causing author to say the things he does?”

Toulmin argument: example
Claim Shows main idea, desired action & main reason We should tax cars to decrease pollution Support (Statistics) Explains & proves reasoning for Claim Taxing provides incentive for drivers to use cars less and to switch to other alternatives – other means of transportation that pollute less Questionnaire answered by people last week shows that approximately 57% would use public transportation instead of a car if annual costs of cars increased by Ls 1 000 Warrant (-s) Underlying beliefs People are generally willing to pay as little as possible and any price increase makes at least some people to decrease the consumption Decreasing pollution is a generally good idea

Qualifier One should not use superlatives (all, every, absolutely or never, none, no one) One may need to qualify Claim with expressions (many, many times, some or rarely, few, possibly) Rebuttal One needs to answer questions and objections raised in the minds of the audience (otherwise the argument will be weakened and subject to attack and counter-argument) Rebuttal may be directed to opposing claims or at alternative interpretations of evidence or new evidence Backing Sometimes Warrant needs evidence to support it, to make it more believable and to further support the argument

Toulmin argument: example
Qualifier Allows to exclude some tricky groups We should tax cars to decrease pollution We should tax cars older than 15 yrs to decrease pollution Rebuttal Allows to rebut opposition arguments Taxing provides incentive for drivers to use cars less and to switch to other alternatives – other means of transportation that pollute less The tax introduced will be high enough to make people thing twice before buying a car Backing Backs not so common Warrant Decreasing pollution is a generally good idea Scientific research has stated that in few hundred years it won’t be possible to live on Earth unless we intervene

Toulmin argument: full example
Claim We should tax cars to decrease pollution Qualifier That should apply only to cars older than 15 yrs Warrant Decreasing pollution is a generally good idea Support (Statistics) Taxing provides incentive for drivers to use cars less and to switch to other alternatives – other means of transportation that pollute less Questionnaire answered by people last week shows that approximately 57% would use public transportation instead of a car if annual costs of cars increased by Ls 1 000 Rebuttal The tax introduced will be high enough to make people thing twice before buying a car Warrant (-s) People are generally willing to pay as little as possible and any price increase makes at least some people to decrease the consumption Backing Scientific research has stated that in few hundred years it won’t be possible to live on Earth unless we intervene

Creating arguments

SEXI vs. Toulmin Statement Claim Qualifier Warrant Explanation Support
Claim with Qualifier (plus Warrant) makes Statement Explanation Support Illustration Warrant Backing Rebuttals Support with Warrant (its Backing) as well as Rebuttals make perfect Explanation & Illustration NOTE: for the best & complete argument most of Toulmin parts should be included

Statement / Claim: possible types
Cause (how, why it happened, what was the cause, what will it produce, effects) Technologies in newer cars decrease potential pollution Definition (classification, definition, interpretation, meaning) Car pollution is a problem of the whole society Fact (true, real, fact, happened, exists) Cars are causing great deal of pollution Policy (what should we do, why should we do, policy, actions to solve problem) We should tax cars to decrease pollution Value (good or bad, beneficial or harmful, who says so, what value system should be used) Car pollution is the worst thing human can do NOTE: remember that almost any given topic can be formed into any type of Claim

Argument by Aristotle Atechnic based on facts (statistics, empirical studies, surveys Discovered through research Entechnic Pisteis based on persuasive appeal Invented by careful thinking about the topic, speaker / writer and listeners / readers Logos: giving good reasons Ethos: coming across as a credible, trustworthy person Pathos: connecting with the beliefs, values, and cultural assumptions of one's audience NOTE: in academic world most arguments should be based on Facts or should have good reasons (Logos)

NOTE: Ethos creates environment where arguments are perceived better
Usage of Ethos Ethos (person) Especially needed if argument is very controversial Show intelligence, moral character or good will Use voice and distance with audience Grammatical person (I / we, you, s/he) Verb tense (present / past, active / passive) Long, sophisticated words Use qualifiers (acknowledge exceptions) NOTE: Ethos creates environment where arguments are perceived better

NOTE: Pathos creates environment where arguments are perceived better
Usage of Pathos Pathos (values) Used to provide extra support to argument Use gestures, facial expressions, movements Use vivid explanations Make sure to address the values of audience Indirectly steer them into favorable path NOTE: Pathos creates environment where arguments are perceived better

Five Canons of Classical Rhetoric
Invention: coming up with ideas Facts, Data, Statistics, Reports, Testimony, Interviews, Polls, Surveys Make good reasons & logical arguments How to project yourself as a credible person How to connect with audience’s values, beliefs, emotional state Arrangement: ordering your discourse Exordium: an introduction to make the audience attentive and receptive Narratio: making your claim Partitio: forecasting your argument Confirmatio: arguing your case Refutatio: meeting counter-arguments Peroratio: concluding appropriately

Five Canons of Classical Rhetoric
Style: saying things well “Grammatical correctness” Appropriate word choice Sentence structure Metaphor, hyperbole, rhetorical questions, irony Memory: more than mere memorization Try to make your speech / writing memorable Connecting with shared cultural memories Delivery: the final step Deliver your speech / paper as planned Remember that you should alter delivery based on the media, aim Web page, Essay, Debate speech

5 steps to deliver speech / paper
Invention Come up with ideas, facts, reasons, arguments How to create a credible person, connect with audience Arrangement Introduction, claim, show argument, argue, refute counter arguments, conclude Creating speech / paper Style Wrapping and styling ideas into nice words Memory How will you make speech / paper memorable Delivery Go on and deliver your speech / paper NOTE: practice will allow you to do necessary steps without much consideration

Refuting arguments

Refute definitions Look at the words used in the argument
Is there a single, clear meaning Is that meaning clear to everyone Seek ambiguity and uncertainty Words with various definitions Challenge expertise and assumptions of authority Show that there are contradictory definitions

Refute logics Consider the rationale being used
Are logical connections clear and sound Are there unclear, bizarre assumptions Test causes for clear and direct connections Are generalizations, inductive and deductive arguments correct Are there any distractions Is the subject changed Show that the rationale has faults in it See if arguments don’t contradict each other

Refute grounds Consider data and evidence used
Show that there is not enough data Show that some critical evidence is missing Indicate how data that might refute the argument is being ignored Show how data is being misinterpreted or misrepresented

Refute support Look at the supporting statements to the argument
Refute Warrant linking grounds to Claim Refute Backing that supports Warrant Challenge Qualifiers and floppy language Find the weakest link in the chain and focus on it until it breaks Many arguments have a valid claim but weak support

Use a counter argument Create argument to refute existing one
Show that your argument covers more areas Show that it covers areas more thoroughly Make it more interesting and appealing Make the logic and structure complete and sound Use solid data that cannot be challenged

Indicate a logical fallacy
Slippery slope Weak causal link between many actions that lead into huge conclusion Attack the person When arguments attack speakers not ideas Appeal to tradition Traditions are nice but they don’t make argument all alone Appeal to authority Authorities are also nice, just nice  Appeal to common belief There is no common belief, argument “you all know” just don’t work False dilemma Some options given; however, there are more

Indicate a logical fallacy
Hasty Generalization One exclusion doesn’t make a law Red Herring (Squirreling) Completely change the topic Post hoc (Post hoc, ergo propter hoc) If X follows Y, X is caused by Y Strawman Refutes the weakest argument and states that all arguments are refused False analogy Even if two things seem similar, they might be not Assertion Asserting that something is true, right etc. without proving it More can be found there:

Refuting argument Definitions used Support used Grounds used Argument
Logics used Grounds used Support used Counter argument Logical fallacies TIP: use many ways of refutation; however, don’t pick on too small details

Thank you for your attention!
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