Presentation on theme: "Constructing & Developing an Argument"— Presentation transcript:
1 Constructing & Developing an Argument Dr. Sanjee Perera-Child E mail;If you are here for Constructing and developing an argument you are in the right place...If you have already attended some of the other workshops I assume that...You understand how to break down the assignment and answer the question.That you have at least a basic grasp of critical analysis.That your arguments already have a good macro structureThat you have an excellent grasp of research and the content quality of your research is well nourished by the quality of your sources.So, now.... you are her to push beyond that B+ glass ceiling, to fine tune the micros structure of your essay/ dissertation/ PhD Thesis.
2 Dr. Sanjee Perera-Child E mail; Pereras@hope.ac.uk I am...Dr. Sanjee Perera-Child E mail;
3 Who are you..?So very quickly, as we have 30 minutes to take a snap shot of an area that most undergraduates around the world take a full semesters course in... Introduce who you are... What year you are in and what subject you are doing, AND WHAT YOU HOPE TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS SESSION.
4 What do you expect to take away from this session in a sentence. Why are you here?What do you expect to take away from this session in a sentence.Today I am going to attempt to give you a snap shot view, of 3 basic concepts.1.First I am going to remind you the basic building blocks of an argument, and what the desired qualities of a good academic argument/thesis is. And I am going to re-introduce you to logical deductive reasoning.2. Secondly, we are going to look at how not to construct arguments. We are going to look at common mistakes students make when cobbling together arguments. These are called logical fallacies. We are going to spend about 10 minutes doing some exercises identifying logical fallacies.3. Finally, if we have 5 minutes, I am going to do some very naughty spoon feeding exercises with you, examining your vocabulary that limit or improve your arguments... and how you introduce a premise MAY... strengthen or weaken your argument. *(rant) In 30 minutes all you will get is a snap shot. So if you wish to explore these things further, I will e mail you some further notes and a reading list.
5 “A connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition” What is an argument?“A connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition”-Monty PythonI want you to spend 30 seconds writing down on the piece of paper on the table, what a good argument is. (move on)Now, I want you to imagine you were rating a good meal... And tell me what you would be looking for to rate a Michelin star meal... What are the qualities you look for1. content (fish / chicken/ vegetables)2. taste; salty/ sweet/ bitter/spicy/bland3. temperature; too warm, too cold4. texture; tender/ creamy/ tough5. quantity; too little, too muchA good argument is much like a good meal. There are many finely nuanced qualities to it. And for your audience/ your lecturer/ tutor / reviewer to give you an A+, you must have the appropriate balance of all the desired qualities.
6 What are the hallmarks of a good thesis? So now that we have established that there are these desirable qualities...Turn to the person next to you, and write down 5 (or more) desirable qualities you should look for in constructing an argument.
7 Arguments should be... Logical Sound Valid Clear Crisp Coherent DeductivePrecisePersuasiveWell developedThis is not a comprehensive list, these are my top 10.Logical Sound* Valid Clear Crisp Coherent Deductive PrecisePersuasive Well developedAnd the reality is,... Almost all of the 9 traits below logical, all come back to being facets of a good logical argument... As you will see.
8 What is a logical argument? What is Logic?What is a logical argument?Now pair up with the person on your left and define what you think logic is. What do the laws LOGIC of attempt to hold.What logic is not; IT DOES NOT.. govern the law of the universe or nature;nor does it govern human behaviour (human beings are more often than not illogical)3. Definition; The science of reasoning; A METHOD of investigating unknown truth in connection with a thesis OR AN ARGUMENT.Logic is simply a scientific method of arriving at a valid conclusion.
9 Quick recap of Definitions Proposition; is a statement that can be true or false. These are the building blocks constituent in an argument.Premise; is a core assumption. Something your audience already agrees is accurate.Inference; Once you have presented your core premises to your reader, the argument proceeds forward step by step. This process is called inference. These can be valid / invalid/ logical/ illogical etc.Conclusion; This is the proposition that you are hoping to arrive at.Most people shower their writing with assertions or a blanket of direct quotations or paraphrasing. This is when you are picked up for illogical arguments and don’t pass the glass ceiling of a B+ (Assuming all other aspects of your essay is near perfect).So let’s look at the building blocks and basic stages of a logical argument SO.... the building blocks of an argument is called Propositions; THIS is a statement that can be true or false. Then we move on to the 3 stages of an argument.1. Premise;This... is a core assumption. Something your audience already agrees is accurate. Something say.. a leading light of your discipline has qualified and evidenced strongly. If you start of with premises that are shaky, you have already lost the war.*One of my pet hates IS when a student attributes an entire discipline TO HAVE agreed on a concept, *that is CLEARLY heavily contested in the field.For ex; Psychology agrees that intelligence is not pre determined by genetics. Or Biological Sociology generally suggests...2. Inference;Once you have presented your core premises to your reader, the argument proceeds forward step by step. This process is called inference. These can be valid / invalid/ logical/ illogical etc. This is the very complex dance of logic, this process is the heart of a good argument. And in a minutes, we are going to look at all the faux pas you can make, and how to avoid them.Conclusion; This is the proposition that you are hoping to arrive at. And if you have done a good job in the stages before the conclusion, your conclusion will be persuasive. It will be clear and clean and obvious. It will be VERY CLEAR TO THE READER that this is the only possible conclusion.This does not mean that your conclusion has to be simple. It does not have to be one directional or one dimensional.The reality is that in most academic discourse the conclusions are complex, conditional and multi dimensional.
10 So what is wrong with the way I write? How to avoid logical fallacies in your argument.I want you to take 2 minutes to your self and very quickly think of how you write, and how you orchestrate this 3 stage -step by step process.You don’t need to share. 1. Do you just throw in paraphrased quotations. 2. Do you read your primary sources and check whether their arguments are logical, whether there are flaws in the way they arrived at their conclusion.3. Hopefully in analytical writing you covered how to spot their mistakes and flaws of method- and how you would review, and comment on those strengths and weaknesses in your writing. 4. Or do you simply coast along their arguments, and by default, fall into their flaws yourself.(Take some examples from the audience on good and bad practice)
11 For instance, consider the argument: Valid or Invalid?For instance, consider the argument:1. If Socrates was a philosopher, then he wasn't a historian.2. Socrates wasn't a historian.3. So Socrates was a philosopher. If A (is true) then not B (is not). B is not true. So A must be trueTo tell whether an argument is valid, figure out what the form of the argument is, and then try to think of some other argument of that same form and having true premises but a false conclusion. If you succeed, then every argument of that form must be invalid. A valid form of argument can never lead you from true premises to a false conclusion. This argument is of the form "If A then B. B is true. So A." (If you like, you could say the form is: "If A then not-B. not-B. So A." For present purposes, it doesn't matter.) The conclusion of the argument is true. But is it a valid form of argument?(Check they understand the difference between truth and validity)
12 For instance, consider the argument: Valid or Invalid?For instance, consider the argument:If Socrates was a horse (A),then Socrates was warm-blooded (B).Socrates was warm-blooded (B is true).So Socrates was a horse (So A must be).
13 Exercise 1; Before you is a sheet of paper Exercise 1; Before you is a sheet of paper. I want you to look at the statements and tell me if they are logical statements and if they are not I want you to tell me why they are not good arguments. If you can... name the fallacies.
15 Formal fallacies 1.1 Propositional fallacies Anecdotal fallacy; using a personal experience or an isolated example instead of sound reasoning or compelling evidence.Appeal to probability; is a statement that takes something for granted because it would probably be the case (or might be the case).Argument from fallacy; assumes that if an argument for some conclusion is fallacious, then the conclusion is false.Base rate fallacy; making a probability judgment based on conditional probabilities, without taking into account the effect of prior probabilities.Conjunction fallacy; ‘ assumption that an outcome simultaneously satisfying multiple conditions is more probable than an outcome satisfying a single one of them.Masked man fallacy (illicit substitution of identicals); – the substitution of identical designators in a true statement can lead to a false one.Unwarranted assumption fallacy; The fallacy of unwarranted assumption is committed when the conclusion of an argument is based on a premise (implicit or explicit) that is false or unwarranted. An assumption is unwarranted when it is false; these premises are usually suppressed or vaguely written. An assumption is also unwarranted when it is true but does not apply in the given context.At this point you don’t need to know every fallacy by name. It would be useful to know a few popular ones and be able to identify them. It would also be useful to know broad types of fallacies.When you familiarise yourself well enough with the nature and form of fallacies, spotting one while you read a text book or journal article will come naturally. It will revolutionise your reading, I promise. Sadly many textbooks that attempt to appeal to a contemporary audience and attempt a less formal structured discourse end up falling into this trap all too often. So it is important to be discerning of the academic writing styles you mimic.
16 Formal fallacies 1.2 Quantification fallacies A quantification fallacy is an error in logic where the quantifiers of the premises are in contradiction to the quantifier of the conclusion.Types of Quantification fallacies:Existential fallacy – an argument has a universal premise and a particular conclusion.Quantification fallacies
17 Formal fallacies 1.3 Formal syllogistic fallacies Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise (illicit negative) – when a categorical syllogism has a positive conclusion, but at least one negative premise.Fallacy of exclusive premises; a categorical syllogism that is invalid because both of its premises are negative.Fallacy of four terms (quaternio terminorum); a categorical syllogism that has four terms.Illicit major; a categorical syllogism that is invalid because its major term is not distributed in the major premise but distributed in the conclusion.Illicit minor; a categorical syllogism that is invalid because its minor term is not distributed in the minor premise but distributed in the conclusion.Negative conclusion from affirmative premises (illicit affirmative); when a categorical syllogism has a negative conclusion but affirmative premises.Fallacy of the undistributed middle the middle term in a categorical syllogism is not distributed.A syllogism (Greek: συλλογισμός syllogismos, "conclusion, inference") is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true.
18 Informal fallaciesThese arguments that are fallacious for reasons other than structural (formal) flaws and usually require examination of the argument's content.Argument from ignorance (appeal to ignorance, argumentum ad ignorantiam); assuming that a claim is true because it has not been or cannot be proven false, or vice versa.Argument from (personal) incredulity (divine fallacy, appeal to common sense); I cannot imagine how this could be true, therefore it must be false.Argument from repetition (argumentum ad nauseam); signifies that it has been discussed extensively until nobody cares to discuss it anymore.Argument from silence (argumentum e silentio); where the conclusion is based on the absence of evidence, rather than the existence of evidence.Argument to moderation (false compromise, middle ground, fallacy of the mean, argumentum ad temperantiam); assuming that the compromise between two positions is always correct.Argumentum ad hominem; the evasion of the actual topic by directing an attack at your opponent.And these are just a selection of the ones beginning with A - so I won’t really go into listing an unquantifiable list.
19 Informal fallacies 2.1 Faulty generalizations These reach a conclusion from weak premises. Unlike fallacies of relevance, in fallacies of defective induction, the premises are related to the conclusions yet only weakly buttress the conclusions. A faulty generalization is thus produced.
20 Faulty generalizations Accident; an exception to a generalization is ignored.No true Scotsman; when a generalization is made true only when a counterexample is ruled out on shaky grounds.Cherry picking ;(suppressed evidence, incomplete evidence) act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.False analogy; an argument by analogy in which the analogy is poorly suited.Hasty generalization; (fallacy of insufficient statistics, fallacy of insufficient sample, fallacy of the lonely fact, leaping to a conclusion, hasty induction, secundum quid, converse accident) – basing a broad conclusion on a small sample.Inductive fallacy; A more general name to some fallacies, such as hasty generalization. It happens when a conclusion is made of premises that lightly support it.Misleading vividness; involves describing an occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, to convince someone that it is a problem.Overwhelming exception; an accurate generalization that comes with qualifications that eliminate so many cases that what remains is much less impressive than the initial statement might have led one to assume.Thought-terminating cliché; a commonly used phrase, sometimes passing as folk wisdom, used to quell cognitive dissonance, conceal lack of thought-entertainment, move on to other topics etc. but in any case, end the debate with a cliche—not a point.
21 Informal fallacies 2.2 Red herring fallacies A red herring fallacy is an error in logic where a proposition is, or is intended to be, misleading in order to make irrelevant or false inferences.In the general case, it is any logical inference based on false arguments, intended to replace the lack of real arguments, or to replace implicitly the subject of the discussion.It is an argument given in response to another argument, which is irrelevant and draws attention away from the subject of argument.
22 Red Herring FallaciesAd hominem – attacking the arguer instead of the argument.Poisoning the well – a type of ad hominem where adverse information about a target is presented with the intention of discrediting everything that the target person says.Abusive fallacy – a subtype of "ad hominem" when it turns into verbal abuse of the opponent rather than arguing about the originally proposed argument.Appeal to authority (argumentum ab auctoritate) – where an assertion is deemed true because of the position or authority of the person asserting it.Appeal to accomplishment – where an assertion is deemed true or false based on the accomplishments of the proposer.Appeal to consequences (argumentum ad consequentiam) – the conclusion is supported by a premise that asserts positive or negative consequences from some course of action in an attempt to distract from the initial discussion.
23 Red Herring FallaciesAppeal to Emotion – where an argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning.Appeal to fear – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made by increasing fear and prejudice towards the opposing side.Appeal to flattery – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made due to the use of flattery to gather support.Appeal to pity (argumentum ad misericordiam) – an argument attempts to induce pity to sway opponents.Appeal to ridicule – an argument is made by presenting the opponent's argument in a way that makes it appear ridiculous.Appeal to spite – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made through exploiting people's bitterness or spite towards an opposing party.Wishful thinking – a specific type of appeal to emotion where a decision is made according to what might be pleasing to imagine, rather than according to evidence or reason.
24 Red Herring FallaciesAppeal to equality – where an assertion is deemed true or false based on an assumed pretence of equality.Appeal to motive – where a premise is dismissed by calling into question the motives of its proposer.Appeal to nature – wherein judgment is based solely on whether the subject of judgment is 'natural' or 'unnatural'.Appeal to novelty (argumentum novitatis/antiquitatis) – where a proposal is claimed to be superior or better solely because it is new or modern.Appeal to poverty (argumentum ad Lazarum) – supporting a conclusion because the arguer is poor (or refuting because the arguer is wealthy).Appeal to tradition (argumentum ad antiquitatem) – a conclusion supported solely because it has long been held to be true.Appeal to wealth (argumentum ad crumenam) – supporting a conclusion because the arguer is wealthy (or refuting because the arguer is poor).
26 Competent Vocabulary in Logical Arguments So this is a segment that will have been covered in the other workshops. But I wanted to cover this with you in light of all we have discussed thus far, in relation to discourse clarity precision and persuasion. If you look at the final handout you will see a quick exercise in vocabulary. I want you to do this in groups of 4.
27 You don’t have to share the results of the vocabulary test You don’t have to share the results of the vocabulary test. But consider whether you use a wide spectrum in introducing your arguments. If you begin every opening premise with X argues/ suggests or states, this poverty of expression may be the limitation that is holding back persuasive academic discourse.
28 Finally...Feel free to; contact these lovely tutors from the ‘peer academic writing service’. I understand they are available through the library’s peer Academic Writing Mentor Service.If you have specific question on where to pursue some of the logical argument materiel that is not already covered in the reference list, feel free to e mail me. However do note, that as an external trustee of the student Union my obligation to the institution is voluntary, and I may not always be accessible to you the way your tutors are.Do research some of these segments yourself. The cyber resources that you can access on the www is almost inexhaustible. Use your discernment in picking the resources available. But there is very little stopping you from becoming a self taught expert on the subject, or at the very least, competent in creating academic arguments of impregnable quality.Best of Luck.