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Types of writing 4: Argumentation

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1 Types of writing 4: Argumentation
By 陈烽

2 Let’s have a debate first!
Should mercy killing be allowed?

3 What is a debate Two or more people have a disagreement
Each person takes one side of the disagreement and argues for that side Both people try to reach an understanding At the end of the debate, people decide which side is correct

4 Parts of a debate Resolution: a statement
Mercy killing should be allowed. The Affirmative side: One person decides how to argue for the resolution Mercy killing should be allowed upon the patients’ request. The Opposition: The other person decides how to argue against the resolution. The opposition must argue against the resolution, as the affirmative has presented it. Mercy killing should be prohibited.

5 How to prepare the debate
Affirmative: Choose how to define the resolution, then make an argument that affirms the resolution. Opposition: Prepare notes before the debate, then listen to the affirmative speech. Make an argument that opposes the affirmative’s argument.

6 Let’s have a debate Affirmative constructive: 1-3 minutes
Give definition(s), make the argument Opposite constructive: 1-3 minutes Agree/disagree with definition(s), make an opposing argument Affirmative rebuttal: 1-2 minutes Defend your side; no new arguments Opposite rebuttal: 1-2 minutes

7 Argumentation

8 What is argumentative writing?
The purpose of argumentation is to convince the reader. to make the reader agree with its point of view and support it to persuade him to change his mind or behavior to approve a policy or a course of action that it proposes

9 Range of Application Speeches on policies Editorials of newspapers
Articles on political questions Various proposals

10 A good argumentation A debatable point Sufficient evidence Good logic
A good attitude No mud-slinging; to argue is not to quarrel. No subjectivity Clear logic A combination of the other 3 types

11 A debatable point A thesis statement, try to avoid:
A. Mere statements of facts: Tom is a boy. Tom is boyish. B. Statements of personal preference Ba Jin is my favorite writer. Ba Jin is the greatest Chinese writer. C. Viewpoints that are generally accepted or can be easily verified. Noise pollution is harmful to people’s health. Noise pollution is the most harmful of all environmental pollutions.

12 Propose action in thesis statement
We need to keep the university library open 24 hours on school nights. If you smoke cigarettes, you need to make a plan to quit smoking and follow through with it. Stop reserving study places in advance of your using them. Keep the university library open 24 hours on school nights Quit smoking Don’t reserve study places a long time before you use them

13 NOT persuasive thesis statements
The students suffer in their studies, since study places and academic resources are not available to them. There are many benefits of quitting smoking. It is important to show consideration for others when choosing a study place.

14 Sufficient evidence Common knowledge (Nobody can live without water…)
Specific examples Statistics (bar graph or chart) Experts’ opinions (indirect statements) Quotations from authorities (direct statements)

15 Good logic Inductive Deductive Avoid logical fallacies
specific→general Deductive general→specific Avoid logical fallacies

16 Inductive(specific→general)
Evidence a. Hospital A paints its wall a sickly green, and the recovery rate of its patients is three months. b. Hospital B paints its wall a cheery yellow, and the recovery rate of its patients is only two months. Generalization There is a relationship between the colors of hospital walls and the rate of recovery of patients.

17 Is the conclusion universal truth?
John is greedy. (Fact) Tom is greedy. (Fact) David is greedy. (Fact) They are all human beings (fact). Human beings are greedy.

18 Is the conclusion logical?
John and Marry became vegetarians last fall and they’ve been sick all winter. The absence of meat in their diets must have weakened their immune systems.

19 Good induction Sample size Connection of sample and generalization
Translation of fact

20 Sample size Sufficient evidence---no hasty generalization
Randomly chosen A study of 10 pairs of twins found that those who did not smoke lived an average of six years longer than their smoking brothers and sisters.

21 Connection of sample and generalization
Reasonable generalization A study of randomly chosen 1000 pairs of twins found that those who did not smoke lived an average of six years longer than their smoking brothers and sisters. We can conclude that smoking could shorten your life by six years. some , many, sometimes, often, usually, be likely to, probably

22 Translation of fact Translation of fact into value
If you live six years less because you smoke, then smoking is bad for your health. Translation of value into policy If you want to have good health and live longer, then don’t smoke.

23 Deductive(general→specific)
Syllogism Major premise---an accepted generalization(all, every Minor premise---a factual example A conclusion

24 All human beings need oxygen to live.
You are a human being. You need oxygen to live. All human beings make mistakes sometimes. Tom is a human being. Therefore, Tom makes mistakes sometimes.

25 Logical Fallacies Might is right Ignorant Igor Either-or
Hasty generalization Red herring Slippery slope Queen-size question Queer consequences Pity’s plea Pre-judged jargon Pushing popularity Attack the person Experts impress Style over substance False analogy Coincidence to Cause Circular definition An article recommended

26 Might is right “You’d better agree with the boss when he says that we need to work 12 hours each day—or you won’t have a job tomorrow morning.” REFUTE: “Let’s consider the idea itself, without thinking about who suggested it.”

27 Ignorant Igor “I don’t understand what you mean by ‘honesty’; so I don’t need to tell the truth.” REFUTE: “Many people do not understand the law. But it does not mean that they can do something illegal.

28 Either-or “Either you agree with me; or you don’t love me.”
REFUTE: “I do love you; and I do not want to agree with you now. Many people love each other and do not agree with each other.

29 Hasty generalization “Kobe Bryant might have committed a serious crime. All black men are dangerous people.” REFUTE: Lot’s of people have committed serious crimes. How do we know that black men commit more serious crimes than other people?

30 Red herring “You can’t get the promotion because you didn’t go to the boss’ party.” REFUTE: That’s irrelevant. I do good work for this company. I have made accomplishments. I should have a higher position, based on my knowledge, skills, abilities, and success already.

31 Slippery slope “If we open the library for two extra hours every night, then the teachers will give more work to students. Then we will need to open the library even longer. The teachers will give even more work. Pretty soon, the library will be open 24 hours and the students will have no chance to sleep.” REFUTE: “Making one change doesn’t mean those other things will follow.”

32 Queen-size question “You’re against the war in Iraq. That means you’re against freedom and fighting for other peoples’ freedom, right?” REFUTE: I like freedom; but I think you and I have a different idea about the meaning of “freedom”. I don’t think families should die so that Americans can think they are free.

33 Queer consequences “How could you believe in evolution?! If evolution is true, we’d be no better than monkeys and apes!” REFUTE: Evolution does suggest that we are animals, like monkeys and apes. However, there is no reason to believe that evolution is false because you want humans to be “better”.

34 Pity’s plea “I know this doll is not beautiful or well-made; but I’m so poor, I need to eat; and look at my right leg—it’s gone! Please buy this doll from me.” REFUTE: Your misfortune doesn’t make that doll any more beautiful—nor does it make me need it. If I give you money, it’s because I feel sorry for you.

35 Pre-judged jargon “If you don’t like this new software, you must be a drooling idiot. Any smart person would be able to see the greatness of the software.” REFUTE: You haven’t told me what the “greatness of the software” is; so I can’t see it—no matter whether I’m a “drooling idiot” or a genius.

36 Pushing popularity “Kobe Bryant is a famous and popular basketball player. How could he be guilty of the crime he is being accused of?” REFUTE: Famous and popular people are not necessarily better than others. They become famous because people like them. For example, Kobe has become famous by playing basketball very well.

37 Attack the person “You want a discount. What are you—some kind of filthy beggar?” “It’s easy for you to say that America should go to war in Iraq: you wouldn’t have to fight!” “You say that I shouldn’t smoke; but look at that cigarette in your hand. You smoke; so how can you tell anyone else not to smoke?”

38 Experts impress “Doctor Dan (PhD.) says that Smoothey’s Yogurt is great for your health.” “John J. Schmidt, professor of Economics at UCLA says that raising taxes will help the economy.” “George W. Bush will surely win the 2004 presidential election, said a government official.”

39 Style over substance “I think Loreal makes better cosmetics than Lancome because the girl in the Loreal advertisements is more beautiful than the girl in the Lancome advertisements.” REFUTE: The Loreal girl might wear Lancome cosmetics. Who knows what makes her beautiful?

40 False analogy “Employees are like horses, you need to kick them or whip them before they will do their work.” REFUTE: Employees are not like horses. Have you ever really kicked an employee? Try having a talk with them. You’ll see that humans are motivated by other things than pain and fear.

41 Coincidence to Cause “I ate at KFC last week. Now I have SARS. Eating at KFC caused me to get SARS.” REFUTE: You did many things last week. How can you know that eating KFC caused you to get SARS? The two things just happened at the same time. Did the other people who ate at KFC also get SARS?

42 Circular definition “The movie was good because it had good actors and actresses in it.” REFUTE: What do you mean by “good”? You could call anything “good”. Why not tell me what you liked about it, or what you thought was valuable or effective about it?

43 Its force does not come from
Abuse Sarcasm Fierce attack Domineering or hostile tone Neither overstate nor understate Not overuse of words such as perhaps, maybe, sometimes…

44 Clear logic Order of importance Order of familiarity
Order of of difficulty

45 Argumentation vs. exposition
Argumentation frequently uses other three types of writing, especially exposition, for argumentation and exposition are very closely related. Similarity: Introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion Difference: not just give information make the reader take some kind of action argue for the proposed action

46 We need more study space
Paragraph 1: A short story of a student who can’t study Paragraph 2: Facts about the need for study space Paragraph 3: Success stories from other universities Paragraph 4: A choice to make Paragraph 5: Specific suggestions Paragraph 1: (Thesis and introduction of main points) Paragraph 2: Students need study space Paragraph 3: Longer hours would be inexpensive Paragraph 4: Trial introduction Paragraph 5: Calls to action

47 Zhang Yifei had en exam the next morning at 8:00
Zhang Yifei had en exam the next morning at 8:00. His evening class finished at 7:35. After talking with the teacher for several minutes, he sat back down in his seat, spread out his books and started to look up possible answers to the test questions he would see in 12 hours. After reading half a page, the janitor came in and wanted to close the room. Yifei walked to the library, which was full of students (with nowhere to sit); and then to the dining hall, which was full of noise, oily tables, and the smell of food to distract him. When he went back to the library and spent 25 minutes looking for a seat, he learned that the library would close 40 minutes later. Defeated, Yifei went to his dorm room—too noisy—and then settled down in one of the non-working shower stalls in his hall bathroom to study under the dim light. 1

48 In order to finish school with a good education, students need to study well. In order to study well, students need places in which they can have silence, good light, and minimal movement around them so that they can do their work and obtain new knowledge. There are 12,000 students in BJUT, and approximately 7,000 seats. This means that up to 5,000 students at any time cannot find a place to study, even if they have the intelligence and the willpower to do good work in school. Moreover, a group of experts from an academic-focused branch of the government evaluated the university last fall, and reported that the lack of study space and classroom space to facilitate effective learning was the biggest problem facing BJUT.

49 Some universities have addressed the need for more study space already, to their success. The Beijing Foreign Languages and Cultures University recently added a new library building and, instead of tearing down the old library, they devoted the former building to study rooms and labs. The “new old” building brought to one place students from several different departments, helping people not only to study their own subjects, but to also gain new perspectives from schoolmates they might not have found. An important point from this example is that a university can create new study space from existing resources, as part of other projects. The idea of building a building just for students to study in needn’t be an objection.

50 Every university has limited resources
Every university has limited resources. Although most universities are non-profit institutions, they still need to operate efficiently, so as to maximize the benefits they reap from their operations. Unlike for-profit enterprises, efficiency benefits the people who buy the goods and services produced by a non-profit institution. The people who give money to universities are the students who pay money to take courses. If the students benefit by achieving higher test scores and getting better jobs in the future, then the university will benefit, also, from the fame their graduates bring them. As a university becomes more famous, it can charge higher tuition rates, thus bringing in more money, which it can use to employ better professors and buy more resources such as computer labs, library books, and scientific equipment.

51 Zhang Yifei’s story is typical for students at our university
Zhang Yifei’s story is typical for students at our university. As this writer has shown, the lack of study space equates to poorer education than each student has the ability to achieve. Some universities have dealt with their own study space problems. We can find inexpensive solutions to the problem. There are two ways our university can go. The first is to not deal with the study space problem and continue to offer poorer chances for students to get a good education, thus becoming a lower-ranked school. The second way is to find ways to make more rooms into study rooms, give students better chances to become well-educated, and become a better school as a result. Simply put, BJUT could become a worse or a better school as a result of a crucial decision that needs to be made. If you have any decision making power in the university, or any ability to voice your opinion, this writer urges you to work toward a school with adequate study space.

52 Our university library needs to be open 24 hours during school nights
Our university library needs to be open 24 hours during school nights. Students need the desks and chairs in the library to study. The library building stands on our campus 24 hours a day anyway. Why not keep the resources inside available to the students? A few additional hours of electricity and a few more paid library workers would be a worthwhile cost in light of the needs of 17,000 students. If the sudden expansion of library hours seems too big of a change, the university could try a few nights of full access or try adding a few hours to each night. 2

53 Students need study space
Students need study space. At present, they do not have enough places to study after 10PM. So they have two choices. One is to stop studying promptly when the school makes resources unavailable to their students at a set time every night. The other choice is to study in dimly lit places such as the dorm lobbies, or go to commercial establishments like restaurants, Net cafes, and bars to try to study in a smoky and noisy environment. With either choice, the students’ academic future suffers. That future could be an exam the next morning. That future could be the kind of job they are able to get after they graduate. That future could be a change—raising or lowering—in the rank BJUT holds among the major universities in China.

54 The study space is a problem for everyone and needs to be addressed quickly and effectively. However, the solution need not cost a fortune. The university library already has many places to study inside. If the doors were not locked early in the night, students could use those places to study, thus improving their chances of academic success. Yes, the university would need to allocate some additional money for electricity, and would need to hire a few more paid library workers. The reader should start to see an equation here: the cost of making existing resources more available to students against the benefit of 12,000 students, hundreds or thousands of whom need to study at night in order to succeed. Add to that equation the millions of yuan paid in tuition to the university every year. They need not be neon lights in the library, nor fancy CEOs stacking books.

55 Many people believe that drastic change is careless or at least wasteful, and this writer does not suggest carelessness or wastefulness. A possible middle ground would be to open the library for the full 24 hours on days before heavy classes, such as Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights; or to open the library for two or three more hours each night, letting the university get used to the higher operating costs, and letting the students get used to spending time in the library at night. Step by step, school administrators, library staff, and students could work together to raise the academic level of the Beijing University of Technology.

56 A concerned reader would wonder what they, themselves, could do to make resources in the library more available for students. If the reader is a school administrator, they could propose the use of newfound funds to finance the operation of the library, or they could suggest to their fellow administrators that funds be redirected toward this low-cost, high-benefit solution. If the reader is a student or a faculty member of the university, they could collect information from the students about the need for the study space locked in the library after dark. This information could include signatures from students under a statement of need, or it could include answers to survey questions regarding the ways that students would use the library, were it available to them at night. We all have a simple solution before us, let us make that solution into a reality.

57 Examples of persuasive arguments

58 Cut your smoking down to three cigarettes each day.
You will feel less tired throughout the day if you smoke fewer cigarettes. Cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is a drug that makes a gland in your body make more dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that your brain uses to transmit messages. If your body works hard to make dopamine, your body will make less dopamine than usual when the nicotine from the last cigarette wears off. This will make you feel tired. Make tomorrow your first day of only three cigarettes.

59 Never eat at McDonald’s.
Eating at McDonald’s will make you fat. One Big Mac from McDonalds usually has between 28 and 34 grams of fat. If you have the average (human) amount of body fat—10 kilograms—and you eat 34 Big Macs, you could become twice as fat unless there is some change in your body that makes you store less fat. If the Big Macs alone don’t do this, the French fries and sugary drinks will. When your friends suggest eating at McDonalds, choose a fast Chinese restaurant instead.

60 Thank you!

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