Both at university and later when you have a Job, you will be given assignments to read and write texts, deliver presentations, or take part in debates in which you will try to convince others that your point of view is correct, or in which you will have to criticize another person’s argumentation. Many students find this very difficult. That is why we will learn how to set up or criticize an argumentation. To achieve this, we will see how argumentation work. If you see how they work, you will also be able to set up an argumentation yourself. Argumentation’ is a course in classical rhetoric. This is not rhetoric the way the word is used commonly today, but a course in how to debate, how to influence others by sound reasoning, how to gain support for your position in a disagreement. The objectives of the module are to master the skills of argumentation and persuasion. By the end of the term, you will be able to identify and generate sound arguments on a variety of topics and in a variety of forms, such as the essay, the rebuttal, and the executive summary.
You will also be able to identify, categorize and define flaws and weaknesses in written or oral arguments ND improve flaws and weaknesses in specific pieces of argumentative writing. In order to meet the above objectives, we will recollect the basics of standard logic. Your knowledge of argumentation techniques will also help you to solve disputes. There are many different types of disputes. Of course there is a dispute when two people exchange opposite opinions. But even when one person makes a statement, and another person expresses doubt whether the statement is true, we consider this to be a dispute.
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So, a dispute is a difference of opinion, a disagreement in the broadest sense of the word. Basically there are two ways to end disputes: settlement and solution – settling a dispute has always been a very popular way to end a dispute. There are various ways to settle a dispute: war, violence, blackmail, bribery, letting fate decide, or by voting. Another common way is to take the matter to court. – solving a dispute means that both parties try to convince each other that they are right. They do so by giving arguments supporting their opinions.
In many companies management does not take decisions by taking a vote, but by exchanging opinions and arguments until consensus is reached. After all, decisions must often be carried out by everyone involved. Although in many democracies argumentation is considered the best way to end disputes, this does not mean that in these countries disputes are always solved in a rational way. If the interests at stake get too big, many people cannot resist resorting to other means. The decision to end a dispute by means of debating, for that matter, has certain consequences.
As soon as you give arguments for your opinion or proposal, you allow it to be disputed. And that implies that you must be prepared to change your mind. If you know how to analyze an argumentation, you will be able to read or listen to another person’s argumentation and criticize it in systematic way. Everyone takes decisions partly on the basis of other people’s argumentation, more or less instinctively. Later, when you have a Job, intuition will not do. You will be expected to account for your decisions.
Therefore, you will have to be able to analyze other people’s arguments. After all, you will usually not know so much about a subject that you can take a decision without reading texts about it written by other people. These sets will present arguments that you will have to analyze, and criticize carefully. By the way, in this book to criticize’ is a neutral word, implying both positive and negative criticism. In a critique you give an opinion about other people’s work, and you defend your own opinion.
As I said before, we will mainly deal with analyzing texts written by others, because we think that this will also enable you to set up good argumentation yourself. In this course we will restrict ourselves to argumentation on policies, because the decisions that you will have to take in your Jobs will often be policy decisions. Furthermore, you will have to write many policy-making texts yourself, e. G. Your graduation thesis. You will have to talk about policies as well: persuasive presentations, debates etc. In business meetings you will have to respond to policy proposals by other people.
Another reason is that all policy proposals in texts/debates/presentations have more or less fixed structures. This makes it easier to analyze them. Set-up of this book. In chapter 1 we will deal with some basic notions that we will use in this book and we will explain how you can recognize and analyses argumentation. Chapters 2 and 3 are devoted to assessing completeness and quality of argumentation. In chapter 4 we will cover the skills of critical reasoning and show how you can use and evaluate argumentation in a text.
Chapter 5 will give recommendations on writing an argumentative essay. The theoretical material is followed by exercises on argumentation and text cohesion/coherence. The provided list of sources and references can be of help to those who may need further information on the issues covered by this book. 3 Chapter Recognizing argumentation t is not always easy to recognize argumentation. Statements that resemble argumentation cannot always be regarded as such. And once you have established that there is argumentation, it is sometimes difficult to recognize the different arguments.
In this chapter you will learn how to determine whether a piece of text is an example of argumentation or not. But first, let us define some important notions before we can deal with argumentation. Basic notions So far we have used a number of concepts, such as to argue, persuade, dispute, an argument, argumentation and dispute without giving a definition. In everyday use here is not much difference, but if you want to discuss this subject you must use the correct terminology. One of these basic notions is to argue.
This means that someone tries to prove that a statement is correct by means of one more other statements (arguments). To make this concept clearer, we will now give you a definition of an argumentation: An argumentation is a combination of statements of which one (the opinion or conclusion) is supported by one or mere other statements. Typical of argumentation is that the statements show a support relation. If I say “The either is going to be fine today”, then this is Just an observation, for example when looking out of the window.
So, it is not an example of argumentation. But this observation may be used as an opinion or argument, depending on its relation with other statements: The weather is going to be fine today, the swallows are flying high up in the air. Let’s go to the beach, the weather is going to be fine today. (opinion) (argument) The word statement in the above definition is in itself a neutral word. A statement can be used as an opinion or an argument; it may even not be argumentation at all. An opinion or conclusion is not neutral. It has a subjective element.
We define it as follows: An opinion or conclusion is a view of reality that is not shared by everyone, in other words a statement that is or may be disputed. The above implies that by arguing (orally or in writing) one admits the following: – There is a disagreement (a dispute), or a disagreement may occur. – The reader/ listener is regarded as a person who can be convinced by means of arguments. In other words argumentation is thought to be of use. A dispute is the same as a disagreement, a disagreement about a statement (an opinion).
There are two types of disputes: – One person’s statement is doubted by another person, and the first person gives one or more arguments to support his opinion. Here is an example: A: I think it is beginning to get more difficult for the university graduates to get a Job. A: Why? A: Well, in the past few years there has been an explosion of the university graduates. – The second person does more than cast doubt on the first per-son’s statement. He sets his own opinion against his opponent’s. This makes the situation more complicated. They both have to play double roles: they dispute each other’s pinion and give arguments to support their own.
An example will make the situation clear: A: I think it is beginning to get more difficult for the university graduates to get a Job. In my opinion, it is getting easier. Where did you get that idea from? Well, the demand for the university graduates is increasing because everyone knows by now what to expect from a university graduate. In this course we will do mainly with the first type. So only one of the two parties is obliged to give arguments for his opinion. To add to the confusion, the notion argumentation is also used for a combination of overall argumentation, together forming an oral or written text of some length.
Such an argumentation consists of one main opinion or conclusion which is supported by the rest of the text. In this book we will use the words argumentative text to indicate an argumentation of some length. 5 Now we will explain the notion to convince’. The purpose of argumentation is to convince the listener/reader by means of arguments that a certain opinion is correct. The way in which this aim is achieved is confined to rules. In everyday language to convince’ is also used when other methods than arguing are seed.
In this broader sense to convince’ means: to make someone adopt a certain view. In that case, the goal is more important than the means. Here are some of the methods that may be used: – Appealing to the readers’/listeners’ needs, emotions or wishes. This is what happens in advertising. The audience’s rational capacities are not involved. – Exerting pressure. Some parents use pressure in an attempt to make their children share their own opinions. – Making use of one’s authority in certain matters. The readers/listeners are convinced because it is an expert who is saying something.
As you can see, there are many ways of convincing, ranging from rational methods (argumentation) to attempts that can hardly be considered reasonable. It is perhaps better to call the latter persuasion, but the dividing line is hard to define. By the way, we do not consider the above methods objectionable, and some of them, e. G. Accepting the speaker’s authority, are quite common in argumentation. Pressure is a common device in international politics and diplomacy. Obviously they are considered to be ‘reasonable’. Other basic terms are borrowed from logic and they include:l Proposition can be true or false in an argument, but not alone.
It can be a premise or conclusion. It is not equal to a sentence. Premise is a proposition used as evidence in an argument. Conclusion is proposition used as a thesis in an argument. Argument is a group of propositions of which one is claimed to follow from the others. Induction is a process through which the premises provide some basis for the conclusion Deduction is a process through which the premises provide conclusive proof for the conclusion. In this book we will also deal with forms of argumentation that are not, or not so reasonable: the so-called fallacies or sophism (see Chapter 3).
Source: Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings, detection, 2001 Logic in Argumentative Writing http://Webster. Comment. Deed/grammar/composition/logic. HTML 6 EXAMPLE 1 “Universities are full of knowledge. The freshmen bring a little in, and the seniors take none away, and knowledge accumulates. ” –Harvard President A. L. Lowell Premise 1 Premise 2 Premise 3 Conclusion Freshmen bring a little (knowledge) in Seniors take none away Knowledge accumulates Universities are full of knowledge EXAMPLE 2 (Here, the conclusion of one argument is used as a premise in another. This is very common. Even though there may be a deceiver of some sort, very powerful and very tricky, who bends all his efforts to keep me perpetually deceived, there can be no slightest doubt that I exist, since he deceives me; and let him deceive me as much as he will, he can never make me be nothing as long as I think I am something. Thus, after having thought well on this matter, and after examining all things with care, I must finally conclude and maintain that this proposition: I am, I exist, is necessarily true every time that I pronounce it or conceive it in my mind. ” Rene Descartes, Meditations Argument 1 Premise 1:
Conclusion of Argument 1 Argument 2 Premise 1: Conclusion: To be deceived I must exist When I think that I exist I cannot be deceived about that I am, I exist, is necessarily true . Types of Arguments When most people think of arguments, they picture two people fighting over different viewpoints. Therefore, many of us feel as if the argumentation process is meant to cause conflict rather than resolve it. But, originally, arguments were invented to persuade others to alter or compromise their position on a certain topic. To persuade your audience to reconsider their beliefs, you must move them from one position to a efferent one.
So you should assess how resistant your audience will be to your position: Are they a neutral audience that is undecided about your topic? Or are they openly hostile to your stance and refuse to see your side of the argument? Below you will find strategies to write for these audiences so you can convince them that your viewpoint is important. Classical Arguments Classical arguments were used by ancient Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Plato. Http://www. Stark. Kent. Deed/writing/argument. HTML Classical arguments are written to persuade undecided or neutral audiences.