Argument & Persuasion

Argument & Persuasion

Argument & Persuasion Senior English 2013 2014 Ms. Hooper What is the difference? Argument appeals mainly to an audiences sense of reason in order to formulate a common understanding or to win agreement with a claim. Persuasion appeals mainly to an audiences feelings and values in order to compel some action, or to at least win support for an action.

However, these processes are so closely linked that we will use just one term: argument. The Elements of Argument Assertion a debatable claim (expressed in a thesis statement) Attack a position Propose a solution to a problem Recommend a change in policy Challenge a value or belief

Reasons or sub-claims are used to support the assertion. Significant counter-claims (opposing assertions) are raised and disproved through evidence All parts of the argument are organized into a clear, logical structure that moves toward a conclusion. Examples of thesis statement: The city should give first priority for summer jobs to students whose families need financial assistance. School prayer has been rightly declared

unconstitutional and should not be reinstated in any form. Smokers who wish to poison themselves should be allowed to do so, but not in any place where their smoke will poison others Appeals to Readers Ethical appeals often not explicit in the argument but is part of the whole Emotional appeals aim directly for the audiences beliefs, values and feelings Logical (rational) appeals addresses the audiences logic and ability to reason

Inductive reasoning moves from the particular to the general Deductive reasoning moves from the general to the specific Ethical appeals involve: How the writer/speaker conveys his/her expertise, credentials or character The reasonableness of the argument By the use of evidence By tone

Emotional appeals Heighten the responsiveness of readers/listeners Inspire audience members to new beliefs Compel the audience to act Assure the audience that their values remain unchallenged Care must be given: MUST be directed at actual beliefs and feelings MUST be presented calmly so there is no doubt of fairness MUST be appropriate to the subject and the argument

Logical (rational) appeals Inductive Reasoning Facts: statistics, verifiable data Opinions of recognized experts on the subject Examples illustrating evidence Deductive Reasoning; may be written as a syllogism (a three step outline) Major premise Minor premise Conclusion Simple example of syllogism

All stoves burn me. This is a stove. Therefore, this stove will burn me. Major premise: The hospital relies exclusively on drugs to treat psychiatric patients. Minor premise: Drugs do not always cure mental illness. Conclusion: Therefore, the hospital does not always cure psychiatric patients. Arguments are rarely spelled out that easily. The state may not imprison a man just because he is too poor to pay a fine; the only justification for imprisonment is a certain danger to society, and

poverty does not constitute certain danger. The syllogism: Major premise: The state may imprison only those who are a certain danger to society. Minor premise: A man who is too poor to pay a fine is nota certain danger to society. Conclusion: Therefore, the state cannot imprison a man just because he is too poor to pay a fine. Implied parts of syllogism All five students cheated, so they should be expelled.

[Implied major premise: cheaters should be expelled.] Cheaters should be punished by expulsion, so all five students should be expelled. [Implied minor premise: all five students cheated.] Cheaters should be punished by expulsion, and all five students cheated. [Implied conclusion: all five students should be Fallacies Inappropriate emotional appeals or

flaws in reasoning fallacies can trap writers and speakers as the construct arguments. There are many types of fallacies, but well focus on eight. Hasty generalization Ignoring the question Ad hominem Either-or Non sequitur

Post hoc Hasty generalizations An inductive conclusion that leaps to include all instances when at best only some instances provide any evidence. Hasty generalizations form some of our worst stereotypes. Examples: Physically challenged people are mentally challenged, too. African Americans are good athletes.

Italian American have bad tempers. Oversimplifications An inductive conclusion that ignores complexities in the evidence that, if noted, would weaken the conclusion or suggest an entirely different one. Example: The newspaper folded because it couldnt compete with the Internet. Fallacy: The Internet may have taken some business from the newspaper, but other newspaper continue to thrive. Therefore, the Internet could not be the only cause for the

newspapers failure. Begging the question (circular argument) Assuming a conclusion in the statement of premise and begging readers to accept the conclusion before it is proved. Example: We can trust the president not to neglect the needy because he is a compassionate man. Fallacy: In a circular fashion the sentence asserts that the president is not uncompassionate because he is compassionate. He may be compassionate,

but the question that needs to be answered is what will he do for the needy. Ignoring the question Introducing an issue or consideration that shifts the argument away from the real issue. Offering an emotional appeal as a premise in a logical argument is a form of ignoring the question. Example: The superintendant was badly used by people he loved and trusted, so we should not blame him for the corruption in his administration.

Fallacy: This sentence appeals to pity not to logic. Ad hominem Latin for to the man A form of ignoring the question by attacking the opponent instead of the opponents arguments Example: OBrien is married to a convict, so her proposals for prison reform should not be taken seriously. Either-or

Requires that readers choose between two interpretations or actions when in fact the choices are more numerous. Example: Either we imprison all drug users, or we will become their prisoners. Fallacy: Factors contributing to drug addiction, and the choices for dealing with it, are obviously more complex than this statement suggests. Note: not all either-or arguments are invalid because sometimes the alternatives do include all the possibilities. Non sequitur

Latin for it does not follow A conclusion derived illogically or erroneously from stated or implied premises. Example: The printer isnt working, so I couldnt complete the assignment. Fallacy: A broken machine might prevent printing finished work, but it has nothing to do with the ability to do the work in the first place. Post hoc From the Latin post hoc, ergo propter hoc,

after this, therefore because of this Assuming that because one thing preceded another, it must have caused the other. Example: After the town banned smoking in closed public places, the incidence of vandalism went up. Fallacy: Many thing may have caused the rise in vandalism, including improved weather and a climbing unemployment rate. It does not follow that the ban on smoking, and that

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