COMP 2 WEEK 1 CRR Week 2: Origins of Classical Rhetoric


This week we are going to familiarize ourselves with the western, ancient origins of Rhetorical Theory. As we move through our chapter readings and assigned media, we will begin to craft connections between what what Aristotle and the great Sophists have to do with argument today.

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Particularly when we think of “making argument,” we should be considered what comes to mind. Conflict? Pro-Con? Winners and Losers? Compromise? Resolution? These are all ideas we will confront this week as we dive into the history of rhetorical theory and begin a framework of argument together!

Module Objectives:

  1. Discuss the classical origins of Rhetorical Theory 
  2. Identify the five canons of rhetoric 
  3. Classify the definition of argument

Chapter Readings: 

  • Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing 2e, Issue 1: Why Rhetoric p. 50-69 
  • Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings 11e, Chapter 1: Argument: An Introduction p. 2-16

Additional Readings: 

  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Invention 
  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Arrangement
  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Style
  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Memory
  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Delivery 

Instructions: You are expected to read all of the assigned readings before posting on the discussion boards. You may respond to questions posted by the instructor or any student but posts need to be closely related to readings and posted in a timely manner. Post Initial responses and peer responses in a timely manner, responding to instructor discussion threads/prompts or posting uniquely generated content.

Initial Post:

Instructor Prompt #1: Is Everything Argument? (400 words)

Classic and Contemporary Rhetoricians alike argue that “Everything’s an Argument.” From the bumper stickers we see on the drive to work to famous American speeches that are branded into our Nation’s shared memory, we literally cannot escape rhetoric and argument. Do you agree with the sentiment that Everything’s an Argument? Defend your answer using examples from the assigned texts and your own life. 

Instructor Prompt #2: Are the Canons Dead? (400 words)

Now that you are familiar with the Five Canons of Rhetoric, which canon (e.g. Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery) resonates with your personal argument style the most? Do you struggle with any of these processes when you are crafting arguments? Do you think any of these Rhetorical canons feel outdated or irrelevant to how you or those around you deliver argument?



































































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• •

etoric wit

-event it ion

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• •
etoric wit


John D. Ratnage
Arizona State University

John C. Bean

Seattle University

June Johnson

Seattle University

it ion

330 Hudson St r eet, NY NY 10013

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  • Part One Principles of Argument
  • 1

    1 Argument: An Introduction


    2 The Core of an Argument : A Claim
    with Reasons


    3 The Logical Structure of Arguments:


    4 Using Evidence Effectively

    5 Moving Your Audience:

    Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos

    6 Responding to Objections
    and Alternative Views

    Part Two Entering an






    7 Analyzing Arguments Rhetorically 104

    8 Argument as Inquiry: Reading,
    Summarizing, and Speaking Back 1


    Part Three Expanding Our
    Understanding of
    Argument 155

    9 Making Visual and Multimodal


    10 An Alternative to Argument:
    Collaborative Rhetoric

    Part Four Arguments in Depth:
    Types of Claims

    11 An Introduction to the
    Types of Claims






    12 Definition and Resemblance

    13 Causal Arguments
    14 Evaluation and Ethical


    15 Proposal Arguments

    Part Five The Researched

    16 Finding and Evaluating

    17 Incorporating Sources into
    Your Own Argument

    18 Citing and Documenting

    Appendix Informal Fallacies

    Part Six An Anthology of

    Choices for a Sustainable World

    Post-Fact, Post-Truth Society?

    Public Health

    Challenges in Education

    Self-Driving Cars

    Immigration in the Twenty-First

    Argument Classics





















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  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments

    Part One Principles of Argument

    1 Argument: An Introduction

    What Do We Mean by Argument?

    Argument Is Not a Fight or a Quarrel

    Argument Is Not Pro-Con Debate

    Arguments Can Be Explicit or Implicit

    An Explicit Argument Opposing Legalization
    of Marijuana

    For Writing and Discussion: Implicit and
    Explicit Arguments




    The Defining Features of Argument 8

    Argument Requires Justification of Its Claims 8

    Argument Is Both a Process and a Product

    Argument Combines Truth-Seeking and


    Argument and the Problem of Truth in the
    21st Century

    For Writing and Discussion: Role-Playing


    2 The Core of an Argument:
    A Claim with Reason

    The Classical Structure of Argument

    Classical Appeals and the Rhetorical Triangle

    Issue Questions as the Origins of Argument

    Difference between an Issue Question
    and an Information Question

    How to Identify an Issue Question

    For Writing and Discussion: Information
    Questions Versus Issue Questions

    Difference between a Genuine Argument
    and a Pseudo-Argument











    For Writing and Discussion: Reasonable
    Arguments Versus Pseudo-Arguments

    Frame of an Argument: A Claim Supported by

    What Is a Reason?

    For Writing and Discussion: Using Images to
    Support an Argument

    Expressing Reasons in Because Clauses

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing
    Claims and Reasons


    Writing Assignment: An Issue Question
    and Working Thesis Statements

    3 The Logical Structure
    of Arguments: Logos

    An Overview of Logos: What Do We Mean by the








    “Logical Structure” of an Argument? 32

    Formal Logic Versus Real-World Logic 33

    The Role of Assumptions 33

    The Core of an Argument: The Enthymeme 34
    The Power of Audience-Based Reasons 35

    For Writing and Discussion: Identifying
    Underlying Assumptions and Choosing
    Audience-Based Reasons

    Adopting a Language for Describing Arguments:


    The Toulmin System 36

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing
    Enthymemes with the Toulmin Schema 41

    Using Toulmin’s Schema to Plan and Test Your
    Argument 42

    Hypothetical Example: Cheerleaders as
    Athletes 42

    First Part of Chandale’ s Argument 43

    Continuation of Chandale’ s Argument 44

    Extended Student Example: Girls and Violent
    Video Games 45




  • Contents
  • Carmen Tieu (Student Essay), Why Violent Video
    Games Are Good for Girls 47

    The Thesis-Governed “Self-Announcing”
    Structure of Classical Argument 49

    For Writing and Discussion: Reasons,
    Warrants, and Conditions of Rebuttal 50

    Use Specific Examples and Illustrations

    Use Narratives

    Use Words, Metaphors, and Analogies with
    Appropriate Connotations

    For Writing and Discussion: Incorporating
    Appeals to Pathos

    Conclusion 50 Kairos: The Timeliness and Fitness of
    A Note on the Informal Fallacies 51 Arguments

    For Writing and Discussion: Analyzing an Writing Assignment: Plan of an Argument’s
    Details 51 Argument from the Perspectives of Logos,

    Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos

    4 Using Evidence Effectively 52
    Kinds of Evidence 52

    The Persuasive Use of Evidence 55

    Apply the STAR Criteria to Evidence 55

    Establish a Trustworthy Ethos 57

    Be Mindful of a Source’s Distance from
    Original Data 57

    Rhetorical Understanding of Evidence 58

    Angle of Vision and the Selection and
    Framing of Evidence 59

    For Writing and Discussion: Creating
    Contrasting Angles of Vision 60

    Examining Visual Arguments: Angle of Vision 60

    Rhetorical Strategies for Framing Evidence 62

    Strategies for Framing Statistical Evidence 64

    For Writing and Discussion: Using Strategies
    to Frame Statistical Evidence 65

    Creating a Plan for Gathering Evidence 65
    Conclusion 65

    Writing Assignment: A Supporting-Reasons
    Argument 66

    5 Moving Your Audience: Ethos,
    Pathos, and Kairos 67

    Logos, Ethos, and Pathos as Persuasive
    Appeals: An Overview 68

    How to Create an Effective Ethos: The Appeal to
    Credibility 69

    How to Create Pathos: The Appeal to Beliefs and
    Emotions 70

    Use Concrete Language 71

    Using Images to Appeal to Logos, Ethos,
    Pathos, and Kairos

    For Writing and Discussion: Analyzing
    Images as Appeals to Pathos

    Examining Visual Arguments: Logos, Ethos,
    Pathos, and Kairos

    How Audience-Based Reasons Appeal
    to Logos, Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos

    For Writing and Discussion: Planning an
    Audience-Based Argumentative Strategy


    Writing Assignment: Revising a Draft
    for Ethos, Pathos, and Audience-Based

    6 Responding to Objections
    and Alternative Views

    One-Sided, Multisided, and Delayed-Thesis

    Determining Your Audience’s Resistance
    to Your Views

    Appealing to a Supportive Audience:
    One-Sided Argument

    Appealing to a Neutral or Undecided
    Audience: Classical Argument

    Summarizing Opposing Views

    For Writing and Discussion: Distinguishing
    Fair from Unfair Summaries

    Refuting Opposing Views

    Strategies for Rebutting Evidence

    Conceding to Opposing Views




















    Example of a Student Essay Using Refutation


    Trudie Makens (Student Essay), Bringing
    Dignity to Workers: Make the Minimum
    Wage a Living Wage

    For Writing and Discussion:
    Refutation Strategies

    Appealing to a Resistant Audience:
    Delayed-Thesis Argument





    How I Will Miss the Plastic Bag 95

    Writing a Delayed-Thesis Argument 97
    Conclusion 98

    Writing Assignment: A Classical Argument
    or a Delayed Thesis Argument 98

    Reading 98

    Lauren Shinozuka (Student Essay), The
    Dangers of Digital Distractedness 98

    Part 1Wo Entering an
    Conversation 103

    7 Analyzing Arguments
    Rhetorically 104

    Thinking Rhetorically about a Text 105

    Reconstructing a Text’s Rhetorical Context 105

    Author, Motivating Occasion, and Purpose 105

    Audience 107

    Genre 107

    Angle of Vision 108

    Asking Questions That Promote Rhetorical
    Thinking 109

    For Writing and Discussion: Practicing
    Rhetorical Analysis 111

    Conducting a Rhetorical Analysis of a
    Source Text 112

    KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ, Egg Heads 113

    For Writing and Discussion: Identifying
    Rhetorical Features 116

    Our Own Rhetorical Analysis of “Egg Heads” 116

    Writing Assignment: A Rhetorical Analysis



    Contents ix


    ELLEN GOODMAN, Womb for Rent



    Critiquing “Womb for Rent” 123

    Zachary Stumps (Student Essay), A Rhetorical
    Analysis Of Ellen Goodman’s “Womb For Rent” 123

    8 Argument as Inquiry: Reading,
    Summarizing, and Speaking
    Back 127

    Finding Issues to Explore 128

    Do Some Initial Brainstorming 128

    Be Open to the Issues All Around You 128

    Explore Ideas by Freewriting 129

    For Writing and Discussion: Responding to
    Visual Arguments About a Living Wage 131

    Explore Ideas by Idea Mapping 133

    Explore Ideas by Playing the Believing and
    Doubting Game 133

    For Writing and Discussion: Playing the
    Believing and Doubting Game 135

    Summarizing a Stakeholder’s Argument 135

    Damn Low 136

    Thinking Steps for Writing a Summary 137

    For Writing and Discussion: Does/Says
    Statements 138

    Examples of Summaries 139

    Responding to a Stakeholder ‘s Argument 140

    Practicing Believing: Willing Your Own
    Acceptance of the Writer’s Views 140

    Practicing Doubting: Willing Your Own
    Resistance to the Writer’s Views 140

    For Writing and Discussion: Raising Doubts
    About Surowiecki’s Argument 141

    Thinking Dialectically 142

    For Writing and Discussion: Practicing
    Dialectic Thinking with Two Articles 143

    Poor, Move Beyond “Minimum” Gestures 143

    Three Ways to Foster Dialectic Thinking 144

    Writing Assignment: An Argument
    Summary or a Formal Exploratory Essay



    X Contents

    Reading 148

    Trudie Makens (Student Essay), Should
    Fast-Food Workers Be Paid $15 per Hour? 148

    Part Three Expanding Our
    of Argument 155

    9 Making Visual and
    Multimodal Arguments 156

    Understanding Visual Design Elements in
    Multimodal Argument 157

    Use of Type 158

    Use of Space and Layout 159

    Use of Color 161

    Use of Images and Graphics 161

    For Writing and Discussion: Analyzing an
    Advocacy Ad 164

    The Compositional Features of Photographs
    and Drawings 165

    Compositional Features to Examine in
    Photos and Drawings 166

    An Analysis of a Multimedia Video
    Argument Using Words, Images, and Music 168

    For Writing and Discussion: Thinking
    Rhetorically about Photos 171

    The Genres of Multimodal Argument 172

    Posters and Fliers 172

    Public Affairs Advocacy Advertisements 174

    Cartoons 175

    For Writing and Discussion: Analyzing
    Posters Rhetorically 175

    For Writing and Discussion: Analyzing
    Cartoons 177

    Websites 177

    Advocacy Videos 178

    Constructing Your Own Multimodal Arguments 178

    Guidelines for Creating the Visual Elements
    in Posters, Fliers, and Advocacy Ads 178

    Guidelines for Creating Video Arguments 179

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing
    Ideas for an Advocacy Ad or Poster
    Argument 180

    Using Information Graphics in Arguments 180

    How Tables Contain a Variety of Stories 181

    Using a Graph to Tell a Story 182

    Incorporating Graphics into Your Argument 185

    A Note on How Graphics Frame Data
    Rhetorically 186
    Conclusion 187

    Writing Assignment: A Visual Argument
    Rhetorical Analysis, a Visual Argument, or
    a Short Argument Using Quantitative Data 188

    10 An Alternative to Argument:
    Collaborative Rhetoric 189

    The Appropriateness and Usefulness of
    Collaborative Rhetoric 190

    The Principles of Collaborative Rhetoric 191

    Practicing N onjudgmental Listening 192

    Identifying Values, Emotions, and Identities 192

    Seeking Common Ground 193

    Promoting Openness to Ongoing
    Communication and Change 194

    For Writing and Discussion: Listening
    Empathically and Seeking Common
    Ground 194

    Preparing for Collaborative Rhetoric Through
    Reflective Writing and Discussion 196

    Preparing for Collaborative Rhetoric
    Through Reflective Writing 196

    Practicing Collaborative Rhetoric in
    Discussion 197

    For Writing and Discussion: Conducting
    a Collaborative Rhetoric Discussion 197

    Writing an Open Letter as Collaborative
    Rhetoric 198

    Colleen Fontana (Student Essay), An Open
    Letter to Robert Levy in Response to His
    Article “They Never Learn” 199

    Conclusion 204

    Writing Assignment: An Open Letter as
    Collaborative Rhetoric 204

    Reading 205

    Monica Allen (Student Essay), An Open
    Letter to Christopher Eide in Response to
    His Article “High-Performing Charter Schools
    Can Close the Opportunity Gap” 205

    Part Four Arguments in Depth:
    Types of Claims 211

    11 An Introduction to the Types
    of Claims 212

    The Types of Claims and Their Typical Patterns
    of Development 213

    For Writing and Discussion: Identifying
    Types of Claims 214

    Using Claim Types to Focus an Argument and
    Generate Ideas: An Example 214

    Writer 1: Ban £-Cigarettes 215

    Writer 2: Promote £-Cigarettes as a Preferred
    Alternative to Real Cigarettes 216

    Writer 3: Place No Restrictions on £-Cigarettes 217

    Hybrid Arguments: How Claim Types Work
    Together in Arguments 217

    Some Examples of Hybrid Arguments 217

    For Writing and Discussion: Exploring
    Different Claim Types and Audiences 218

    An Extended Example of a Hybrid Argument 219

    Multivitamin May Be Hurting You 219

    12 Definition and Resemblance

    What Is at Stake in an Argument about


    Definition and Resemblance? 222

    Consequences Resulting from Categorical
    Claims 223

    The Rule of Justice: Things in the Same
    Category Should Be Treated the Same Way 223

    For Writing and Discussion: Applying the
    Rule of Justice 224

    Types of Categorical Arguments 225

    Simple Categorical Arguments 225

    For Writing and Discussion: Supporting
    and Rebutting Simple Categorical Claims 225

    Definition Arguments 226

    Resemblance Argument Using Analogy 226

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing
    Analogies 227

    Resemblance Arguments Using Precedent 228

    Contents XI

    For Writing and Discussion: Using Claims of


    Examining Visual Arguments: Claim about
    Category {Definition)

    The Criteria-Match Structure of Definition



    Overview of Criteria-Match Structure 230

    Toulmin Framework for a Definition Argument 231

    For Writing and Discussion: Identifying
    Criteria and Match Issues 232

    Creating Criteria Using Aristotelian Definition 232

    For Writing and Discussion: Working with
    Criteria 234

    Creating Criteria Using an Operational
    Definition 234

    Conducting the Match Part of a Definition
    Argument 234

    Idea-Generating Strategies for Creating Your
    Own Criteria-Match Argument 235

    Strategy 1: Research How Others Have
    Defined the Term 235

    Strategy 2: Create Your Own Extended
    Definition 236

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing a
    Definition 238

    Writing Assignment: A Definition Argument


    Exploring Ideas

    Identifying Your Audience and Determining
    What’s at Stake

    Organizing a Definition Argument

    Questioning and Critiquing a Definition


    Arthur Knopf (Student Essay), Is Milk
    a Health Food?

    Alex Mullen (Student Essay), A Pirate But
    Not a Thief: What Does “Stealing” Mean
    in a Digital Environment?

    Define Adulthood?

    13 Causal Arguments
    An Overview of Causal Arguments

    Kinds of Causal Arguments











    xii Contents

    Toulmin Framework for a Causal Argument 254

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing
    Causal Chains 256

    Two Methods for Arguing That One Event
    Causes Another 256

    First Method: Explain the Causal Mechanism
    Directly 257

    Second Method: Infer Causal Links Using
    Inductive Reasoning 258

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing
    Plausible Causal Chains Based on
    Correlations 259

    Examining Visual Arguments: A Causal Claim 259

    Key Terms and Inductive Fallacies in Causal
    Arguments 260

    A Glossary of Key Terms 260

    Avoiding Common Inductive Fallacies
    That Can Lead to Wrong Conclusions 261

    For Writing and Discussion: Brainstorming
    Causes and Constraints 262

    Writing Assignment: A Causal Argument 262

    Exploring Ideas 262

    Identifying Your Audience and Determining
    What’s at Stake 263

    Organizing a Causal Argument 264

    Questioning and Critiquing a Causal
    Argument 265

    Readings 266

    Jesse Goncalves (Student Essay), What
    Causes Math Anxiety? 267

    KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, Mirror, Mirror on the
    Wall, Are We Really Here at All? Can We Tell? 273

    Carlos Macias (Student Essay), “The Credit
    Card Company Made Me Do It!” The Credit
    Card Industry’s Role in Causing Student Debt 275

    14 Evaluation and Ethical

    An Overview of Categorical and Ethical
    Evaluation Arguments

    Constructing a Categorical Evaluation

    Criteria-Match Structure of Categorical





    Developing Your Criteria 284

    Making Your Match Argument 285

    Examining Visual Arguments: An
    Evaluation Claim 286

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing
    Criteria and Match Arguments 287

    Constructing an Ethical Evaluation Argument 288

    Consequences as the Base of Ethics 288

    Principles as the Base of Ethics 289

    Example Ethical Arguments Examining
    Capital Punishment 289

    For Writing and Discussion: Developing an
    Ethical Argument 291

    Common Problems in Making Evaluation
    Arguments 291

    Writing Assignment: An Evaluation or
    Ethical Argument 292

    Exploring Ideas 292

    Identifying Your Audience and Determining
    What’s at Stake 293

    Organizing an Evaluation Argument 293

    Questioning and Critiquing a Categorical
    Evaluation Argument 293

    Critiquing an Ethical Argument 294

    Readings 295

    Lorena Mendoza-Flores (Student Essay),
    Silenced and Invisible: Problems of
    Hispanic Students at Valley High School 295

    Hadley Reeder (Student Essay), A Defective
    and Detrimental Dress Code 299

    Genetic Parents For One Healthy Baby 302

    SAMUEL AQUILA, The “Therapeutic
    Cloning” of Human Embryos 303

    15 Proposal Arguments 306
    The Special Features and Concerns of Proposal
    Arguments 308

    Practical Proposals Versus Policy
    Proposals 308

    Toulmin Framework for a Proposal
    Argument 308

    Special Concerns for Proposal Arguments 309

    Developing a Proposal Argument 310

    Examining Visual Arguments: A
    Proposal Claim 311

    Convincing Your Readers That a Problem
    Exists 311

    Explaining the Proposed Solution: Showing
    the Specifics of Your Proposal 312

    Offering a Justification: Convincing Your
    Readers That the Benefits of Your Proposal
    Outweigh the Costs 313

    Using Heuristic Strategies to Develop
    Supporting Reasons for Your Proposal 313

    The Claim Types Strategy 314

    The Stock Issues Strategy 315

    For Writing and Discussion: Generating
    Ideas Using the Claim Types Strategy 316

    For Writing and Discussion: Brainstorming
    Ideas for a Proposal 317

    Proposal Arguments as Advocacy Posters or
    Advertisements 317

    Writing Assignment: A Proposal
    Argument 318

    Exploring Ideas 320

    Identifying Your Audience and Determining
    What’s at Stake 320

    Organizing a Proposal Argument 321

    Designing a One-Page Advocacy Poster or
    Advertisement 322

    Designing PowerPoint Slides or Other Visual
    Aids for a Speech 322
    Questioning and Critiquing a Proposal
    Argument 323

    Readings 323

    Megan Johnson (Student Essay), A Practical
    Proposal 324

    Ivan Snook (Student Essay), Flirting with
    Disaster: An Argument against Integrating
    Women into the Combat Arms 328

    Sandy Wainscott (Student Essay), Why
    McDonald’s Should Sell Meat and Veggie
    Pies: A Proposal to End Subsidies for
    Cheap Meat 336

    HUIS, The Six-Legged Meat of the Future 338

    Contents XIII

    Part Five The Researched
    Argument 341

    16 Finding and Evaluating
    Sources 342

    Formulating a Research Question Instead of
    a Topic 343

    Thinking Rhetorically About Kinds of Sources 343

    Identifying Kinds of Sources Relevant to
    Your Question 343

    Approaching Sources Rhetorically 343

    For Writing and Discussion: Identifying
    Types of Sources 347

    Finding Sources 348

    Conducting Interviews 348

    Gathering Source Data from Surveys or
    Questionnaires 349

    Finding Books and Reference Sources 349

    Using Licensed Databases to Find Articles
    in Scholarly Journals, Magazines, and News
    Sources 350

    Finding Cyberspace Sources: Searching the
    World Wide Web 350

    Selecting and Evaluating Your Sources and
    Taking Purposeful Notes 351

    Reading with Rhetorical Awareness 351
    Evaluating Sources 353

    Criteria for Evaluating a Web Source 355

    For Writing and Discussion: Analyzing the
    Rhetorical Elements of Two Websites 357

    Taking Purposeful Notes 357
    Conclusion 359

    17 Incorporating Sources into
    Your Own Argument 360

    Using Sources for Your Own Purposes 360
    Writer 1: A Causal Argument Showing
    Alternative Approaches to Reducing Risk of
    Alcoholism 361

    Writer 2: A Proposal Argument Advocating
    Vegetarianism 362

    XIV Contents

    Writer 3: An Evaluation Argument Looking
    Skeptically at Vegetarianism 362

    For Writing And Discussion: Using a
    Source for Different Purposes 363

    Using Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation 363

    Summarizing 363

    Paraphrasing 363

    Quoting 365

    Punctuating Quotations Correctly 366

    Quoting a Complete Sentence 366

    Quoting Words and Phrases 366

    Modifying a Quotation 367

    Omitting Something from a Quoted Passage 367

    Quoting Something That Contains a Quotation 368

    Using a Block Quotation for a Long Passage 368

    Appendix Informal Fallacies 397

    The Difference Between Formal and Informal
    Logic 397

    An Overview of Informal Fallacies 398

    Fallacies of Pathos 399

    Fallacies of Ethos 400

    Fallacies of Logos 401

    For Writing And Discussion: Persuasive or
    Fallacious? 403

    Part Six An Anthology of
    Arguments 405

    Choices for a Sustainable World 406

    JOSEPH ALDY, “Curbing Climate Change Creating Rhetorically Effective Attributive
    Tags 369 Has a Dollar Value Here’s How and Why

    Attributive Tags versus Parenthetical Citations 369

    Creating Attributive Tags to Shape Reader
    Response 370

    Avoiding Plagiarism 371

    Why Some Kinds of Plagiarism May Occur
    Unwittingly 371

    Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism 372

    For Writing And Discussion: Avoiding
    Plagiarism 37 4

    We Measure It” 407

    JAMES A. BAKER, “The Conservative Case
    for a Carbon Tax and Dividends” 409

    DAVID ROBERTS, “Putting a Price on Carbon
    is a Fine Idea. It’s Not the End-All Be-All” 411

    JULIAN CRIBB, “Our Human Right Not to Be
    Poisoned” 416

    ALEX HALLATT, “I Stopped Wearing
    Leather … ” 419

    Conclusion 37 4 BILL MCKIBBEN, “The Question I Get Asked
    the Most” 419

    18 Citing and Documenting CHELSEA M. ROCHMAN, “Ecologically
    Sources 375 Relevant Data Are Policy-Relevant Data” 422

    The Correspondence between In-Text Citations
    and the End-of-Paper List of Cited Works 375

    MLA Style 377

    In-Text Citations in MLA Style 377

    Works Cited List in MLA Style 379

    BEN ADLER, “Banning Plastic Bags is Great for
    the World, Right? Not So Fast” 424

    Bag Ban: Let’s Not Get Carried Away” 427

    For Writing and Discussion: Choices for a
    Sustainable World 429

    MLA Works Cited Citation Models 379

    MLA-Style Research Paper 389 Writing Assignment: Rhetorical Analysis 430

    APA Style 389

    In-Text Citations in APA Style 390
    Post-Fact, Post-Truth Society? 431

    References List in APA Style 390 DAVID UBERTI, “The Real History of Fake

    APA References Citation Models 391 News” 432

    Conclusion 396 “How to Spot Fake News” 437

    Contents XV

    SARAH WILSON, “I’ve Heard All the
    Arguments against a Sugar Tax. I’m Still

    KARSTEN SCHLEY, “Warning!! This
    Newspaper May Contain Traces of
    Journalism” 442 Calling for One in Australia” 471

    “Soda Tax Is Nanny-State Overreach” 473

    JACK SHAFER, “The Cure for Fake News Is
    Worse Than the Disease; Stop Being Trump’s
    Twitter Fool” 442 SIGNE WILKINSON, “More Jobs Lost to Soda
    WEST, “Sign the Statement: Truth-Seeking,
    Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and
    Expression” 445

    LUCIANO FLORID!, “Fake News and a
    400-Year-Old Problem: We Need to Resolve the
    “Post-Truth” Crisis” 446

    PETER WAYNE MOE, “Teaching Writing in a
    Post-Truth Era” 449

    MARCUS DU SAUTOY, “Why Aren’t People
    Listening to Scientists?” 450

    JEFF HESTER, “The Hermeneutics of Bunk:
    How a Physicist Gave Postmodernism a
    B~~E~” ~2

    TIMOTHY CAULFIELD, “Blinded by Science:
    Modern-Day Hucksters Are Cashing In on
    Vulnerable Patients” 454

    For Writing and Discussion: Dealing with
    Misinformation, Fake News, and
    Misconceptions 459

    Writing Assignment: Researched Proposal
    Speech on Understanding and Evaluating
    Scientific Claims 460

    Public Health 461

    BOARD, “Keep Up Fight against Childhood
    Obesity” 462

    BOARD, “Fed or Fed Up? Why We Support
    Easing School Lunch Rules” 463

    PREVENTION, “Tips for Parents Ideas to Help
    Children Maintain a Healthy Weight” 463

    “We Need to Call American Breakfast What It
    Often Is: Dessert” 468


    “Are We Subsidizing a Public Health Crisis by
    Allowing the Poor to Buy Soda with Food


    Stamps?” 474

    For Writing and Discussion: Public
    Health 476

    Writing Assignment: Multimodal Argument:
    A Storyboard or Cartoon 476

    Challenges in Education 477

    RACHEL M. COHEN, “Rethinking School
    Discipline” 478

    RICHARD ULLMAN, “Restorative Justice: The
    Zero-Tolerance-Policy Overcorrection” 487

    CASSADY ROSENBLUM, “Take It From a New
    Orleans Charter School Teacher: Parents Don’t
    Always Get School Choice Right” 489

    PAUL FELL, “Educators Try to Keep Public
    Education away from School Vouchers and
    Charter Schools” 491

    DOUGLAS N. HARRIS, “Why Managed
    Competition Is Better Than a Free Market for
    Schooling” 492

    RACHEL LAM, “Separate but Unequal” 501

    RAFAEL WALKER, “How Canceling
    Controversial Speakers Hurts Students” 503

    GINA BARRECA, “I’m Not Giving Students
    “Trigger Warnings”” 505

    ONNI GUST, “I Use Trigger Warnings But
    I’m Not Mollycoddling My Students” 507

    For Writing and Discussion: Challenges in

    Writing Assignment: A Researched
    Evaluation Argument on an Educational



    xvi Contents

    Self-Driving Cars

    ROBIN CHASE, “Self-Driving Cars Will
    Improve Our Cities, If They Don’t Ruin

    SCOTT SANTENS, “Self-Driving Trucks Are
    Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven

    DREW HENDRICKS, “Five Reasons You




    Should Embrace Self-Driving Cars” 526

    TIMES, “Would You Buy a Self-Driving Future
    from These Guys?” 528

    For Writing and Discussion: Self-Driving
    Cars 530

    Writing Assignment: A Researched
    Argument on a Subissue Related to
    Self-Driving Cars 531

    Immigration in the Twenty-First
    Century 532

    MICHELLE YE HEE LEE, “Fact Checker: The
    White House’ s Claim that “Sanctuary” Cities
    Are Violating the Law” 533

    KENT LUNDGREN, “Stop Immigration
    Processing as Leverage against
    Sanctuaries?” 535

    DARLENE NICGORSKI, “Convicted of the
    Gospel” 537

    SALAZAR, “Enforcement in Sanctuary Cities
    Should Be Peds’ Job, Not Local Police” 539

    JEFF DANZIGER, “Coming Soon to a
    House Like Yours” 540

    “Foreword to Tackling the Global Refugee Crisis:
    From Shirking to Sharing Responsibility” 541

    STEVEN P. BUCCI, “We Must Remain Vigilant
    through Responsible Refugee Policies” 544

    RICH STEARNS, “Facing Responsibility:
    The Face of a Refugee Child” 545

    For Writing and Discussion: Immigration
    in the Twenty-First Century 547

    Writing Assignment: White Paper
    Summarizing the Arguments about
    a Policy Proposal 548

    Argument Classics 549

    JONATHAN SWIFT, “A Modest Proposal:
    For Preventing the Children of Poor People in
    Ireland, from Being a Burden on Their Parents
    or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial
    to the Public” 549

    Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions
    Seneca Falls Conference” (1848) 555

    MARGARET SANGER, “The Morality of Birth
    Control” 559

    For Writing and Discussion: Argument

    Writing Assignment: Rhetorical Analysis







    hrough ten editions, Writing Arguments has sustained its reputation as a
    leading college textbook in argumentation. By focusing on argument as a
    collaborative search for the best solutions to problems (as opposed to pro/

    con debate), Writing Arguments treats argument as a process of inquiry as well as
    a means of persuasion. Users and reviewers have consistently praised the book
    for teaching the critical thinking skills needed for writing arguments: how to
    analyze the occasion for an argument; how to analyze arguments rhetorically;
    how to ground an argument in the values and beliefs of the targeted audience;
    how to develop and elaborate an argument; and how to respond sensitively to
    objections and alternative views. We are pleased that in this eleventh edition, we
    have improved the text in key ways while retaining the text’s signature strengths.

    What’s New in the Eleventh Edition?
    Based on our continuing research into argumentation theory and pedagogy and
    on our own experiences as classroom teachers, we have made significant improve-
    ments in the eleventh edition that will increase students’ understanding of the
    value of argument and help them negotiate the rhetorical divisiveness in today’s
    world. Here are the major changes in the eleventh edition:

    • Use of Aristotle’s -‘-‘provisional truths” to address post-truth, post-fact
    challenges to argument. This edition directly engages the complexity of
    conducting reasoned argument in a public sphere that is often dominated by
    ideological camps, news echo chambers, and charges of fake news. A revised
    Chapter 1 uses Aristotle’s view of probabilistic or provisional truths to carve
    out a working space for argument between unachievable certainty and nihil-
    istic relativism. Chapter 1’s view of argument as both truth-seeking and
    persuasion is carried consistently throughout the text. This edition directly
    tackles the challenges to reasoned argument posed by dominant ideological
    perspectives, siloed echo chambers, and a dependence on social media as a
    source of news.

    • A reordering, refocusing, and streamlining of chapters to create better
    pedagogical sequencing and coherence. The previous edition’s Chapter 2,
    which focused on argument as inquiry combining summary writing and
    exploratory response, has been refocused and moved to Chapter 8. Previ-
    ous Chapter 2 material on the genres of argument has now been placed in
    an expanded Chapter 7 on rhetorical analysis. This new sequencing allows
    students to focus first on understanding the principles of argument (Chapters
    1-6) and then to switch to the critical thinking process of joining an argumen-
    tative conversation through reading and strong response. (See “Structure of
    the Text” later in this preface for further explanation.)


    XVIII Preface

    • A new chapter on collaborative rhetoric as a bridge-building alternative
    to persuasion. Chapter 10, new to this edition, blends ideas from Rogerian
    communication with practices from conflict resolution to help prepare
    students for their roles in private, public, and professional life amidst clash-
    ing values and views. Explanations, guidelines, and exercises emphasize
    nonjudgmentallistening, self-reflection, a search for common ground, and
    suggestions for encouraging ongoing problem-solving through learning,
    listening, and respectful use of language.

    • A substantially revised chapter on visual and multimodal arguments.
    Chapter 9 on visual and multimodal rhetoric now includes a new example
    and guidelines for making persuasive videos as well as a new exercise to
    apply image analysis in the construction of visual arguments.

    • A revised chapter on rhetorical analysis. Chapter 7, “Analyzing Arguments
    Rhetorically,” has been expanded by consolidating rhetorical instruction from
    several chapters into one chapter and linking it to the critical thinking skills
    required for joining an argumentative conversation.

    • Updated or streamlined examples and explanations throughout the text
    along with many new images. Instructors familiar with previous editions
    will find many new examples and explanations ranging from a new dialog
    in Chapter 1 to illustrate the difference between an argument and a quarrel
    to a streamlined appendix on logical fallacies at the end. New images, edito-
    rial cartoons, and graphics throughout the text highlight current issues such
    as legalizing marijuana, plastics in the ocean, graffiti in public places, a soda
    tax, cultural and religious diversity, refugees, travel bans, and cars’ carbon

    • Two new student model essays, one illustrating APA style. One new stu-
    dent model essay evaluates gender bias in a high school dress code, and the
    other, illustrating APA style, explores the causes of math anxiety in children.

    • A handful of lively new professional readings in the rhetoric section of the
    text. New readings ask students to think about a ban on plastic bags, the
    social definition of adulthood, and the psychological effect of not recognizing
    ourselves in videos.

    • A thoroughly revised and updated anthology. The anthology features
    updated units as well as four entirely new units.

    • A new unit on self-driving cars explores the legal, economic, and societal
    repercussions of this new technological revolution in transportation.

    • A unit on the post-truth, post-fact era examines the difficulties of con-
    suming news and evaluating the factual basis of news and scientific
    claims in the era of ideological siloes and of news as entertainment via
    social media.

    • A new unit on the public health crisis explores the personal and societal
    consequences of excessive consumption of sugar, the need to establish
    healthy eating habits in children, and the controversy over a soda tax.

    • A unit on challenges in education examines three areas of controversy: disci-
    plinary policy in K-12 classrooms (restorative justice versus zero-tolerance);
    the voucher system and charter schools as alternatives to public school; and,
    at the college level, trigger warnings and divisive speakers on campus.

    • An updated unit on sustainability examines the carbon tax and the envi-
    ronmental damage caused by the use and disposal of plastic bottles and
    plastic bags.

    • The unit on immigration has been updated to explore the controversy over
    sanctuary cities and the American response to refugees.

    • A brief argument classics unit offers some famous stylized historical

    What Hasn’t Changed? The Distinguishing
    Strengths of Writing Arguments
    The eleventh edition of Writing Arguments preserves the text’s signature strengths
    praised by students, instructors, and reviewers:

    • Argument as a collaborative search for “best solutions” rather than as pro-
    con debate. Throughout the text, Writing Arguments emphasizes both the
    truth-seeking and persuasive dimensions of argument a dialectic tension
    that requires empathic listening to all stakeholders in an argumentative con-
    versation and the seeking of reasons that appeal to shared values and beliefs.
    For heated arguments with particularly clashing points of view, we show the
    value of Rogerian listening and, in this eleventh edition, point to collaborative
    rhetoric as a shift from making arguments to seeking deeper understanding
    and common ground as a way forward amid conflict.

    • Argument as a rhetorical act. Writing Arguments teaches students to think
    rhetorically about argument: to understand the real-world occasions and con-
    texts for argument, to analyze the targeted audience’s underlying values and
    assumptions, to understand how evidence is selected and framed by an angle
    of vision, to appreciate the functions and constraints of genre, and to employ
    the classical appeals of logos, pathos, and ethos.

    • Argument as critical thinking. When writing an argument, writers are
    forced to lay bare their thinking processes. Focusing on both reading and
    writing, Writing Arguments emphasizes the critical thinking that underlies
    reasoned argument: active questioning, empathic reading and listening,
    believing and doubting, asserting a contestable claim that pushes against
    alternative views, and supporting the claim with a logical structure of reasons
    and evidence all while negotiating uncertainty and ambiguity.

    • Consistent grounding in argumentation theory. To engage students in the
    kinds of critical and rhetorical thinking that argument demands, we draw on
    four major approaches to argumentation:
    • The enthymeme as a rhetorical and logical structure. This concept, espe-

    cially useful for beginning writers, helps students “nutshell” an argument
    as a claim with one or more supporting because clauses. It also helps them
    see how real-world arguments are rooted in assumptions granted by the
    audience rather than in universal and unchanging principles.

    • The three classical types of appeal logos, ethos, and pathos. These con-
    cepts help students place their arguments in a rhetorical context focus-
    ing on audience-based appeals; they also help students create an effective
    voice and style.

    Preface XIX

    XX Preface

    • Toulmin’s system of analyzing arguments. Toulmin’ s system helps stu-
    dents see the complete, implicit structure that underlies an enthymeme
    and develop appropriate grounds and backing to support an argument’s
    reasons and warrants, thus helping students tailor arguments to audiences.
    Toulmin analysis highlights the rhetorical, social, and dialectical nature of

    • Stasis theory concerning types of claims. This approach stresses the
    heuristic value of learning different patterns of support for different types
    of claims and often leads students to make surprisingly rich and full

    • Effective writing pedagogy. This text combines explanations of argument
    with best practices from composition pedagogy, including exploratory writ-
    ing, sequenced and scaffolded writing assignments, class-tested “For Writing
    and Discussion” tasks, and guidance through all stages of the writing process.
    To help students position themselves in an argumentative conversation, the
    text teaches the skills of” summary I strong response” the ability to summa-
    rize a source author’s argument and to respond to it thoughtfully. The moves
    of summary and strong response teach students to use their own critical and
    rhetorical thinking to find their own voice in a conversation.

    • Rhetorical approach to the research process. Writing Arguments teaches
    students to think rhetorically about their sources and about the ways they
    might use these sources in their own arguments. Research coverage includes
    guidance for finding sources, reading and evaluating sources rhetorically,
    taking purposeful notes, integrating source material effectively (including
    rhetorical use of attributive tags), and citing sources using two academic cita-
    tion systems: MLA (8th edition) and APA. The text’s rhetorical treatment of
    plagiarism helps students understand the conventions of different genres and
    avoid unintentional plagiarism.

    • Extensive coverage of visual rhetoric. Chapter 9 is devoted entirely to
    visual and multimodal rhetoric. Additionally, many chapters include an
    “Examining Visual Rhetoric” feature that connects visual rhetoric to the
    chapter’s instructional content. The images that introduce each part of the
    text, as well as images incorporated throughout the text, provide opportuni-
    ties for visual analysis. Many of the text’s assignment options include visual
    or multimodal components, including advocacy posters or speeches sup-
    ported with presentation slides.

    • Effective and engaging student and professional arguments. The pro-
    fessional and student arguments, both written and visual, present voices
    in current social conversations, illustrate types of argument and argument
    strategies, and provide fodder to stimulate discussion, analysis, and writing.

    Structure of the Text
    Writing Arguments provides a coherent sequencing of instruction while giving
    instructors flexibility to reorder materials to suit their needs.

    • Part One focuses on the principles of argument: an overview of argument
    as truth-seeking rather than pro-con debate (Chapter 1); the logos of argu-
    ment including the enthymeme (Chapter 2); Toulmin’s system for analyzing

    arguments (Chapter 3) and the selection and framing of evidence (Chapter 4);
    the rhetorical appeals of ethos and pathos (Chapter 5); and acknowledging and
    responding to alternative views (Chapter 6).

    • Part Two shifts to the process of argument helping students learn how
    to enter an argumentative conversation by summarizing what others have
    said and staking out their own position and claims. Chapter 7 consolidates
    instruction on rhetorical analysis to help students think rhetorically about
    an argumentative conversation. Chapter 8 focuses on argument as inquiry,
    teaching students the groundwork skills of believing and doubting, sum-
    marizing a source author’s argument and speaking back to it with integrity.

    • Part Three expands students’ understanding of argument. Chapter 9 focuses
    on visual and multimodal argument. Chapter 10, new to the eleventh edition,
    teaches the powerful community-building skill of collaborative rhetoric as
    an alternative to argument. It focuses on mutual understanding rather than


    • Part Four (Chapters 11-15) introduces students to stasis theory, showing the
    typical structures and argumentative moves required for different claim
    types: definition, resemblance, causal, evaluation, and proposal arguments.

    • Part Five (Chapters 16-18) focuses on research skill rooted in a rhetorical
    understanding of sources. It shows students how to use sources in support
    of an argument by evaluating, integrating, citing, and documenting them
    properly. An appendix on logical fallacies is a handy section where all the
    major informal fallacies are treated at once for easy reference.

    • Part Six, the anthology, provides a rich and varied selection of professional
    arguments arranged into seven high-interest units, including self-driving
    cars, immigration, sustainability, education, public heath, and public media
    in an age of fake news and alternative facts. It also includes a unit on classic
    arguments. Many of the issues raised in the anthology are first raised in
    the rhetoric so that students’ interest in the anthology topics will already
    be piqued.

    Revel is an interactive learning environment that deeply engages students and
    prepares them for class. Media and assessment integrated directly within the
    authors’ narrative lets students read, explore interactive content, and practice in
    one continuous learning path. Thanks to the dynamic reading experience in Revel,
    students come to class prepared to discuss, apply, and learn from instructors and
    from each other.
    Learn more about Revel
    http:/ /

    Make more time for your students with instructor resources that offer effective
    learning assessments and classroom engagement. Pearson’s partnership with
    educators does not end with the delivery of course materials; Pearson is there
    with you on the first day of class and beyond. A dedicated team of local Pearson
    representatives will work with you not only to choose course materials but also

    Preface XXI

    XXII Preface

    to integrate them into your class and assess their effectiveness. Our goal is your
    goal to improve instruction with each semester.

    Pearson is pleased to offer the following resources to qualified adopters of
    Writing Arguments. Several of these supplements are available to instantly down-
    load from Revel or on the Instructor Resource Center (IRC); please visit the IRC
    at to register for access.

    • INSTRUCTOR’S RESOURCE MANUAL, by Hannah Tracy (Seattle
    University). Create a comprehensive roadmap for teaching classroom, online,
    or hybrid courses. Designed for new and experienced instructors, the Instruc-
    tor’s Resource Manual includes learning objectives, lecture and discussion
    suggestions, activities for in or out of class, research activities, participation
    activities, and suggested readings, series, and films as well as a Revel features
    section. Available within Revel and on the IRC.

    • POWERPOINT PRESENTATION. Make lectures more enriching for
    students. The PowerPoint Presentation includes a full lecture outline and
    photos and figures from the textbook and Revel edition. Available on the IRC.

    We are happy for this opportunity to give public thanks to the scholars, teachers,
    and students who have influenced our approach to composition and argument.
    For this edition, we owe special thanks to our long-time teammate and colleague
    at Seattle University, Hilary Hawley, who aided us in researching public con-
    troversies and finding timely, available readings on these issues. Hilary wrote
    the framing introductions, the headnotes, and the critical apparatus for many
    of the anthology units. Her experience teaching argument, especially he public
    controversies over sustainability, food, immigration, and health, shaped these
    units. We are also grateful to another of our Seattle University colleagues, Hannah
    Tracy, for writing the Instructor’s Resource Manual, a task to which she brings
    her knowledge of argumentation and her experience teaching civic and academic
    argument. We thank Stephen Bean for his research on self-driving cars and on
    issues related to legalizing marijuana. Finally, we thank Kris Saknussemm and
    Janie Bube for their design contributions to several of the visual arguments in
    this edition.

    We are particularly grateful to our talented students Jesse Goncalves (argu-
    ment on math anxiety), Hadley Reeder (argument on high school dress codes) and
    Camille Tabari (PSA video “It’s a Toilet, Not a Trash Can”) who contributed to
    this edition their timely arguments built from their intellectual curiosity, ideas,
    personal experience, and research. Additionally, we are grateful to all our stu-
    dents whom we have been privileged to teach in our writing classes and to our
    other students who have enabled us to include their arguments in this text. Their
    insights and growth as writers have inspired our ongoing study of rhetoric and

    We thank too the many users of our texts who have given us encouragement
    about our successes and offered helpful suggestions for improvements. Particu-
    larly we thank the following scholars and teachers who reviewed the previous
    edition of Writing Arguments and whose valuable suggestions informed this new

    Max Hohner, Eastern Washington University

    Jeff Kosse, Iowa Western Community College

    Jeremy Meyer, Arizona State University

    Jennifer Waters, Arizona State University

    We wish to express our gratitude to our developmental editor Steven Rigolosi
    for his skill, patience, diligence, and deep knowledge of all phases of textbook
    production. Steve’s ability to provide timely guidance throughout the production
    process made this edition possible.

    As always, we thank our families, who ultimately make this work possible.
    John Bean thanks his wife, Kit, also a professional composition teacher, and his
    children Matthew, Andrew, Stephen, and Sarah, all of whom have grown to adult-
    hood since he first began writing textbooks. Our lively conversations at family
    dinners, which now include spouses, partners, and grandchildren, have kept him


    XXIV Acknowledgments

    engaged in arguments that matter about how to create a just, humane, and sus-
    tainable world. June Johnson thanks her husband, Kenneth Bube, a mathematics
    professor and researcher, and her daughter, Janie Bube. Ken and Janie have played
    major roles in the ongoing family analysis of argumentation in the public sphere
    on wide-ranging subjects. Janie’s knowledge of environmental issues and digi-
    tal design and Kenneth’s of mathematical thinking and the public perception of
    science have broadened June’s understanding of argument hotspots. They have
    also enabled her to meet the demands and challenges of continuing to infuse new
    ideas and material into this text in each revision.

    John C. Bean
    June Johnson

    • •
    etoric wit
    -event it ion

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    • •

    1 Argument: An Introduction

    2 The Core of an Argument:

    A Claim with Reasons

    3 The Logical Structure of Argument: Logos

    4 Using Evidence Effectively

    5 Moving Your Audience: Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos

    6 Responding to Objections and Alternative Views

    Factory farming, the m ass production of animals for meat on an industrial model, shown in this
    photo, is a n etwork of controversial issues, including cruelty to animals, healthfulness of meat diets,
    disconnection of people from their food , strain on environmental resources, and economic effects on
    sm all farming.



    Chapter 1

    Learning Objectives

    In this chapter you will learn to:

    1.1 Explain common misconceptions about the meaning of argument.

    1.2 Describe defining features of argument.

    1.3 Understand the relationship of argument to the process of

    and inquiry.

    This book is dedicated to the proposition that reasoned argument is essential
    for the functioning of democracies. By establishing a separation of powers and
    protecting individual rights, the U. S. Constitution p laces argument at the center
    of civic life. At every layer of democracy, government decisions about laws,
    regulations, right actions, and judicial outcomes depend on reasoned argument,
    which involves listening to multip le perspectives. As former Vice President Al
    Gore once put it, “Faith in the power of reason the belief that free citizens can
    govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of
    the best evidence available, instead of raw power was and remains the central
    premise of American democracy.”1

    Yet, many public intellectuals, scholars, and journalists have written that we
    are now entering a post-truth era, where the “best evidence available” becomes
    unmoored from a shared understanding of reality. How citizens access informa-
    tion and how they think about public issues is increasingly complicated by the
    unregulated freedom of the Internet and the stresses of a globalized and ethnically
    and religiously diverse society. Many citizens now focus on the entertainment
    d imension of news or get their news from sources that match their own political
    leanings. One source’s “news” may be another source’s “fake news.” In fact, the
    concept of argument is now entangled in post-truth confusions about what an
    argument is.

    What, then, do we mean by reasoned argument, and why is it vital for coping
    with post-truth confusion? The meaning of reasoned argument will become
    clearer in this opening chapter and throughout this text. We hope your study of

    1 Al Gore, Assault on Reason. New York: Penguin, 2007, p. 2.

    Argument: An Introduction 3

    reasoned argument will lead you to value it as a student, citizen, and professional.
    We begin this chapter by debunking some common misconceptions about argu-
    ment. We then examine three defining features of argument: It requires writers or
    speakers to justify their claims; it is both a product and a process; and it combines
    elements of truth-seeking and persuasion. Finally, we look closely at the tension
    between truth-seeking and persuasion to encourage you to use both of these pro-
    cesses in your approach to argument.

    hat Do e Mean by Argument?
    1.1 Explain common misconceptions about the meaning of argument.

    Let’s begin by examining the inadequacies of two popular images of argument:
    fight and debate.

    Argum.ent Is Not a Fight or a Quarrel
    To many, the word argument connotes anger and hostility, as when we say, “I just
    had a huge argument with my roommate,” or “My mother and I argue all the
    time.” We picture heated disagreement, rising pulse rates, and an urge to slam
    doors. Argument imagined as fight conjures images of shouting talk-show guests,
    flaming bloggers, or fist-banging speakers.

    But to our way of thinking, argument doesn’t imply anger. In fact, arguing
    is often pleasurable. It is a creative and productive activity that engages us at
    high levels of inquiry and critical thinking, often in conversation with people we
    like and respect. When you think about argument, we invite you to envision not
    a shouting match on cable news but rather a small group of reasonable people
    seeking the best solution to a problem. We will return to this image throughout
    the chapter.

    Argum.ent Is Not Pro-Con Debate
    Another popular image of argument is debate a presidential debate, perhaps, or
    a high school or college debate tournament. According to one popular dictionary,
    debate is “a formal contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams defend
    and attack a given proposition.” Although formal debate can develop critical
    thinking, it has a key weakness: It can turn argument into a game of winners and
    losers rather than a process of cooperative inquiry.

    For an illustration of this weakness, consider one of our former students, a
    champion high school debater who spent his senior year debating the issue of
    prison reform. Throughout the year he argued for and against propositions such
    as “The United States should build more prisons” and “Innovative alternatives
    to prison should replace prison sentences for most crimes.” We asked him, “What
    do you personally think is the best way to reform prisons?” He replied, “I don’t
    know. I haven’t thought about what I would actually choose.”

    Here was a bright, articulate student who had studied prisons extensively
    for a year. Yet nothing in the atmosphere of pro-con debate had engaged him in
    truth-seeking inquiry. He could argue for and against a proposition, but he hadn’t
    experienced the wrenching process of clarifying his own values and taking a

    4 Chapter 1

    personal stand. As we explain throughout this text, argument entails a desire for
    truth-seeking; it aims to find the best solutions to complex problems. We don’t
    mean that arguers don’t passionately support their own points of view or expose
    weaknesses in views they find faulty. Instead, we mean that their goal isn’t to win
    a game but to find and promote the best belief or course of action.

    Arguments Can Be Explicit or Implicit
    Before we examine some of the defining features of argument, we should note also
    that arguments can be either explicit or implicit. Explicit arguments (either written
    or oral) directly state their contestable claims and support them with reasons
    and evidence. Implicit arguments, in contrast, may not look like arguments at all.
    They may be bumper stickers, billboards, posters, photographs, cartoons, vanity
    license plates, slogans on aT-shirt, advertisements, poems, or song lyrics. But like
    explicit arguments, they persuade their audience toward a certain point of view.

    Consider the poster in Figure 1.1 part of one state’s recent citizen campaign
    to legalize marijuana. The poster’s comparative data about “annual deaths,” its
    beautiful green marijuana leaves, and its cluster of peanuts make the implicit
    argument that marijuana is safe even safer than peanuts.

    The poster’s intention is to persuade voters to approve the state initiative
    to legalize pot. But this poster is just one voice in a complex conversation. Does

    Figure 1.1 An implic it argument favoring
    legalization of marijuana


    From Tobacco
    From Alcohol
    From Drug Overdose
    From Texting and Driving
    From Peanuts

    From Marijuana Use

    480, 000

    3, 200


    {Sourus: Ctnttrs for DiJeast Conrrol and Prevention, Nationallnsrirutt on Akohol Abuse and Alcolwlism, Edgar Snyder

    Persona/Injury Law Firm, howsrujfworks. Food Allerv Ruearch & &lurotion. National Institute on Drug Abuse]

    Argument: An Int roduction 5

    marijuana have dangers that this poster makes invisible? Would children and ado-
    lescents have more access or less access to marijuana if the drug were legalized?
    Is marijuana a “gateway drug” to heroin and other, harder drugs? How would
    legalization of marijuana affect crime, drug trafficking, and prison populations?
    What would be the cultural consequences if marijuana became as socially accept-
    able as alcohol?

    In contrast to the implicit argument made in Figure 1.1, consider the follow-
    ing explicit argument a letter to the editor submitted by student writer Mike
    Overton. As an explicit argument, it states its claim d irectly and supports it with
    reasons and evidence.

    An Explicit Argument Opposing Legalization
    of Marijuana

    Proponents of legalizing marijuana claim that pot is a benign drug because it
    has a low risk of overdose and causes few deaths. Pot is even safer than peanuts,
    according to a recent pro-legalization poster. However, pot poses grave psycho-
    logical risks, particularly to children and adolescents, that are masked if we focus
    only on death rate.

    Several studies have shown adverse effects of marijuana on memory, deci-
    sion making, and cognition. In one study, Duke University researchers examined
    IQ scores of individuals taken from childhood through age 38. They found a
    noticeable decline in the IQ scores of pot smokers compared with nonusers, with
    greater declines among those who smoked more. Daily pot smokers dropped, on
    average, eight IQ points.

    There is also a clear link between pot usage and schizophrenia. Many studies
    have shown an increased risk of schizophrenia and psychosis from pot usage, par-
    ticularly with regular use as an adolescent. Studies find that regular pot smokers
    who develop schizophrenia begin exhibiting symptoms of the disease earlier than
    nonusers, with the average diagnosis occurring 2.7 years earlier than for nonusers.

    These are devastating mental illnesses that cut to the core of our well-being.
    We need to be sure our policies on marijuana don’t ignore the documented mental
    health risks of pot, particularly to adolescents in the critical phase of brain devel-
    opment. I urge a “no” vote on legalizing marijuana in our state.

    For Writing And Discussion
    Implicit and Explicit Arguments
    Any argum ent, whet her implicit or expl icit, tries to influence the audience’s stance on an issue, w ith the goal
    of m oving the audience toward the arguer ‘s c laim. A rgument s work on us psycholog ically as well as cogni-
    tively, t riggering em otions as wel l as thoughts and ideas. Each of t he implicit argum ents in Figures 1.2-1.4
    makes a claim on its audience, t rying to get viewers to adopt its position, perspective, belief, or point of view

    on an 1ssue.


    6 Chapter 1

    Figure 1.2 Early 1970s cover of the
    controversial soc ial protest magazine Science
    for the People, wh ich has recently been revived

    Figure 1.3 Image from website promoting education in prisons


    Argument: An Introduction 7

    Figure 1.4 Cartoon on social etiquette and digital media (continued)


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    “Do yov John promiS’e that yovr S’ChedvJe, pJeare pvt yovr iPhone

    away1 will never be more importanttJ,an yovr timeS’ to9ether?

    Individual task:

    For each argument, answer the following questions:

    1. Observe each argument carefully and then describe it for someone who hasn’t seen it.

    2. What conversation do you think each argument joins? What is the issue or controversy? What is at

    stake? (Sometimes “insider knowledge” might be requ ired to understand the argument. In such cases,

    explain to an outsider the needed background information or cultural context.)

    3. What is the argument’s claim? That is, what value, perspective, belief, or position does the argument

    ask its viewers to adopt?

    4. What is an opposing or alternative view? What views is the argument pushing against?

    5. How do the visual details of each argument contribute to the persuasive effect?

    6. Convert the implicit argument into an explicit argument by stating its claim and supporting reasons in

    words. How do implicit and explicit arguments work d ifferent ly on the brains or hearts of the audience?

    Group task:

    Working in pairs or as a class, share your answers w ith classmates.

    8 Chapter 1

    The Defining Features of Argument
    1.2 Describe defining features of argument.

    We now examine arguments in more detail. (Unless we say otherwise, by argu-
    ment we mean explicit arguments that attempt to supply reasons and evidence
    to support their claims.) This section examines three defining features of such

    Argument Requires Justification of Its Claims
    To begin defining argument, let’s turn to a humble but universal area of disagree-
    ment: the conflict between new housemates over house rules. In what way and in
    what circumstances do such conflicts constitute arguments?

    AVERY: (grabbing his backpack by the door) See you. I’m heading for class.

    DANIEL: (loudly and rapidly) Wait. What about picking up your garbage all over
    the living room? that pizza box, those cans, and all those papers. I think you
    even spilled Coke on the rug.

    AVERY: Hey, get off my case. I’ll clean it up tonight.

    With this exchange, we have the start of a quarrel, not an argument. If
    Daniel’s anger picks up suppose he says, “Hey, slobface, no way you’re leav-
    ing this house without picking up your trash!” then the quarrel will escalate
    into a fight.

    But let’s say that Daniel remains calm. The dialogue then takes this turn.

    DANIEL: Come on, Avery. We had an agreement to keep the house clean.

    Now we have the beginnings of an argument. Fleshed out, Daniel’s reasoning
    goes like this: You should clean up your mess because we had an agreement
    to keep the house clean. The unstated assumption behind this argument is that
    people should live up to their agreements.

    Now Avery has an opportunity to respond, either by advancing the argument
    or by stopping it cold. He could stop it cold by saying, “No, we never agreed to
    anything.” This response pushes Avery’s hapless housemates into a post-truth
    world where there is no agreement about reality. Unless stakeholders have a
    starting place grounded in mutually accepted evidence, no argument is possible.
    Their dispute can be decided only by power.

    But suppose that Avery is a reasonable person of good will. He could advance
    the argument by responding this way:

    AVERY: Yes, you are right that we had an agreement. But perhaps our agree-
    ment needs room for exceptions. I have a super-heavy day today.

    Now a process of reasonable argument has emerged. Avery offers a reason for
    rushing from the house without cleaning up. In his mind his argument would go
    like this: “It is OK for me to wait until tonight to clean up my mess because I have a
    super-heavy day.” He could provide evidence for his reason by explaining his heavy
    schedule (a group project for one course, a paper due in another, and his agreement
    with his boss to work overtime at his barista job throughout the afternoon). This rea-
    son makes sense to Avery, who is understandably immersed in his own perspective.
    However, it might not be persuasive to Daniel, who responds this way:

    Argument: An Int roduction 9

    DANIEL: I ap preciate your busy schedule, but I am p lanning to be at home all day,
    and I can’t study in this mess. It is unfair for me to have to clean up your stuff.

    Fleshed out, Daniel ‘s argument goes like this: “It is not OK for you to leave
    trash in the living room, because your offer to clean your mess tonight doesn’t
    override my right to enjoy a clean living space today.” The dialogue now illus-
    trates what is required for reasonable argument: (1) a set of two or more conflicting
    claims (“it is OK I is not OK to leave this mess until tonight”) and (2) the attempt
    to justify the claims with reasons and evidence.

    The first defining feature of argument, then, is the attempt to justify claims
    with reasons and evidence. Avery and Daniel now need to think further about
    how they can justify their claims. The d isagreement between the housemates is not
    primarily about facts: Both d isputants agree that they had established house rules
    about cleanliness, that Avery is facing a super-heavy day, and that Avery’s mess
    disturbs Daniel. The dispute is rather about values and fairness principles that
    are articulated in the unstated assumptions that undergird their reasons. Avery’s
    assumption is that “unusual circumstances can temporarily suspend house rules.”
    Daniel’s assumption is that “a temporary suspension to be acceptable cannot
    treat other housemates unfairly.” To justify his claim, therefore, Avery has to show
    not only that his day is super-heavy but also that h is cleaning his mess at the end
    of the day isn’t unfair to Daniel. To plan his argument, Avery needs to anticipate
    the questions his argument w ill raise in Daniel ‘s mind: Will today’s mess truly be
    a rare exception to our house rule, or is Avery a natural slob who will leave the
    house messy almost every day? What w ill be the state of the house and the quality
    of the living situation if each person simply makes his own exceptions to house
    rules? Will continuing to spill food and drinks on the carpet affect the return of
    the security deposit on the house rental?

    In addition, Daniel needs to anticipate some of Avery’s questions: Are tem-
    porary periods of messiness really unfair to Daniel? How much does Daniel’s
    neat-freak personality get in the way of house harmony? Would some flexibility
    in house rules be a good thing? The attempt to justify their assumptions forces
    both Avery and Daniel to think about the degree of independence each demands
    when sharing a house.

    As Avery and Daniel listen to each other’s points of view (and begin realizing
    why their initial arguments have not persuaded their intended audience), we can
    appreciate one of the earliest meanings of the term to argue, which is “to clarify.”
    As arguers clarify their own positions on an issue, they also begin to clarify their
    audience’s position. Such clarification helps arguers see how they might accom-
    modate their audience’s views, perhaps by adjusting their own position or by
    developing reasons that appeal to their audience’s values. Thus Avery might sug-
    gest something like this:

    AVERY: Hey, Daniel, I can see why it is unfair to leave you with my mess. What
    if I offered you some kind of trade-off?

    Fleshed out, Avery’s argument now looks like this: “It is OK for me to wait
    until the end of the day to clean up my mess because I am willing to offer you
    a satisfactory trade-off.” The offer of a trade-off immediately addresses Daniel ‘s
    sense of being treated unfairly and might lead to negotiation on what this trade-
    off might be. Perhaps Avery agrees to do more of the cooking, or perhaps there
    are other areas of conflict that could become part of a trade-off bargain noise
    levels, sleeping times, music preferences. Or perhaps Daniel, happy that Avery

    10 Chapter 1

    has offered a trade-off, says it isn’t necessary: Daniel concedes that he can live
    with occasional messiness.

    Whether or not Avery and Daniel can work out a best solution, the preceding
    scenario illustrates how the need to justify one’s claims leads to a clarification of
    facts and values and to the process of negotiating solutions that might work for
    all stakeholders.

    Argument Is Both a Process and a Product
    As the preceding scenario revealed, argument can be viewed as a process in which
    two or more parties seek the best solution to a question or problem. Argument can
    also be viewed as a product, with each product being any person’s contribution to
    the conversation at a given moment. In an informal discussion, the products are
    usually short pieces of conversation. In more formal settings, an orally delivered
    product might be a short, impromptu speech (say, during an open-mike discus-
    sion of a campus issue) or a longer, carefully prepared formal speech (as in a
    Power Point presentation at a business meeting or an argument at a public hearing
    for or against a proposed city project).

    Similar conversations occur in writing. Roughly analogous to a small-group
    discussion is an exchange of the kind that occurs regularly online through infor-
    mal chat groups or more formal blog sites. In an online discussion, participants
    have more thinking time to shape their messages than they do in a real-time oral
    discussion. Nevertheless, messages are usually short and informal, making it pos-
    sible over the course of several days to see participants’ ideas shift and evolve as
    conversants modify their initial views in response to others’ views.

    Roughly equivalent to a formal speech would be a formal written argument,
    which may take the form of an academic argument for a college course; a grant
    proposal; an online posting; a guest column for the op-ed* section of a newspaper;
    a legal brief; a letter to a member of Congress; or an article for an organizational
    newsletter, popular magazine, or professional journal. In each of these instances,
    the written argument (a product) enters a conversation (a process) in this case, a
    conversation of readers, many of whom will carry on the conversation by writing
    their own responses or by discussing the writer’s views with others. The goal of
    the community of writers and readers is to find the best solution to the problem
    or issue under discussion.

    Argument Combines Truth-Seeking
    and Persuasion
    In thinking about argument as a product, writers will find themselves continually
    moving back and forth between truth-seeking and persuasion that is, between
    questions about the subject matter (What is the best solution to this problem?) and
    about audience (What do my readers already believe or value? What reasons and

    * Op-ed stands for “opposite-editorial.” It is the generic name in journalism for a signed
    argument that voices the writer’s opinion on an issue, as opposed to a news story that is
    supposed to report events objectively, uncolored by the writer’s personal views. Op-ed
    pieces appear in the editorial-opinion section of newspapers, which generally features
    editorials by the resident staff, opinion pieces by syndicated columnists, and letters to the
    editor from readers. The term op-ed is often extended to syndicated columns appearing in
    newsmagazines, advocacy websites, and online news services.

    Argument: An Introduction 11

    evidence will most persuade them?). Writers weave back and forth, alternately
    absorbed in the subject of their argument and in the audience for that argument.

    Neither of the two focuses is ever completely out of mind, but their relative
    importance shifts during different phases of the development of an argument.
    Moreover, different rhetorical situations place different emphases on truth-seeking
    versus persuasion. We can thus place arguments on a continuum that measures the
    degree of attention a writer gives to subject matter versus audience. (See Figure 1.5.)
    At the full truth-seeking (left) end of the continuum might be an exploratory piece
    that lays out several alternative approaches to a problem and weighs the strengths
    and weaknesses of each with no concern for persuasion. At the other (persuasion)
    end of the continuum would be outright propaganda, such as a political adver-
    tisement that reduces a complex issue to sound bites and distorts an opponent’s
    position through out-of-context quotations or misleading use of data. (At its most
    blatant, propaganda obliterates truth-seeking; it will use any tool, including bogus
    evidence, distorted assertions, and outright lies, to win over an audience.) In the
    middle ranges of the continuum, writers shift their focuses back and forth between
    inquiry and persuasion but with varying degrees of emphasis.

    As an example of a writer focusing primarily on truth-seeking, consider the case
    of Kathleen, who, in her college argument course, addressed the definitional ques-
    tion “Is American Sign Language (ASL) a ‘foreign language’ for purposes of meeting
    the university’s foreign language requirement?” Kathleen had taken two years of
    ASL at a community college. When she transferred to a four-year college, the chair
    of the foreign languages department would not allow her ASL coursework to count
    toward Kathleen’s foreign language requirement. “ASL isn’t a language,” the chair
    said summarily. “It’s not equivalent to learning French, German, or Japanese.”

    Kathleen disagreed, so she immersed herself in developing her argument.
    While doing research, she focused almost entirely on the subject matter, searching
    for what linguists, neurologists, cognitive psychologists, and sociologists have
    said about the language of deaf people. Immersed in her subject matter, she was
    only tacitly concerned with her audience, whom she thought of primarily as her
    classmates and the professor of her argument class people who were friendly to
    her views and interested in her experiences with the deaf community. She wrote
    a well-documented paper, citing several scholarly articles, that made a good case
    to her classmates (and the professor) that ASL is indeed a distinct language.

    Proud of the A she received on her paper, Kathleen decided for a subsequent
    assignment to write a second paper on ASL but this time aiming it directly at
    the chair of the foreign languages department and petitioning her to accept ASL
    proficiency for the foreign language requirement. Now her writing task fell closer
    to the persuasive end of our continuum. Kathleen once again immersed herself in

    Figure 1.5 Continuum of arguments from truth-seeking to persuasion
    Truth Seeking

    Essay examining
    all sides of an
    issue and possibly
    not arriving at a
    conclusive answer

    Argument as inquiry;
    asking audience to
    think out the issue
    with the writer

    Argument, aimed at a
    neutral or skeptical
    audience, that shows
    awareness of
    different views

    Argument aimed at a
    friendly audience
    (often for fundraising
    or calls to action)


    Aggressive onesided
    argument that simply
    delivers a message

    12 Chapter 1

    research, but this time she focused not on subject matter (whether ASL is a distinct
    language) but on audience. She researched the history of the foreign language
    requirement at her college and discovered some of the politics behind it (the
    foreign language requirement had been dropped in the 1970s and reinstituted
    in the 1990s, partly a math professor told her to boost enrollments in foreign
    language courses). She also interviewed foreign language teachers to find out
    what they knew and didn’t know about ASL. She discovered that many teachers
    thought ASL was “easy to learn,” so that accepting ASL would give students a
    Mickey Mouse way to avoid the rigors of a “real” foreign language class. Addi-
    tionally, she learned that foreign language teachers valued immersing students
    in a foreign culture; in fact, the foreign language requirement was part of her
    college’s effort to create a multicultural curriculum.

    This increased understanding of her target audience helped Kathleen recon-
    ceptualize her argument. Her claim that ASL is a real language (the subject of her
    first paper) became only one section of her second paper, much condensed and
    abridged. She added sections showing the difficulty of learning ASL (to counter
    her audience’s belief that learning ASL is easy), showing how the deaf community
    forms a distinct culture with its own customs and literature (to show how ASL
    would meet the goals of multiculturalism), and showing that the number of transfer
    students with ASL credits would be negligibly small (to allay fears that accepting
    ASL would threaten enrollments in language classes). She ended her argument with
    an appeal to her college’s public emphasis (declared boldly in its mission statement)
    on eradicating social injustice and reaching out to the oppressed. She described the
    isolation of deaf people in a world where almost no hearing people learn ASL, and
    she argued that the deaf community on her campus could be integrated more fully
    into campus life if more students could talk with them. Thus the ideas included in
    her new argument the reasons selected, the evidence used, the arrangement and
    tone all were determined by her primary focus on persuasion.

    Our point, then, is that all along the continuum, writers attempt both to seek
    truth and to persuade, but not necessarily with equal balance. Kathleen could
    not have written her second paper, aimed specifically at persuading the chair of
    the foreign languages department, if she hadn’t first immersed herself in truth-
    seeking research that convinced her that ASL is indeed a distinct language. Note
    that we are not saying that Kathleen’s second argument was better than her first.
    Both arguments fulfilled their purposes and met the needs of their intended audi-
    ences. Both involved truth-seeking and persuasion, but the first focused primarily
    on subject matter whereas the second focused primarily on audience.

    Argument and the Problem of Truth
    in the 21st Century
    1.3 Understand the relationship of argument to the process of truth-seeking

    and inquiry.

    The tension that we have just examined between truth-seeking and persuasion
    raises an ancient issue in the field of argument: Is the arguer’s first obligation
    to truth or to winning the argument? And just what is the nature of the truth to
    which arguers are supposed to be obligated?

    Argument: An Introduction 13

    Early Greek rhetoricians and philosophers particularly the Sophists,
    Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all wrestled with this tension. In Plato’s Dialogues,
    these questions were at the heart of Socrates’ disagreement with the Sophists. The
    Sophists were professional rhetoricians who specialized in training orators to win
    arguments. Socrates, who valued truth-seeking over persuasion and believed that
    truth could be discovered through philosophic inquiry, opposed the Sophists. For
    Socrates (and Plato), Truth resided in the ideal world of forms, and through philo-
    sophic rigor humans could transcend the changing, shadow like world of everyday
    reality to perceive the world of universals where Truth, Beauty, and Goodness
    resided. Through his method of questioning, Socrates would gradually peel away
    layer after layer of false views until Truth was revealed. The good person’s duty,
    Socrates believed, was not to win an argument but to pursue this higher Truth.
    Socrates and Plato distrusted professional rhetoricians because these professionals
    were interested only in the power and wealth that came from persuading audi-
    ences to the orator’s views. In contrast, Plato’s pupil Aristotle maintained Plato’s
    commitment to ethical living but valued rhetoric as a way of reaching conclu-
    sions or what he called “probable truth” in the realm of everyday living the best
    answers available to people who were willing to think deeply and argue reason-
    ably about a problem. Aristotle taught rhetoric and argument as collective inquiry
    in search of new understanding probable truths and best solutions supported
    persuasively by reasons and evidence that could be shared and agreed upon.

    Let’s apply these perspectives to a modern example. Suppose your commu-
    nity is d ivided over the issue of raising environmental standards versus keeping
    open a job-producing factory that doesn’t meet new guidelines for waste dis-
    charge. In a dispute between jobs and the environment, which is the best course?
    The Sophists would train you to argue any side of this issue on behalf of any
    lobbying group willing to pay for your services. This relativism and willingness
    to manipulate language led over time to the term sophistry being associated with
    trickery in argument. If, however, you applied Aristotle’s practical concern for
    “probable truth,” you would be inspired to listen to all sides of the dispute, peel
    away unsatisfactory arguments through reasonable inquiry, and commit yourself
    to a course of action that you have come to believe is the best for as many stake-
    holders as possible.

    In sum, Plato was concerned with absolute truths residing in the spiritual
    world of forms, while Aristotle valued rhetoric’s focus on probable truths in our
    messy human world. Aristotle’s view is thus close to that expressed by Al Gore
    at the beginning of this chapter. Aristotle and Gore would agree that truth the
    search for best solutions is messy and complicated and needs to be negotiated
    in an ongoing spirit of argument. Every day we face complex questions with
    multiple stakeholders. Do sanctuary cities make citizens safer, as many sheriffs
    and police departments argue, or do they shelter criminals and endanger citizens,
    as some people contend? Should all controversial speakers be allowed to speak
    on college campuses, or should universities carefully monitor and restrict these
    public forums? There are no simple or clear-cut answers to these questions, but
    one thing is certain: People can’t carry on productive argument if they retreat to
    siloed echo chambers where they encounter only those views w ith which they
    already agree. Daniel the neat freak has to encounter Avery the slob; otherwise,
    no growth is possible. Argument works only if we are willing to question and
    clarify our own positions and engage in dialogue w ith those stakeholders with
    whom we disagree.

    14 Chapter 1

    This truth-seeking approach to argument helps us combat various traps that
    we may fall into. A first trap is that we might become intellectually lazy, failing to
    question easily found or sensationalist information and views. We might succumb
    to “desirability bias” 2-the tendency to accept information that “we want to
    believe.” Or we might cling to what political scientist Morgan Marietti calls
    “sacred values”3 religious or secular beliefs that are so central to our world views
    and identities that we accept them as absolute, unquestionable, and inviolable.
    For example, for some persons a woman’s right to control her own body is a
    sacred value; for others, an unborn fetus’s right to life is a sacred value. Because
    we hesitate to question our sacred values, our emotional adherence to them can
    create a network of beliefs that interpret the world for us. Emerging from our own
    siloed echo chambers is the best way to seek a shareable reality in what otherwise
    might seem a post-truth world. However, as we have seen, truth-seeking takes
    intellectual work and ethical commitment. To restore the value of argument as
    truth-seeking, we must accept the world as pluralistic, recognizing that others
    may not value what we value.

    If we accept this p luralistic view of the world, do we then endorse the
    Sophists’ radical relativism, freeing us to argue any side of any issue? Or do we
    doggedly pursue some modern equivalent of Aristotle’s “probable truth”?

    If your own sympathies are with argument as truth-seeking, then you must
    admit to a view of truth that is tentative, cautious, and conflicted, and you
    must embrace argument as process. In the 21st century, truth-seeking does not
    mean finding the “right answer” to a disputed question, but neither does it mean
    a valueless relativism in which all answers are equally good. Seeking truth means
    taking responsibility for determining the “best answer” or “best solution” to the
    question; it means considering the good of the entire community when taking
    into consideration the interests of all stakeholders. It means making hard deci-
    sions in the face of uncertainty. Viewed in this way, argument cannot “prove”
    your claim, but only make a reasonable case for it. Even though argument can’t
    provide certainty, learning to argue effectively has deep value for society and
    democracy: It helps communities settle conflicts in a rational and humane way
    by finding, through the exchange of ideas, the best solutions to problems without
    resorting to violence.

    For Writing and Discussion
    Role-Playing Arguments
    On any given day, the media provide evidence of the complexity of living in a p luralistic cu lture. Issues that
    cou ld be readi ly decided in a completely homogeneous cu lture ra ise questions in a society that has fewer
    shared assumptions. Choose one of the following cases as the subject for a “simulation game” in which
    class members present the points of view of the people involved.

    2 Ben Tappin, Leslie van der Leer, and Ryan McKay define ” desirability bias” in their op-ed
    piece, “Your Opinion Is Set in Stone.” The New York Times, May 28, 2017, SR 8.
    3 Morgan Marietta, “From My Cold, Dead Hands: Democratic Consequences of Sacred
    Rhetoric.” The Journal of Politics Vol. 70, No. 3, July 2008.

    Argument: An Introduction 15

    Case 1 : Political Asylum for a German Family Seeking the Right
    to Homeschool Their Children

    In 2010 an Evangelical Christian family from Germany, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their
    five children, moved to the United States seeking asylum from political persecution. At the
    U.S. immigration hearings, the couple argued that if they remained in Germany their decision
    to homeschool their children would result in fines, possible arrest, and even forced separation
    from their children. German law forbids homeschooling on the grounds that failure to attend
    recognized schools will create “parallel societies” w hose members will fail to integrate into
    Germany’s open and pluralistic culture. In early 2011, a U.S. federal immigration judge granted
    political asylum to the family, denouncing the German government’s policy against home-
    schooling. He called it “utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans.” However,
    in 2013 the Sixth Circuit Court unanimously overturned the original decision and revoked
    the family’s status as political refugees. Stating that the United States cannot give political
    asylum to every victim of perceived unfairness in another country’s laws, the court declared
    that Germany’s ban on homeschooling did not constitute political persecution. The decision
    led to international debate about the role of homeschooling in a pluralistic society and about
    the definition of political persecution. In the United States, the Homeschooling Legal Defense
    Association urged that the case be heard by the United States Supreme Court and sponsored
    a petition drive supporting the Romeike family.

    Your task:

    Imagine a public hearing on this issue where all stakeholders are invited to present their points of
    view. The U.S. Immigration website offers the following definition of refugee status:

    Refugee status or asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they
    will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/ or membership in a particular
    social group or political opinion.

    Your goal isn’t to make your own decision about this case but rather to bring to imaginative life
    all the viewpoints on the controversy. Hold a mock public hearing in which classmates play the
    following roles: (a) A U.S. parent advocating homeschooling; (b) a U.S. teacher’s union representative
    opposing homeschooling; (c) an attorney arguing that the Romeike family meets the criteria for
    “refugee status”; (d) an attorney arguing that the Romeike family does not meet the criteria for
    refugee status; (e) a German citizen supporting the German law against homeschooling; (f) a
    Romeike parent arguing that the family would be persecuted if the family returned to Germany;
    (g) other roles that are relevant to this case.

    Case 2 : HPV Vaccines for Sixth Grade Girls (and Boys)

    In 2007 the pharmaceutical company Merck developed a vaccine against the sexually trans-
    mitted HPV virus (human papillomavirus), some strains of which can cause cervical cancer
    as well as genital warts. The company launched an extensive television campaign promoting
    the vaccine (which would bring substantial profits to Merck) and advised that girls should
    get the vaccine before they reach puberty. Following recommendations from doctors and
    medical researchers, several states passed laws mandating that the HPV vaccine for girls
    be included among the other vaccinations required of all children for entry into the sixth or
    seventh grades (depending on the state). These laws sparked public debate about the bene-
    fits versus potential adverse effects of vaccines, and about the state’s versus parents’ role in
    determining what vaccines a child should get.


    16 Chapter 1

    Your task:

    Imagine a public hearing addressing what your state’s laws should be concerning HPV vaccina-
    tions for prepubescent children. Your goal isn’t to make your own decision about this case but
    rather to bring to imaginative life all the viewpoints in the controversy. Hold a mock hearing in
    which classmates play the following roles: (a) a cancer specialist who supports mandatory HPV
    vaccination for girls; (b) a public health specialist who supports expanding the requirement to
    include boys; (c) a skeptical person concerned about the potential adverse effects of vaccines in
    general; (d) a religiously conservative parent who believes in abstinence and monogamy and
    opposes the cultural message of the HPV vaccination.

    In this chapter we explored the complexities of argument, showing that argument
    is not a fight or win-lose debate but rather a process of rational inquiry in search
    of the best solution to a problem shared by stakeholders. Good argument requires
    justification of its claim, is both a process and product, and combines truth-seeking
    with persuasion. We also showed that argument does not seek absolute truth (in
    Plato’s and Socrates’ sense) but messy probable truth (in Aristotle’s sense). The
    best defense against the post-truth doubts that make argument impossible is to
    emerge from siloed echo chambers in order to seek views different from your
    own, and to treat these views respectfully. Although like the Sophists you can use
    the skills of argument to support any side of any issue, we hope you won’t. We
    hope that, like Aristotle, you will use argument for inquiry and discovery and that
    you will consequently find yourself, on at least some occasions, changing your
    position on an issue while writing a rough draft (a sure sign that the process of
    arguing has complicated your views).

    At the deepest level, we believe that the skills of reason and inquiry developed
    through writing arguments can help you get a clearer sense of who you are. If our
    culture sets you adrift in pluralism, argument can help you take a stand, based on
    truth-seeking, listening, and reasoning. In this text we will not tell you what posi-
    tion to take on any given issue. But as a responsible being, you will often need to
    take a stand, to define yourself, to say, “Here are the reasons that choice A is better
    than choice B, not just for me but for you also.” If this text helps you base your com-
    mitments and actions on reasonable grounds, then it will be successful.

    Chapter 2

    A Claim with Reasons
    Learning Objectives
    In this chapter you will learn to:

    2.1 Describe the key elements of classical argument.

    2.2 Explain the rhetorical appeals of logos, ethos, and pathos.

    2.3 Distinguish between issue and information questions and

    genuine and pseudo-arguments.

    2.4 Describe the basic frame of an argument.

    In Chapter 1 we explained that argument is best viewed not as a quarrel or as a
    pro-con debate, but rather as a conversation of reasonable stakeholders seeking
    the best solution to a shared problem or issue. As a conversation of stakehold-
    ers, argument is both a process and a product. The rest of Part One provides an
    overview of the parts of an argument along with the general principles that make
    arguments effective. This chapter focuses on the core of an argument, which is
    a structure of claim, reasons, and evidence. The remaining chapters of Part One
    cover the same territory with more elaboration and detail.

    The Classical Structure of Argument
    2.1 Describe the key elements of classical argument.

    The core of an argument can best be understood by connecting it to the ancient
    pattern of classical argument revealed in the persuasive speeches of ancient Greek
    and Roman orators. Formalized by the Roman rhetoricians Cicero and Quintilian,
    the parts of the argument speech even had special names: the exordium, in which
    the speaker gets the audience’s attention; the narratio, which provides needed
    background; the propositio, which is the speaker’s claim or thesis; the partitio,


    18 Chapter 2

    which forecasts the main parts of the speech; the confirmatio, which presents the
    speaker’s arguments supporting the claim; the confutatio, which summarizes and
    rebuts opposing views; and the peroratio, which concludes the speech by summing
    up the argument, calling for action, and leaving a strong, lasting impression. (Of
    course, you don’t need to remember these tongue-twisting Latin terms. We cite
    them only to assure you that in writing a classical argument, you are joining a
    time-honored tradition that links back to the origins of democracy.)

    Let’s go over the same territory again using more contemporary terms.
    Figure 2.1 provides an organization plan showing the structure of a classical argu-
    ment, which typically includes these sections:

    • The introduction. Writers of classical argument typically begin by connecting
    the audience to the issue by showing how it arises out of a current event or
    by using an illustrative story, memorable scene, or startling statistic some-
    thing that grabs the audience’s attention. They continue the introduction by
    focusing the issue often by stating it directly as a question or by briefly

    Figure 2.1 Organ ization p lan for an argument with c lassical structure
    Organization Plan for an Argument with a Classical Structure

    • Exordium

    • Narratio

    • Propositio

    • Partitio

    • Confirmatio

    • Confutatio

    • Peroratio

    (one to
    several paragraphs)

    Presentation of writer· s

    Summary of opposing
    • VIews

    Response to opposing
    • VIews


    • Attention grabber (often a memorable scene)

    • Explanation o f issue and needed backgroun d

    • Writer’s t hesis (claim)

    • Forecasting passage

    • Main body of essay

    • Presents an d supports each reason in turn

    • Each reason is tied to a value or belief h eld

    by the audience

    • Summary of views differing from writer’s

    (sh ould be fair and complete)

    • Refutes or concedes to opposing views

    • Shows weaknesses in opposing views

    • May concede to some strength s

    • Brings essay to closure

    • Often sums up argument

    • Leaves strong last impression

    • Often calls for action or relates topic

    to a larger context of issues

    The Core of an Argument 19

    summarizing opposing views and providing needed background and con-
    text. They conclude the introduction by p resenting their claim (thesis state-
    ment) and forecasting the argument’s structure.

    • The presentation of the writer’s position. The presentation of the writer’s own
    position is usually the longest part of a classical argument. Here writers
    present the reasons and evidence supporting their claims, typically choosing
    reasons that tie into their audience’s values, beliefs, and assumptions. Usually
    each reason is developed in its own paragraph or sequence of paragraphs.
    When a paragraph introduces a new reason, writers state the reason directly
    and then support it with evidence or a chain of ideas. Along the way, writers
    guide their readers with appropriate transitions.

    • The summary and critique of alternative views. When summarizing and
    responding to opposing views, writers have several options. If there are
    several opposing arguments, writers may summarize all of them together
    and then compose a single response, or they may summarize and respond
    to each argument in turn. As we explain in Chapter 6, writers may respond
    to opposing views either by refuting them or by conceding to their strengths
    and shifting to a different field of values.

    • The conclusion. Finally, in their conclusion, writers sum up their argument,
    often restating the stakes in the argument and calling for some kind of action,
    thereby creating a sense of closure and leaving a strong final impression.

    In this organization, the body of a classical argument has two major
    sections one presenting the writer’s own position and the other summarizing
    and responding to alternative views. The organization plan in Figure 2.1, and
    the discussion that fo llows, have the writer’s own position coming first, but it is
    possible to reverse that order.

    For all its strengths, an argument with a classical structure may not always be
    your most persuasive strategy. In some cases, you may be more effective by delay-
    ing your thesis, by ignoring alternative views altogether, or by showing great sym-
    pathy for opposing views (see Chapter 6). In some cases, in fact, it may be better to
    abandon argument altogether and simply enter into a empathic conversation w ith
    others to bridge the gaps between opposing points of view (see Chapter 10 on col-
    laborative rhetoric as an alternative to classical argument). In most cases, however,
    the classical structure is a useful p lanning tool. By calling for a thesis statement
    and a forecasting statement in the introduction, it helps you see the whole of your
    argument in miniature. And by requiring you to summarize and consider oppos-
    ing views, the classical structure alerts you to the limits of your position and to
    the need for further reasons and evidence. As we w ill show, the classical structure
    is particularly persuasive when you address a neutral or undecided audience.

    Classical Appeals and
    the etorical Triangle
    2.2 Explain the rhetorical appeals of logos, ethos, and pathos.

    Besides developing a template or structure for an argument, classical rhetori-
    cians analyzed the ways that effective speeches persuaded their audiences. They
    identified three kinds of persuasive appeals, which they called logos, ethos, and

    20 Chapter 2

    Figure 2.2 The rhetorical triangle

    LOGOS: How can I make the argument
    internally consistent and logical?
    How can I find the best reasons and
    support them with the best evidence?

    PATHOS: How can I make the reader
    open to my message? How can I best
    appeal to my reader’s values and
    interests? How can I engage my
    reader emotionally and imaginatively?

    Writer or Speaker
    ETHOS: How can I present myself
    effectively? How can I enhance my
    credibility and trustworthiness?

    pathos. These appeals can be understood within a rhetorical context illustrated by
    a triangle with points labeled message, writer or speaker, and audience (Figure 2.2).
    Effective arguments pay attention to all three points on this rhetorical triangle.

    As Figure 2.2 shows, each point on the triangle corresponds to one of the
    three persuasive appeals:

    • Logos (Greek for “word”) focuses attention on the quality of the message-
    that is, on the internal consistency and clarity of the argument itself and on
    the logic of its reasons and support. The impact of logos on an audience is
    referred to as its logical appeal.

    • Ethos (Greek for “character”) focuses attention on the writer’s (or speaker’s)
    character as it is projected in the message. It refers to the writer’s credibility.
    Ethos is often conveyed through the writer’s investment in his or her claim;
    through the fairness with which the writer considers alternative views;
    through the tone and style of the message; and even through the message’s
    professional appearance on paper or screen, including correct grammar, flaw-
    less proofreading, and appropriate formats for citations and bibliography. In
    some cases, ethos is also a function of the writer’s reputation for honesty and
    expertise independent of the message. The impact of ethos on an audience is
    referred to as the ethical appeal or appeal from credibility.

    • Pathos (Greek for “suffering” or “experience”) focuses attention on the val-
    ues and beliefs of the intended audience. It is often associated with emotional
    appeal. But pathos appeals more specifically to an audience’s imaginative
    sympathies their capacity to feel and see what the writer feels and sees.
    Thus, when we turn the abstractions of logical discourse into a tangible and
    immediate story, we are making a pathetic appeal. Whereas appeals to logos

    The Core of an Argument 21

    and ethos can further an audience’s intellectual assent to our claim, appeals to
    pathos engage the imagination and feelings, moving th e audience to a deeper
    ap preciation of the argument’s significance.

    A related rhetorical concept, connected to the appeals of logos, ethos, and
    pathos, is that of kairos, from the Greek word for “right time,” “season,” or “opp or-
    tunity.” This concept suggests that for an argument to be persuasive, its timing
    must be effectively chosen and its tone and structure in right proportion or mea-
    sure. You may have had the experience of composing a contentious e-mail and
    then hesitating before clicking the “send” button. Is this the right moment to send
    this message? Is my audience ready to hear what I’m saying? Would my views be
    better received if I waited for a couple of days? If I send this message now, should
    I change its tone and content? Kairos refers to this attentiveness to the unfolding
    of time. We will return to this concept in Chapter 5, when we consider ethos and
    pathos in more depth.

    Given this background on the classical appeals, let’s turn now to logos the
    logic and structure of arguments.

    Issue uestions as
    the Origins of Argument
    2.3 Distinguish between issue and information questions and between

    genuine and pseudo-arguments.

    At the heart of any argument is an issue, which we can define as a controver-
    sial topic area (such as legalizing marijuana or building a wall between Mexico
    and the United States) that gives r ise to differing points of view and conflict-
    ing claims. A writer can usually focus an issue by asking an issue question that
    invites alternative answers. Within any complex issue for example, the issue of
    abortion there are usually a number of separate issue questions: What govern-
    mental restrictions should be placed on abortion? Should the federal government
    authorize Medicaid payments for abortions? When does a fetus become a human
    person? (At conception? At three months? At birth?) What would be the conse-
    quences of expanding or limiting a woman’s right to an abortion? (One person
    might stress that legalized abortion leads to greater freedom for women. Another
    person might respond that it lessens a society’s respect for human life.)

    Difference between an Issue Question
    and an Infortnation Question
    Of course, not all questions are issue questions that can be answered reasonably
    in differing ways. Some questions ask for information rather than for arguments.
    Rhetoricians have traditionally distinguished between explication, which is writing
    that sets out to inform or explain, and argumentation, which sets out to change a
    reader’s mind. The fo llowing example illustrates the difference between an issue
    question and an information question:

    Issue question: Should health insurance policies be required to cover contra-
    ceptives? (Reasonable persons can disagree.)

    22 Chapter 2

    Information question: How does the teenage pregnancy rate in the United
    States compare with the rate in Sweden? (Reasonable persons assume that a
    “right answer” to this question is available.)

    Although the difference between the two kinds of questions may seem simple,
    the distinction can become blurry. Suppose we asked “Why is the teenage preg-
    nancy rate in Sweden lower than in the United States?” Although this might seem
    to be an informative question with a right answer, we can also imagine disagree-
    ment. One writer might emphasize Sweden’s practical, secular sex-education
    courses, leading to more consistent use of contraceptives among Swedish teenagers.
    Another writer might point to the higher use of birth-control pills among teenage
    girls in Sweden (partly a result of Sweden’s generous national health program) and
    to less reliance on condoms for preventing unwanted pregnancy. Another might
    argue that moral decay in the United States or a breakdown of the traditional fam-
    ily is responsible for the higher teenage pregnancy rate in the United States. Thus,
    what initially looks like a simple information question becomes an issue question.

    How to Identify an Issue Question
    You can generally tell whether a question is an information question or an issue
    question by determining whether your purpose is (1) to explain or teach some-
    thing to your audience or (2) to change their minds about something. Often the
    same question can be an information question in one context and an issue ques-
    tion in another. Let’s look at the following examples:

    • How does a diesel engine work? (This is an information question because rea-
    sonable people who know about diesel engines will agree on how they work.
    This question would be posed by an audience of new learners asking experts
    for an explanation.)

    • Why is a diesel engine more fuel efficient than a gasoline engine? (This also seems
    to be an information question because experts will probably agree on the
    answer. Once again, the audience seems to be new learners, perhaps students
    in an automotive class.)

    • What is the most cost-effective way to produce diesel fuel from crude oil? (This
    could be an information question if experts agree and you are addressing new
    learners. But if you are addressing engineers and one engineer says process
    X is the most cost-effective and another engineer argues for process Y, then
    the question is an issue question.)

    • Should the present highway tax on diesel fuel be increased? (This is certainly an issue
    question. One person says yes; another says no; another offers a compromise.)

    For Writing and Discussion
    Information Questions Versus Issue Questions
    Working as a class or in small groups, decide wh ich of the fo llowing questions are information questions
    and wh ich are issue questions. Many of them could be either, depending on the rhetorical context. For those
    questions, create hypothetical contexts to show your reasoning.

    The Core of an Argument 23

    1. What percentage of public schools in the United States are failing?
    2. Which causes more t raff ic accidents, d runk driving or texting w hile driving?
    3. What is the effect on chi ld ren of playing first-person-shooter video games?
    4. What effect w ill the advent of self-d riving cars have on truck drivers?
    5. Shou ld people get rid of t heir land lines and have only cell phones?

    Difference between a Genuine Argum.ent
    and a Fseudo-Argum.ent
    Although every argument is sparked by an issue question w ith alternative
    answers, not every disp ute over answers constitutes a rational argument. Ratio-
    nal arguments require three additional factors: (1) reasonable participants who
    operate within the conventions of reasonable behavior; (2) potentially sharable
    assumptions that can serve as a starting place or foundation for the argument;
    (3) confidence that evidence used in an argument is verifiable. Lacking these con-
    ditions, disagreements remain stalled at the level of pseudo-arguments. Let’s look
    at each of these conditions in turn.

    behavior in argument assumes the possibility of growth and change; disputants
    may modify their views as they acknowledge strengths in an alternative view
    or weaknesses in their own. Such growth becomes impossible and argument
    degenerates to pseudo-argument when disputants are so rigid ly committed to
    their positions that they can’t imagine alternative views. Consider the case of the
    true believer and the fanatical skeptic.

    From one perspective, true believers are admirable persons, guided by
    unwavering values and beliefs. True believers stand on solid rock, unwilling to
    compromise their principles or bend to the prevailing w inds. But from another
    perspective, true believers can seem rigidly fixed, incapable of growth or change.
    In Chapter 1, we mentioned that arguers can cling to sacred values either reli-
    gious or secular princip les that they consider absolute, inviolable, indisputable.
    When true believers from two clashing belief systems each with its own set
    of sacred values try to engage in dialogue with each other, a truth-seeking
    exchange of views becomes difficult. They talk past each other; dialogue is
    replaced by monologue from within isolated silos. Once true believers push
    each other’s buttons on global warming, guns, health care, taxes, political cor-
    rectness, or some other issue, each disputant resorts to an endless replaying
    of the same prepackaged arguments based on absolute principles. Disagreeing
    with a true believer is like ordering the surf to quiet down. The only response is
    another crashing wave.

    In contrast to the true believer, the fanatical skeptic d ismisses the possibility
    of ever believing anything. Skeptics often demand proof where no proof is pos-
    sible. So what if the sun has risen every day of recorded history? That’s no proof
    that it will rise tomorrow. Short of absolute proof, which never exists, fanatical
    skeptics accept nothing. In a world where the most we can hope for is increased
    audience adherence to our ideas, the skeptic demands an ironclad, logical dem-
    onstration of our claim’s rightness.

    24 Chapter 2

    we have seen, reasonable argument degenerates to pseudo-argument when there
    is no possibility for listening, learning, growth, or change. In this section, we
    look more closely at a cause of unreasonableness in argument: lack of shared

    A lack of shared assumptions necessarily dooms arguments about purely
    personal opinions for example, someone’s claim that opera is boring or that
    pizza tastes better than nachos. Of course, a pizza-versus-nachos argument
    might be possible if the disputants assume a shared criterion about nutrition. For
    example, a nutritionist could argue that a vegetable-laden pizza is better than
    nachos because pizza provides more balanced nutrients per calorie than nachos
    do. But if one of the disputants responds, “Nah, nachos are better than pizza
    because nachos taste better,” then he makes a different assumption “My sense
    of taste is better than your sense of taste.” This is a wholly personal standard, an
    assumption that others are unable to share.

    Lack of shared assumptions can also doom arguments when the disputants
    have different ideologies, as we saw in the discussion of true believers. Ideology is
    an academic word for belief systems or world views. We all have our own ideolo-
    gies. We all look at the world through a lens shaped by our life’s experiences. Our
    beliefs and values are shaped by our family background, our friends, our culture,
    our particular time in history, our race or ethnicity, our gender or sexual orienta-
    tion, our social class, our religion, our education, and so forth. Because we tend
    to think that our particular lens for looking at the world is natural and universal
    rather than specific to ourselves, we must be aware that persons who disagree
    with us may not share our deepest assumptions and beliefs.

    This lack of shared assumptions is evident in many disputes concerning poli-
    tics or religion. For example, consider differences over how to interpret the Bible
    within communities identifying as Christian. Some Christian groups choose a
    straightforward, literal interpretation of the Bible as God’s inerrant word, some-
    times quoting Biblical passages as “proof texts” to support their stand on civic
    issues. Others believe the Bible is divinely inspired, meant to lead humans to a
    relationship with God, but transmitted through human authors. Other groups
    tend to read the Bible metaphorically or mythically, focusing on the paradoxes,
    historical contexts, and interpretive complexities of the Bible. Still other Christian
    groups read it as an ethical call for social justice. Members of these different
    Christian groups may not be able to argue rationally about, say, evolution or
    gay marriage because they have very different ways of reading Biblical passages
    and invoking the Bible’s authority. Similarly, within other religious traditions,
    believers may also differ about the meaning and applicability of their sacred texts
    to scientific issues and social problems.

    Similar disagreements about assumptions occur in the political arena as well.
    Our point is that certain religious or political beliefs or texts cannot be evoked for
    evidence or authority when an audience does not assume the belief’s truth or does
    not agree on the way that a given text should be read or interpreted.

    Finally, pseudo-arguments arise when disputants can’t agree about the trustwor-
    thiness of particular evidence or about the possibility of trustworthy evidence
    existing at all, as if all facts are relative an especially troublesome problem in

    The Core of an Argument 25

    an era where many have raised concern s about “fake news” and “alternative
    facts.” Reasonable arguments must be grounded in evidence that can be verified
    and trusted. Sometimes unethical writers invent facts and data to create propa-
    ganda, advance a conspiracy theory, or make money from the sale of fake stories.
    Scientific fraud has also occasionally occurred wherein scientists have fudged
    their data or even made up data to support a claim. Tabloids and fringe news
    sites are notorious for spreading fake news, often in their attention-grabbing but
    bizarre headlines (“Farmer shoots 23-pound grasshopper”).

    For disputants with different ideologies, pseudo-arguments may even occur
    w ith issues grounded in science. Liberals may distrust scientific data about the
    safety of genetically modified organisms, whereas conservatives may distrust the
    scientific data about climate change. Genuine argument can emerge only when all
    sides of the dispute agree that any given evidence derives from verifiable facts or
    data. We don’t mean that reasonable disputants must use the same facts: Arguers
    necessarily and always select and frame their evidence to support their points
    (see the discussion of angle of vision in Chapter 4). But no matter what evidence is
    chosen, disputants must agree that the evidence is verifiable that it is real news
    or evidence, not fake news or evidence.

    For Writing and Discussion
    Reasonable Arguments Versus Pseudo-Arguments

    Individual task:
    Which of the following questions wil l lead to reasonable arguments, and which wil l lead only to pseudo-
    arguments? Explain your reasoning.

    1. Are the Star Wars films good science fiction?
    2. Is it ethically justifiable to capture dolphins or orca whales and train them for human entertainment?
    3. Should cities subsidize professional sports venues?
    4. Is this abstract oil painting created by a monkey smearing paint on a canvas a true work of art?
    5. Are nose rings and tongue studs attractive?

    Group task:
    Working in pairs, small groups, or as a class, share your reasoning about these questions with classmates.

    Frame of an Argument:
    A Claim Supported by Reasons
    2.4 Describe the basic frame of an argument.

    We said earlier that an argument originates in an issue question, which by defini-
    tion is any question that provokes disagreement about the best answer. When you
    w rite an argument, your task is to take a position on the issue and to support it
    w ith reasons and evidence. The claim of your essay is the position you want your

    26 Chapter 2

    audience to accept. To put it another way, your claim is your essay’s thesis state-
    ment, a one-sentence summary answer to your issue question. Your task, then, is
    to make a claim and support it with reasons.

    What Is a Reason?
    A reason (also called a premise) is a claim used to support another claim. In speaking
    or writing, a reason is usually linked to the claim with a connecting word such as
    because, since, for, so, thus, consequently, or therefore, indicating that the claim follows
    logically from the reason.

    Let us take an example of a controversial issue that frequently gets reported
    in the news the public debate over keeping large sea mammals such as dol-
    phins, porpoises, and orcas (killer whales) in captivity in marine parks where
    they entertain large crowds with their performances. This issue has many dimen-
    sions, including safety concerns for both the animals and their human trainers,
    as well as moral, scientific, legal, and economic concerns. Popular documentary
    films have heightened the public’s awareness of the dangers of captivity to both
    the animals and the humans who work with them. For example, The Cove (2009)
    exposes the gory dolphin hunts in Japan in which fishermen kill dolphins en
    masse, capturing some for display in shows around the world. Blackfish (2013) tells
    the history of the orca Tilikum, who in 2010 killed his trainer, Dawn Blancheau,
    at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. The death of Tilikum in 2017 resparked public
    debates about treatment of marine animals in captivity. Recently a flurry of legal
    efforts to release the captive orca Lolita back into the wild has also contributed
    to the larger battle among advocacy, governmental, scientific, and commercial
    groups over the value of marine parks.

    In one of our recent classes, students heatedly debated the ethics of capturing
    wild dolphins and training them to perform in marine parks. One student cited
    his sister’s internship at Sea World San Diego, where she worked on sea mammal
    rescue and rehabilitation, one of the marine park’s worthy projects. In response,
    another student mentioned the millions of dollars these marine parks make on
    their dolphin and orca shows as well as on the stuffed animals, toys, magnets,
    T-shirts, and hundreds of other lucrative marine park souvenirs. Here are the
    frameworks the class developed for two alternative positions on this public issue:

    One View

    CLAIM: The public should not support marine parks.

    REASON 1: Marine parks inhumanely separate dolphins and orcas from
    their natural habitats.

    REASON 2: The education these parks claim to offer about marine mammals
    is just a series of artificial, exploitive tricks taught through behavior

    REASON 3: These parks are operated by big business with the goal of mak-
    ing large profits.

    REASON 4: Marine parks encourage artificial breeding programs and cruel
    hunts and captures.

    REASON 5: Marine parks promote an attitude of human dominance over

    The Core of an Argument 27

    Alternative View

    CLAIM: The public should continue to enjoy marine parks.

    REASON 1: These parks observe accreditation standards for animal welfare,
    h ealth, and nutrition.

    REASON 2: These marine p arks enable scientists and veterinarians to study
    animal behavior in ways not possible w ith field studies in the wild.

    REASON 3: These marine parks provide environmental education and
    memorable entertainment.

    REASON 4: Marine parks use some of their profits to support research,
    conservation, and rescue and rehabilitation programs.

    REASON 5: In their training of dolphins and orcas, these marine parks
    reinforce natural behaviors, exercise the animals’ intelligence, and promote
    beneficial bonding with humans.

    Formulating a list of reasons in this way breaks your argumentative task
    into a series of subtasks. It gives you a frame for building your argument in
    parts. In this example, the frame for the argument opposing commercial use of
    sea mammals suggests five different lines of reasoning a writer might pursue.
    You might use all five reasons or select only two or three, depending on which
    reasons would most persuade the intended audience. Each line of reasoning
    would be developed in its own separate section of the argument. For example,
    you m ight begin one section of your argument w ith the follow ing sentence:
    “The public should not support marine parks because they teach dolphins and
    orcas clownish tricks and artificial behaviors, which they pass off as ‘education’
    about these animals.” You would then provide examples of the tricks that dol-
    phins and orcas are taught, explain how these stunts contrast with their natu-
    ral behaviors, and offer examples of erroneous facts or information provided
    by commercial marine parks. You might also need to support the underlying
    assumption that it is good to acquire real knowledge about sea mammals in the
    wild. You would then proceed in the same manner for each separate section of
    your argument.

    To summarize: The frame of an argument consists of the claim (the essay’s
    thesis statement), which is supported by one or more reasons, which are in turn
    supported by evidence or sequences of further reasons.

    For Writing and Discussion
    Using Images to Support an Argument
    In Chapter 1, we discussed the way that images and photographs can make implicit arguments. This
    exercise asks you to consider how images can shape or enhance an argument. Imag ine that your task is
    to argue why a nonprofit group in your city should (or should not) offer as a fund- raising prize a trip to Sea-
    World in Orlando, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; or San Diego, Cal ifornia. Examine the photographs of orcas in
    Figures 2.3 and 2.4 and describe the implicit argument that each photo seems to make about these whales.
    How might one or both of these photos be used to support an argument fo r or against the prize t rip to Sea-
    World? What reasons for going (or not going) to SeaWorld are implied by each photo? Briefly sketch out you r
    argument and explain your choice of t he photograph(s) that support your position.

    28 Chapter 2

    Figure 2.3 Orca performance at a marine park

    Figure 2.4 Orcas breaching

    The Core of an Argument 29

    Expressing Reasons in Because Clauses
    Chances are that when you were a child, the word because contained magical
    explanatory powers. (I don’t want that kind of butter on my toast! Why? Because.
    Because why? Just because.) Somehow because seemed decisive. It persuaded people
    to accept your view of the world; it changed people’s minds. Later, as you got
    older, you discovered that because only introduced your arguments and that it was
    the reasons following because that made the difference. Still, because introduced
    you to the powers potentially residing in the adult world of logic.

    This childhood power of because perhaps explains why because clauses are the
    most common way of linking reasons to a claim. For example:

    The public should not support marine parks because these parks inhumanely
    separate dolphins and orcas from their natural habitats.

    Of course, there are also many other ways to express the logical connection
    between a reason and a claim. Our language is rich in ways of stating because

    • Marine parks inhumanely separate dolphins and orcas from their natural
    habitats. Therefore, the public should not support marine parks.

    • Marine parks inhumanely separate dolphins and orcas from their natural
    habitats, so the public should not support these parks.

    • One reason that the public should not support marine animal parks is that these
    parks inhumanely separate dolphins and orcas from their natural habitats.

    • My argument that the public should not support marine animal parks is
    grounded on evidence that these parks inhumanely separate dolphins and
    orcas from their natural habitats.

    Even though logical relationships can be stated in various ways, writing out
    one or more because clauses seems to be the most succinct and manageable way
    to clarify an argument for yourself. We therefore suggest that at some time in the
    writing process, you create a working thesis statement that summarizes your main
    reasons as because clauses attached to your claim.*

    When you compose your own working thesis statement depends largely on
    your writing process. Some writers like to p lan their whole argument from the
    start and compose their working thesis statements with because clauses before
    they write their rough drafts. Others discover their arguments as they write. Some
    writers use a combination of both techniques. For these writers, an extended
    working thesis statement is something they might write halfway through the
    composing process as a way of ordering their argument when various branches
    seem to be growing out of control. Or they might compose a working thesis

    * A working thesis statement opposing the commercial use of captured dolphins and orcas
    might look like this: The public should not support marine parks because marine parks inhu-
    manely separate dolphins and orcas from their natural habitats; because marine parks are
    mainly big businesses driven by profit; because marine parks create inaccurate and incom-
    plete educational information about dolphins and orcas; because marine parks encourage
    inhumane breeding programs, hunts, and captures; and because marine parks promote an
    attitude of human dominance over animals. You probably would not put a bulky thesis
    statement like this into your essay; rather, a working thesis statement is a behind-the-scenes
    way of summarizing your argument so that you can see it fully and clearly.

    30 Chapter 2

    statement after they’ve written a complete first draft as a way of checking the
    essay’s unity.

    The act of writing your extended thesis statement can be simultaneously
    frustrating and thought provoking. Composing because clauses can be a power-
    ful discovery tool, causing you to think of many different kinds of arguments to
    support your claim. But it is often difficult to wrestle your ideas into the because
    clause shape, which may seem overly tidy for the complex network of ideas you
    are working with. Nevertheless, trying to summarize your argument as a single
    claim with reasons should help you see more clearly the emerging shape of your

    For Writing and Discussion
    Developing Claims and Reasons
    Try this group exercise to help you see how writing because clauses can be a discovery procedure. Divide
    into smal l groups. Each group member should contribute an issue with potentially opposing c laims. Whi le
    thinking of your issue, imagine a person who might disagree w ith you about it. This person w ill become your
    audience. Discussing each group member’s issue in turn, help each member develop a claim supported
    by several reasons that might appeal to the imagined aud ience. Express each reason as a because clause.
    Then write out the working thesis statement for each person’s argument by attaching the because c lauses to
    the claim. Finally, try to create because clauses in support of an alternative claim for each issue. Each group
    should select two or three working thesis statements to present to the c lass.

    This chapter introduced you to the structure of classical argument, to the rhetorical
    triangle (message, writer or speaker, and audience), and to the classical appeals
    of logos, ethos, and pathos. It also showed how arguments originate in issue ques-
    tions, how issue questions differ from information questions, and how reasonable
    arguments differ from pseudo-arguments. The frame of an argument is a claim
    supported by reasons. As you generate reasons to support your own arguments,
    it is often helpful to articulate them as because clauses attached to the claim.

    In the next chapter we will see how to support a reason by examining its logical
    structure, uncovering its unstated assumptions, and planning a strategy of

    Writing Assignment
    An Issue Question and Working Thesis Statements
    Decide on an issue and a claim for a classical argument that you wou ld like to write. Also imagine a reader
    who might be skeptical of your claim. Write a one-sentence question that summarizes the controversial is-
    sue that your c laim addresses. Then draft a working thesis statement for your proposed argument. Organize
    the thesis as a claim w ith bulleted because clauses for reasons. You should have at least two reasons, but
    it is okay to have three or four. Also include an opposing thesis statement-that is, a claim with because

    The Core of an Argument 31

    clauses for an alternative position on your issue. Think of this opposing argument as your imagined reader’s
    starting position.

    Unless you have previously done research on an issue, it is probably best to choose an issue based on
    your personal experiences and observations. For example, you might consider issues related to your college
    or high school life, your work life, your experiences in clubs or family life, your prospective career, and so
    forth. (Part Two of this text introduces you to research-based argument.) As you think about your claim and
    because clauses for this assignment, take comfort in the fact that you are in a very early stage of the writing
    process: the brainstorming stage. Writers almost always discover new ideas when they write a first draft.
    As they take their writing project through multiple drafts and share their drafts with readers, their views may
    change substantially. In fact, honest writers can change positions on an issue by discovering that a counter-
    argument is stronger than their own. Thus the working thesis statement that you submit for this assignment
    may evolve when you begin to draft your essay.

    Below, as well as in Chapters 3 and 4, we follow the process of student writer Carmen Tieu as she
    constructs an argument on violent video games. During a class discussion, Carmen mentioned a psychol-
    ogy professor who described playing violent video games as gendered behavior (overwhelmingly male). The
    professor ind icated his dislike for such games, pointing to their antisocial, dehumanizing values. In class,
    Carmen described her own enjoyment of violent video games-particularly first-person-shooter games-
    and reported the pleasure that she derived from beating boys at Halo 2 and 3. Her classmates were inter-
    ested in her ideas. She knew that she wanted to write an argument on this issue. The following is Carmen’s
    submission for this assignment.

    Carmen’s Issue Question and Working Thesis Statements
    Issue Question: Should girls be encouraged to play f irst-person-shooter video games?
    My claim: First-person-shooter (FPS) video games are great activities for girls,

    • because they empower girls when they beat guys at their own game.
    • because they equip girls with skills that free them from feminine stereotypes.
    • because they give girls a different way of bonding with males.
    • because they give girls new insights into a male subculture.

    Opposing claim: First-person-shooter games are a bad activity for anyone, especially girls,
    • because they promote antisocial values such as indiscriminate kil ling.
    • because they amplify t he bad, macho side of male stereotypes.
    • because they waste valuable time that could be spent on something constructive.
    • because FPS games could encourage women to see themselves as objects.


    Chapter 3

    Learning Objectives
    In this chapter you will learn to:

    3.1 Explain the logical structure of argument in terms of claim,

    and assumption granted by the audience.

    3.2 Use the Toulmin system to describe an argument’s logical

    3.3 Use the Toulmin system to generate ideas for your argument
    and test it for completeness.

    In Chapter 2 you learned that the core of an argument is a claim supported by
    reasons and that these reasons can often be stated as because clauses attached to a
    claim. In this chapter, we examine the logical structure of arguments in more depth.

    An Overview of Logos: hat Do e
    Mean by the “Logical Structure” of an
    3.1 Explain the logical structure of argument in terms of claim, reason,

    and assumption granted by the audience.

    As you will recall from our discussion of the rhetorical triangle, logos refers to the
    strength of an argument’s support and its internal consistency. Logos is the argu-
    ment’s logical structure. But what do we mean by “logical structure”?

    The Logical Structure of Arguments 33

    Forinal Logic Versus Real-World Logic
    First of all, what we don’t mean by logical structure is the kind of precise certainty
    you get in a philosophy class in formal logic. Logic classes deal with symbolic
    assertions that are universal and unchanging, such as “If all ps are qs and if r is a
    p, then r is a q.” This statement is logically certain so long asp, q, and rare pure
    abstractions. But in the real world, p, q, and r turn into actual things, and the rela-
    tionships among them suddenly become fuzzy. For example, p might be a class
    of actions called “Sexual Harassment,” while q could be the class called” Actions
    That Justify Getting Fired from One’s Job.” If r is the class “Telling Off-Color Sto-
    ries,” then the logic of our p-q-r statement suggests that telling off-color stories
    (r) is an instance of sexual harassment (p), which in turn is an action justifying
    getting fired from one’s job (q).

    Now, most of us would agree that sexual harassment is a serious offense
    that might well justify getting fired. In turn, we might agree that telling off-color
    stories, if the jokes are sufficiently raunchy and are inflicted on an unwilling audi-
    ence, constitutes sexual harassment. But few of us would want to say categorically
    that all people who tell off-color stories are harassing their listeners and ought to
    be fired. Most of us would want to know the particulars of the case before making
    a final judgment.

    In the real world, then, it is difficult to say that rs are always ps or that every
    instance of a p results in q. That is why we discourage students from using the
    word prove in claims they write for arguments (as in “This paper will prove that
    euthanasia is wrong”). Real-world arguments seldom prove anything. They can
    only make a good case for something, a case that is more or less strong, more or
    less probable. Often the best you can hope for is to strengthen the resolve of those
    who agree with you or weaken the resistance of those who oppose you.

    The Role of Assuinptions
    A key difference, then, between formal logic and real-world argument is that real-
    world arguments are not grounded in abstract, universal statements. Rather, as
    we shall see, they must be grounded in beliefs, assumptions, or values granted
    by the audience. A second important difference is that in real-world arguments,
    these beliefs, assumptions, or values are often unstated. So long as writer and
    audience share the same assumptions, it’s fine to leave them unstated. But if these
    underlying assumptions aren’t shared, the writer has a problem.

    To illustrate the nature of this problem, suppose that you are an environmen-
    talist opposed to the use of plastic bags in grocery stores. You have several reasons
    for opposing these bags, one of which is their role in polluting the oceans. You
    express this reason in a because clause as follows:

    States should ban plastic bags from grocery stores because banning bags
    will reduce plastic pollution in the ocean.

    On the face of it, this is a plausible argument, but it depends on the audience’s
    accepting the writer’s assumption that it is good to reduce plastic pollution in the
    ocean. In other words, you might agree that plastics are polluting the ocean, but
    unless you also believe that this pollution is significantly harming the oceans, you
    might not automatically agree that plastic bags should be banned from grocery
    stores. What if you believe that pollution-caused damage to the ocean is not as


    • Title
    • Copyright

    • Brief Contents
    • Contents
      Part One Principles of Argument
      1 Argument:An Introduction
      2 The Core of an Argument:A Claim with Reasons
      3 The Logical Structure of Arguments:logos

    ENGL 102

    Netiquette Statement
    In order to maintain a positive online environment for our class, we all need to follow the
    netiquette guidelines summarized below.
    All students are expected to:
    1. show respect for the instructor and for other students in the class
    2. respect the privacy of other students
    3. express differences of opinion in a polite and rational way
    4. maintain an environment of constructive criticism when commenting on the work of other
    5. complete all assignments on time
    6. avoid bringing up irrelevant topics when involved in group discussions or other collaborative

    The following list summarizes the kind of behavior that will not be tolerated. Each item listed
    below is grounds for removal from the class.

    Students should not:
    1. Show disrespect for the instructor or for other students in the class
    2. Send messages or comments that are threatening, harassing, or offensive
    3. Use inappropriate or offensive language
    4. Convey a hostile or confrontational tone when communicating or working collaboratively with
    other students
    6. Place images in the body of their discussion questions messages. Other students and the
    instructor may be using a dial-up connection. If you feel compelled to refer to an image please
    either attach the image to the DQ message or upload the image to the Web and place a link to it
    in your message.

    If I feel that a student is violating any of the above guidelines, I will contact that student to
    discuss the situation in person. If you feel that a student is behaving inappropriately, please
    send me a private e-mail message explaining the situation as soon as possible.

    Discussion Board Tips / Rubric
    1. Contribute in a timely manner and frequently. Do not wait until the end of the discussion

    window for each week. This will help you to stay on top of the discussion and to gain the
    most from it. If you develop a habit of just jumping in at the beginning, in the middle or at
    the end, you will not be able to read all the discussion comments, capture the key issues
    discussed and to contribute in a meaningful manner.

    2. ​Read posts from others thoroughly and reflect before responding.
    3. Contribution to the discussion should not be based on cutting and pasting information

    from different resources but rather on a summary of findings from key resources as they
    pertain to the topic being discussed in your own words. Respond to others’ comments by
    writing your comment first and then update your subject line.

    4. Posts should be sound, with argument or analysis supported by research and literature,
    with attention to grammar, typos, and punctuation

    5. ​Be clear and concise. Short comments may be appropriate in some cases but effective
    comments may need to be longer to be more comprehensive (Suggest 2 paragraphs

    6. But I don’t know what to say! (Hint: “I agree” does not only not count as a contribution, it
    may annoy your classmates!) Instead:

    ● Add to the discussion by adding new information to (amplifying) the point made
    that you agree with

    ● If you disagree with an answer, post yours and explain why
    ● Think something is missing from the discussion? Broaden the perspective.
    ● If you do not understand (although you don’t have an answer either), explain

    what you do understand about the topic in a couple of sentences, and ask for
    clarification from online classmates.

    ● Think you’ve read or learned information from another source that would be
    helpful? Post a link to that news article, blog post, etc.

    To participate effectively, you must have ​read ​all of the assigned material. ​One of the
    purposes of discussion is to demonstrate that you’ve read and understood it. We can discuss
    what different people understood from the readings, but everyone must be grounded in a close
    reading of the assigned materials. You are expected to ​post two times​ in the Discussion Board
    and​ respond two times​ to peers (total of 4 posts per week). In the discussion feel free to
    expand the conversation and integrate relevant personal examples and outside information. You
    must​ link any outside examples to the assigned readings, articles, discussion board prompts, or
    week content–the expectation is that you include ​clear evidence ​that you engaged deeply with
    assigned readings (providing brief summary and/or quoting to specific examples in the

    In your replies to two peers, offer feedback, ask further questions, or provide a personal
    reflection or commentary on their post. When replying to your peers consider replying using one
    or more of the following roles:

    ● Validating​–​Validate the contributions of your peers and explain why their contributions

    ● Resourceful​–​Share or create resources that contribute to the discussion
    ● Inquiring​–​Offer feedback, ask questions, provide reflection or commentary
    ● Community Expander​–​Lead the discussion to deeper discourse and branch into new,

    but related topics





    Expanding on




    #of Posts

    supported with
    argumentation (not
    opinion) and facts.
    academic level,
    correct grammar,

    clarifying posts
    from others,
    providing links
    to other

    Expanding to
    see the “big
    picture,” adding
    something new,
    crediting peers.

    On topic,
    pertains to
    questions or

    Contribute when
    threads are alive
    and others will
    benefit from
    ideas offered.

    Per week:
    Answer 3
    questions posted
    by instructor AND
    respond to 3
    Respond to
    questions and
    comments that
    interest you most
    and demonstrate
    your knowledge
    of the material.


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