Chapter 8 Argumentation arguing a fundamental activity and an important skill to persuade your audience to accept your point of view about a controversial point with sound reasoning Persuasion and argumentation when you hope to get your readers to agree with you (to convince readers), you’ll write something of this kind. two kinds of appeal in your writing: persuasion appeals to emotion argumentation appeals to reason ? An argumentation should be debatable Computer automation has brought about a lot of changes. Computer automation has increased unemployment. An argumentation should have a clear standpoint ? for or against a point rather than something in between A terminally ill patient has the right to an assisted suicide. Homosexual citizens in our society must be granted full legal spousal benefits, equivalent to those of the heterosexual. ? An argumentation assumes actual objections to your proposition ? Of the arguments against capital punishment, two are heard most often:
  1. That hanging a man (or frying him or gassing him) is a dreadful business, degrading to those who have to do it and revolting to those who have to witness it.
  2. That it is useless, for it does not deter others from the same crime. ? ? ? An argument essay deals with both confirming and refuting An argument will support its own proposition by showing why its proposition is strong. It will also point out errors of logic and failures of insight of the opposition to show where the opposition’ argument falls short / breaks down or why the opposition is weak. s ?
Suppose you are writing an essay arguing that your college should use the money intended to build a campus health and fitness center to upgrade the library instead. From reading the school paper, you know that supporters of the center say it will help attract new students to the college. How would you rebut that point? Most students choose a college because: a) they can afford it b) they like its academic programs and facilities c) they like its teaching staff Besides, many students may not be able to afford the fee for using the center
Strategies for Argumentation
  1) Acknowledge differing viewpoints
  2) Grant their merits (if appropriate).
  3) Rebut(反驳) differing viewpoints.
  4) Use reasoning to support your argument
  5) Use polite tone with tactful, courteous language. When to acknowledge opposing viewpoints? The earlier, the better ideally, in the introduction. Three ways to acknowledge opposing viewpoint:
  1) to cite the opposing viewpoint in your thesis statement
  2) to use one or two sentences (separate from the thesis) in the introduction to acknowledge the differing view.
  3) to use a paragraph (within the body of your essay) to summarize opposing opinions in greater detail.
  1) Although some students believe that studying a foreign language is a waste of time, two years of foreign-language study should be required of all college students.
  1) While local TV newscasts can provide a valuable community resource, too often such programs provide mere entertainment at the expense of solid news.
  2) Love and Learning Towards love and learning, college teachers and students hold controversial views. The majority of college teachers, especially old teachers, argue that students should give up love and concentrate on learning. They say that campus love is time-and-energy-consuming and tears students away from their main task. If a student ever falls in love, he will undoubtedly neglect his studies and gradually lag behind his classmates. It is true that some students in love turned out to be that way, but it does not follow that campus love definitely leads to poor performance and therefore should be forbidden. On the contrary, many students who fall in love are studying better because they have stronger motivation, work harder and have greater efficiency. Grant their merits (if appropriate) Suppose you were arguing against the use of computers in writing classrooms. You might say: Granted, students who are already accustomed to computers can use them to write papers more quickly and efficiently. But for students like me who write and think in longhand, a computer in the classroom is more a hindrance than a help. Use a polite and reasonable tone ? It’s silly to think that one should teach his children at home. ? What a ridiculous idea that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry! ? My opponents think that college athletes should be exempted from normal class
attendance policies. ? ? ? Everybody knows that … People with any intelligence agree that … Do not refer to your opponents, just to the counterpoint.
About persuasion Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274, Italian philosopher), who knew more about education and persuasion than almost anybody who ever lived, once said that when you want to convert someone to your view, you go over to where he is standing, take him by the hand (mentally speaking), and guide him to where you want to go. You don’t stand across the room and shout at him. You don’t order him to come over to where you are. You start where he is, and work from that position. That’s the only way to get him to change his attitude. ? I have never known a single passionate and prejudiced argument to win over a person who disagreed with it, or even to persuade a person who was neutral on the subject. The chief reason is that all passionate and prejudiced arguments overstate their case and understate their opponents’ case. When you think that someone is wrong, and you disagree with him, the first task is to determine in what way he is right. This is right. For no view can be entirely wrong, and everybody has a little piece of truth by the tail. This is the piece we start with, we work from there, and concede as much as we honestly can. A philosopher said that we have no right to oppose a position until we can state that position in a way that fully satisfies those who hold it; until, indeed, we can make out a better case for it than the proponent(辩护者)himself can. When pointing out opposing arguments: 指出反方论点的说法 ?
  1. Opponents of this idea claim / maintain that … ?
  2. Those who disagree / are against these ideas may say / assert that … ?
  3. Some people may disagree with this idea. When stating specifically why they think like that: 指出反方论据的方法 ?
  1. They put forward this idea because … ?
  2. They claim that … since … ? ? ? ? Reaching the turning point: 转折 However, but On the other hand,
?
?
When refuting the opposing idea, we may use the following strategies: 反驳 A. compromise but prove that their argument is not powerful enough: ? They have a point in thinking like that. ? To a certain extent they are right. B. completely disagree:
? After seeing this evidence, there is no way we can agree with what they say. C. say that their argument is irrelevant to the topic: ? What we are discussing here is not what they are trying to prove. ? Their argument is irrelevant.
 

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