• Elements of Argument

    Elements of Argument

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Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the elements of a formal argument.
  2. Write an arguable thesis that makes a claim or set of claims.
  3. Develop a variety of support strategies for an argument.
  4. Use suggestions from peers to improve the counterarguments, concessions, and qualifiers used in the argument.

 

How do you build a valid, logical argument?

Adam PitlukAdam Pitluck, writer

 

A bedrock foundation of a good argument is fact. If you have facts, the facts don’t lie. The numbers don’t lie. How you put forth a valid argument is to be sure that there is evidence.

—Adam Pitluck

 

 

Gretchen SweenGretchen Sween, attorney and writer

The ideal way to reach most audiences is to have a presentation that is soundly logical but that subtly resonates with emotion. And that is a very difficult balance to strike. You are being argumentative, you’re trying to further a side, but the quickest way to lose is to seem completely biased and opinionated and emotional. The more academic the writing, the more necessary that one builds the argument with logic and is able to look at it from a distance and say, "Hmm, that appears fair, balanced, credible."

—Gretchen Sween

 

  

Empty deck chair overlooking lake at sunset.

Reflection

  • When presented with an argument, am I more likely to be persuaded by logic and evidence or by my feelings about the topic?
  • What skills do I already have that contribute to my ability to research and write logical arguments?

The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it.

—Wendell Berry