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10 : A Sound Argument [UPD]



The arguments used in logical and philosophical exercises are composed of a series of premises, or statements, from which we can draw a conclusion. Sound and valid arguments have a subtle but important difference that's important to recognize when examining different types of arguments.




10 : A Sound Argument



Undeterred, Roeg says such a sound argument could ruin their country, and he calls a Marleyan over for more wine. Greiz heads down below to the cellar where he meets Nicolo, who holds up a bottle and asks if this is the one.


In this chapter, we will be applying the concepts presented to you in Chapter 10: Persuasion. Working through the self-practice exercise will help you to develop a strong, convincing argument on a topic of your choice. At the end of Section 11.3: Organizing Your Ideas, you will need to produce an outline to show to your instructor.


Write a 1,350 to 1,500 word persuasive essay on a controversial topic. Use the thesis, evidence, opposing argument, and concessionary statement as the basis for writing a full persuasive essay. You must include:


How to Be Really Convincing Sometimes it can be very challenging to convince someone of your ideas and that your point of view is valid. If your reader has strong contrary views or has had emotional experiences in the past connected to that topic, your job in persuading will be more challenging. However, if you consider your audience and tone (as discussed in Section 10.3: Being Critical) and think about the answers to the following questions in Checklist 11.1, Who Is My Audience?, you will be better able to predict possible objections your reader may have to your argument and address those accordingly. It will also help you make recognize how much and what kind of background information you need to provide your reader with context for your discussion.


The Components of Dialectics To begin the dialectic process, you first need to come up with an idea of what topic will be discussed; this is the thesis behind the discussion. Once you have determined your thesis, through various methods (the easiest being discussion with someone else), you will explore opposing sides to the topic, eventually discovering at least one antithesis. Combining those two perspectives, you can then make your own conclusions. Maybe this process will result in you standing by the original thesis, or maybe the antithesis is incredibly convincing and you will switch sides of the argument, or maybe you still believe the original thesis but accept there are other conditions that have credibility as well. This end result is called the synthesis: the blending of ideas. Essentially, the process would look like this:


Determine how you will address any contradictions found among different sources. For instance, if one source cites a startling fact that you cannot confirm anywhere else, it is safe to dismiss the information as unreliable. However, if you find significant disagreements among reliable sources, you will need to review them and evaluate each source. Which source presents a more sound argument or more solid evidence? It is up to you to determine which source is the most credible and why.


The idea of an argument often conjures up images of two people yelling and screaming in anger. In writing, however, an argument is very different. An argument is a reasoned opinion supported and explained by evidence. To argue in writing is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way. Written arguments often fail when they employ ranting rather than reasoning.


Most of us feel inclined to try to win the arguments we engage in. On some level, we all want to be right, and we want others to see the error of their ways. More times than not, however, arguments in which both sides try to win end up producing losers all around. The more productive approach is to persuade your audience to consider your opinion as a valid one, not simply the right one.


Next, need to acknowledge and explain points of view that may conflict with your own to build credibility and trust with your audience. You also should state the limits of your argument. This helps you sound more reasonable and honest to those who may naturally be inclined to disagree with your view. By respectfully acknowledging opposing arguments and conceding limitations to your own view, you set a measured and responsible tone for the essay.


Be sure to make your appeals in support of your thesis by using sound, credible evidence. Use a balance of facts and opinions from a wide range of sources, such as scientific studies, expert testimony, statistics, and personal anecdotes. Each piece of evidence should be fully explained and clearly stated. Also, write in a style and tone that is appropriate for your subject and audience. Tailor your language and word choice to these two factors, while still being true to your own voice. Finally, write a conclusion that effectively summarizes the main argument and reinforces your thesis.


The formula below for organizing a persuasive essay may be one with which you are familiar. It will present a convincing argument to your reader because your discussion is well rounded and thorough, and you leave your audience with your point of view at the end. Remember to consider each of these components in this formulaas sections instead of paragraphs because you will probably want to discuss multiple ideas backing up your point of view to make it more convincing.


When writing a persuasive essay, it is best to begin with the most important point because it immediately captivates your readers and compels them to continue reading. For example, if you were supporting your thesis that homework is detrimental to the education of high school students, you would want to present your most convincing argument first, and then move on to the less important points for your case.


In Chapter 7: Sources: Choosing the Right Ones, we discussed being critical when evaluating sources, the ideas presented in those sources, and how those ideas are presented. When writing a persuasive essay, you need to focus on the same elements, but you also need to ensure you are presenting an argument that considers other points of view on your topic; you need to acknowledge there are other angles, and you need to present ideas countering those objections in order to increase your chance at convincing your reader.


Because an argument implies differing points of view on the subject, you must be sure to acknowledge those opposing ideas. Avoiding ideas that conflict with your own gives the reader the impression that you may be uncertain, fearful, or unaware of opposing ideas. Thus, it is essential that you not only address counterarguments but also do so respectfully.


It is also helpful to establish the limits of your argument and what you are trying to accomplish. In effect, you are conceding early on that your argument is not the ultimate authority on a given topic. Such humility can go a long way toward earning credibility and trust with an audience. Your readers will know from the beginning that you are a reasonable writer, and they will trust your argument as a result. For example, in the following concessionary statement, the writer advocates for stricter gun control laws, but admits it will not solve all of our problems with crime:


Handling bias in writing and in daily life can be a useful skill. It will allow you to articulate your own points of view while also defending yourself against unreasonable points of view. The ideal in persuasive writing is to let your reader know your bias, but do not let that bias blind you to the primary components of good argumentation: sound, thoughtful evidence and a respectful and reasonable address of opposing sides.


Opinions are personal views, or judgments. An opinion is what an individual believes about a particular subject. However, an opinion in argumentation must have legitimate backing; adequate evidence and credibility should support the opinion. Consider the credibility of expert opinions, as experts in a given field have the knowledge and credentials to make their opinion meaningful to a larger audience.


The insertion of I into a sentence alters not only the way a sentence might sound but also the composition of the sentence itself. I is often the subject of a sentence. If the subject of the essay is supposed to be, say, smoking, then by inserting yourself into the sentence, you are effectively displacing the subject of the essay into a secondary position. In the following example, the subject of the sentence is bolded and underlined:


The word prove is frequently used in the discussion of persuasive writing. Writers may claim that one piece of evidence or another proves the argument, but proving an argument is often not possible. No evidence proves a debatable topic one way or the other; that is why the topic is debatable. Facts can be proved, but opinions can only be supported, explained, and persuaded.


Adding visual elements to a persuasive argument can often strengthen its persuasive effect. However, remember you want to use them to make a bigger impact for your reader, so you need to make sure they are:


The National Archives houses audio recordings and transcripts of Supreme Court oral arguments. These records are found in Record Group 267, Records of the Supreme Court of the United States.


The Moving Image and Sound Branch at the National Archives at College Park houses audio recordings of Supreme Court oral arguments. Many of these recordings have been digitized and made available in the National Archives Catalog:


Audio recordings of oral arguments for recent cases heard by the Supreme Court are available to the public at the end of each argument week. Recordings are posted to the Court's website. Recordings from as far back as the Court's 2010 Term are also available on this site. 041b061a72


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