2. This presentation is based on Chapter 13: Writing
a Classical Argument, from The Allyn and Bacon
Guide to Writing (6th edition).
The purpose of this presentation in ENG 1123 is to
deﬁne argument, and to explain how to evaluate
and develop arguments.
3. It starts with a question!
What is argument? (Discuss.)
Why do we need it?
8. MODEL: ARGUMENT AS COMMITTEE DELIBERATION
OR COLLABORATIVE EXPLORATION WITH CONSIDERATION OF MULTIPLE POINTS OF VIEW
9. Which model should we
prefer in ENG 1123?
While the ﬁght model charges argument with
hostility and the pro-con debate reduces every
argument to two sides and the ultimate goal is to
win, the model of a committee of diverse voices
dedicated to the common cause of ﬁnding a
solution to a problem allows us to see argument
as both process and product.
10. Argument has two main
Truth seeking: open Persuasion: the art of
minded search for the making a claim on an
best course of action issue and justifying it
or solution to a convincingly so that
problem, taking into the audience’s initial
account all of the resistance to your
available information position is overcome
and alternative points and they are
of view compelled to move
toward your position
11. Aren’t truth seeking and
persuasion at odds?
Truth seeking requires that we relax our certainties and
be willing to change our views
Persuasion asks us to be certain enough to convince
If we avoid argument as ﬁght and argument as pro-con
debate, approaching argument as a truth seeking
process that results in a persuasive product, or argument
essay, the two work well together.
12. Stages of development
Level 1: Personal opinion: We often start
arguments with strong personal opinions but have
trouble justifying our opinions with reasons and
evidence; we often rely on circular arguments that
are insulting to those who hold opposing
Think of examples. Discuss. When you start from a
position of certainty, what is the focus of your
13. *When the writer’s
purpose is to argue a
point from an
opinion, the focus of
research is to find
evidence that supports
the view one already has
Level 2: Argument structured as claim supported by one
or more reasons: This stage is a huge leap from the
previous one. Having made the leap to support a claim,
the writer can now make develop a structured plan with
point sentences (the reasons) and particulars (evidence).
Pursue one of the previously discussed topics to develop
point sentences and particulars.
Our goal in this class is to develop arguments beyond
14. Level 3: Increased attention to truth seeking: A
level 3 argument writer becomes increasingly
engaged with the complexity of the issue as he or
she considers multiple points of view, conducts
research, and evaluates stances.
Level 3 argument writers are willing to change their
positions when they see the power of other
15. Level 4: Ability to articulate the unstated
assumptions underlying their arguments.
This argument writer understands that each
reason in an argument is based upon an
assumption, value, or belief (often unstated) that
the audience must accept if the argument is to be
At this stage, students are able to identify and
analyze their own assumptions as well as those of
their intended audience.
16. Level 5: Ability to link an argument to the values
and beliefs of the intended audience. When writers
understand their audience’s values and beliefs,
they can adapt the structure and tone of an
argument to more effectively appeal to them.
Level 5 argument writers who approach argument
as both process and product, thus, become skilled
in truth seeking and persuasion.
17. What is the ﬁrst step to formulating an
argument, then,? •Mississippi voter
•mother of child who
“cannot stay on task”
•over weight American
Find an arguable issue. •SES parent
Make a list of several communities that you belong
to and then identify one or more questions
currently being contested within those
Pick two or three issues of interest to you, and try
framing them in different ways: as broad or narrow
questions, as open-ended or “yes/no” questions.
18. Framework for a classical argument:
Introduction: grabs the reader’s attention, explains the issue,
provides background info, thesis, preview of development
Presentation of writer’s position: presents reasons to accept
thesis (each tied to a value or belief held by the audience)
Summary of opposing views: sums up views differing from
writer’s without bias (should be fair and complete)
Response to opposing views: refutes opposing views, illustrates
the weaknesses in them, and possibly concedes some strengths
Conclusion: Brings closure, sums up argument, leaves lasting
impression, often calls for action or relates topic to a larger