Chapter 2 Hamnes

Chapter 2: How Do We Argue?

How do arguments work?

  • Arguments explain what we think and why we think so.
  • A thesis states what we think, and the rest of the argument shows why.
  • Arguments can be defined in two different ways
    • By their function, or what they do: Compelling arguments respond to questions or problems that seem urgent, controversial, or significant to writers and their audiences. They help us create and communicate answers and solutions, and they influence us to modify what (or how) we know, believe, think, or act.
    • By their form or how they're structured: Arguments are comprised of four main elements: a claim, support, linkages, and some explanation of why the argument matters.
  • Arguments originate from a catalyst: a gap or imperfection, an unknown answer, or an unsolved problem that matters to a writer.
  • All arguments begin with a question or uncertainty and use some method of investigation and case building to arrive at a conclusion.

How can apprentice scholars identify significant arguments that motivate them to write?

  • Discover a disciplinary question that puzzles them.
  • Feel aggravated by a problem in their teaching.
  • Vehemently disagree with another scholar's findings.
  • Notice something new that contradicts previous experience.
  • If you can find a catalyst that really interests you-something that you want to figure out.

What are the elements of arguments, and how do we build them?

  • The elements of argument are the thesis, supporting claims, and linkage.
  • The thesis is our argument's central claim, a debatable or controversial idea that we're proposing to our audience.
  • Supporting Claims: because claims are controversial or open to question, we pair them with some kind of support that our audience will trust.
  • Kinds of Support:
    • Evidence: Something you can observe
    • Verification: Something you can look up
    • Illustration: Something you can imagine
  • Linkages connect supports and claims together.
  • A linkage, also known as a premise, explains the "because" part of an argument.

How do we locate underlying assumptions, gaps, and weak spots?

  • Assumptions make up the bulk of the total argument, even though they're typically hiding, unstated, below the surface.

How does inquiry inspire argument?

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