Chapter 7 Alex

Ways arguments can break down

  • faulty uses of
    • reasoning or logic
    • credibility
    • emotion

Weak Evidence

Evidence may seem relevant and sufficient to you but may not be to an audience


  • Over-generalization
  • Fallacies do not build the best possible case

Unqualified Claims

  • People don't change their minds easily
  • Readers can be picky
  • Qualification is a stated restriction that limits a claim's strength
    • Qualifying claims tend to avoid exaggerated arguments
      • Weaken the verb
      • Narrow the subject
      • Limit the object
      • Add support

Correlation versus Causation
Correlation-when two or more things that can occur at the same time, ex ice cream sales and drowning, they both go up in the summer
Causation-when two or more events become more than coincidental

Changing the Subject
Talking about information that is barely related to the subject

Straw Man Arguments
oversimplified, exaggerated arguments or incorrect opposing arguments to make the opposition seem weak

Truth as Support
things such as religious beliefs or patriotism

Relying Too Much on Credibility

Believing that something is right because of who is saying it, ie dentists on a toothpaste commercial

Getting Emotional

Emotions can cloud good judgement

The Usefulness of Fallacies

Arguments based on sound reasoning can withstand harsher scrutiny
Fallacies aren't necessarily false

Anticipate and Respond to Opposing Views

Anticipate Objections

Imagine potential objections

Walk in Reader's Shoes

Imagine what reader's will think as they read your argument

Identify Potential Controversies

Pg. 61

Play the Devil's Advocate

Challenge ideas, pretend to support opposition, push to consider the implications of our claims

Respond to Objections

We can Concede

acknowledge legitimate objections

We Can Refute

Explain how you arrived at your alternate position

Elaborate to Fill in Gaps

  1. Incorporate more examples
  2. Respond to more objections
  3. Relate the argument to more real-life contexts
  4. Discuss the larger implications of your argument
  5. Make connections to other related issues
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