- Offers a reason or reasons in support of a conclusion
- Broadly, arguments can be made to support a claim (poverty cannot be eliminated by injecting foreign aid) OR
- A recommendation (sustainable development programmes should be adopted)
ARGUMENTS CONTAIN …
- Language clues that indicate a conclusion is being drawn or reasoning is being provided
- Unstated assumptions – items of information not explicitly stated but upon which the argument relies in order to draw its conclusion
ARGUMENTS PRESENT …
- Two or more reasons which jointly, or independently support the conclusion
- Reasons which supports an intermediate conclusion, which then is used with other reasons to support a main conclusion
ARGUMENTS CAN BE FLAWED…
If the conclusion drawn does not follow from the reasons provided.
- Relying on inappropriate comparisons, examples, or analogies
- Drawing conclusions on the basis of insufficient evidence
- Using inappropriate/irrelevant evidence
- Failing to look for other relevant evidence
- Failure to consider other possibilities
- Assuming causality: two things have occurred together, one has caused the other
- Creating slippery slope arguments (a certain action, though possibly harmless in itself will be the first step along a road to inevitable and undesirable consequences)
- Simply deviating from point and forgetting what you set out to prove.
ARGUMENTS SHOULD BE EXAMINED…
Reading and reasoning critically develops THINKERS and WRITERS
- What is the author’s argument or main point of view?
- What are his reasons for his conclusion? How are these reasons related?
- Do the reasons lead logically to the conclusion? Why or Why not?
- Has he made any assumptions that can be easily challenged?
- Has he considered any alternative views? How does he respond to them?
- And finally – what is YOUR view on this? What are YOUR reasons for your conclusion