Argument: a set of reasons or evidence in support of a conclusion
Chapter I General Rules for Composing Short Arguments
1.Identify premises and conclusion
What you are trying to prove? What is your conclusion?
2.Develop your ideas in a natural order
3.Start from reliable premises
Find well-known examples or reliable sources. If not, do some research and/or give an argument for the premise itself.
4.Be concrete and concise
Avoid abstract, vague and general terms.
5.Build on substance, not overtone
Do not use emotionally loaded words for your argument. Likewise, do not try to make your argument look good by using emotionally loaded words to label the other side.
6.Use consistent terms
Coach your idea in clear and carefully chosen terms, and work each step by using those very same terms again. Do not use synonyms.
Chapter II Generalization 一般化结论
Some arguments offer one or more examples in support of a generalization.
When do premises adequately support a generalization? The examples should be accurate.
7.Use more than one example
Generalizations about a small set of things, the strongest argument should consider all examples.
Generalizations about larger sets of things require picking out a sample.
How many examples are required depends on how representative they are, and on the size of the set being generalized about.
8.Use representative examples
9.Background rates may be crucial (success rate)
10.Statistics need a critical eye
When an argument offers rates or percentages, the relevant background information usually must include the number of examples.
Be wary of over-precision, numbers that are easily manipulated, and extrapolation.
Use them early and use them well in order to revise or limit or rethink your conclusions.
Chapter III Arguments by Analogy
When an argument stresses the likeness between two cases(examples used as an analogy and example in the conclusion), it is very probably an argument from analogy.
12.Analogies require relevantly similar examples.
Chapter IV Sources
13.Cite your sources
14.Seek informed sources
Sources must be qualified to make the statements they make.
15.Seek impartial sources
People or organizations who do not have a stake in the immediate issue, and who have a prior and primary interest in accuracy.
Check who funds them; check their publications; look for their track record; watch the tone of their statements.
17.Use the web with care
Who created this site? Why did they create it? What are their qualifications? What does it mean if they don’t tell you? How can you double-check and cross-check its claims?
Chapter V Argument about Causes(causes and effects, about what causes what)
18.Casual arguments start with correlations.
Event or condition E1 is regularly associated with event or condition E2.
Therefore, event or condition E1 causes event or condition E2.
19.Correlations may have alternative explanations
a. Some correlations may simply be coincidental.
b. Even when there really is a connection, correlation by itself does not establish the direction of the connection.
c. Some other cause may underlie and explain both of the correlates.
d. Multiple or complex causes may be at work, and they may move in many directions at the same time.
20.Work toward the most likely explanation
Fill in the connections, and spell out how each possible explanation could make sense.
21. Expect complexity
Consider the relative weight of different causes, and find the major contributor.
Chapter VI Deductive Arguments
If its premises are true, the conclusion must be true too.
Properly formed deductive arguments are called valid arguments.
In nondeductive arguments, the conclusion goes beyond the premises whereas the conclusion of a valid deductive argument only makes explicit what is already contained in the premises.
Deductive forms offer an effective way to organize arguments.
22.Modus ponens: put p, get q
If p then q.
23.Modus tollens: take q, take p (the mode of taking)
If p then q.
Therefore, not p.
If p then q.
If q then r.
Therefore, if p then r.
p or q.
This is an “inclusive” sense of the word “or” and is the sense normally assumed in logic.
26.Dilemma: a choice between two options both of which have unappealing consequences.
p or q.
If p then r.
If q then s.
Therefore, r or s.
27.Reductio ad absurdum: a reduction to absurdity 归谬法，间接证明法
Arguments by indirect proof establish their conclusions by showing that assuming the opposite leads to absurdity: to a contradictory or silly result.
To prove: p.
Assume the opposite: Not p.
Argue that from the assumption we’d have to conclude: q.
Show that q is false.
Conclude: p must be true after all.
28.Deductive arguments in several steps
Chapter VII Extended Arguments
29.Explore the issue
30.Spell out basic idea as arguments
31.Defend basic premises with arguments of their own
Good arguments are usually in “flow”, and each part depends on the others.
What are the best arguments against the conclusion you are trying to work on?
Show your proposal is better than any other plausible proposals.
Chapter VIII Argumentative essays
34.Jump right in.
35.Make a definite claim or proposal
36.Your argument is your outline
37.Detail objections and meet them
38.Get feedback and use it
Development, criticism, clarification, and change are the keys.
Chapter IX Oral Arguments
40.Reach out to your audience (from enthusiasm and respect)
41.Be fully present
42.Signpost your argument
43.Offer something positive
44.Use visual aids sparingly
45.End in style