Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Some thoughts on argument analysis

  1. Published arguments seldom begin with a thesis (and may not end with one). Frequently, the thesis is only implied. 
  2. An analysis of an argument is rarely “right” or “wrong,” but some answers are much better than others. The answer that explains the text in the most thorough way is superior. 
  3. Thinking of yourself as a member of the intended audience for an argument is essential to analyzing argument. 
  4. Often when we reject an argument, it is because we are not part of the intended audience. 
  5. The analyst needs to pay attention to assumptions concerning the reader’s race, nationality, and gender. 
  6. Pay close attention to pronouns. They shift references. 
  7. An analytic explanation rarely occurs in a chronological order; it usually involves moving backward and forward within the text being analyzed. Using chronological order usually moves an analysis to summary. 
  8. While knowing Aristotle’s three modes is important, it is also important to know the work of Rogers (the psychologist) and Toulmin (the logician). 
  9. Whether or not an argument contains fallacies is not germane to understanding it rhetorically. 
  10. Analyses need to measured against the evidence of the text itself. 
  11. It is usually more important to consider what is implied. 
  12. When you read an argument, you should try to determine why it was written in the way it was written. 
  13. The analyst needs to determine whether the thesis is direct, indirect, implied, deliberately hidden, or subversive (A Modest Proposal is an example of a subversive thesis).

Don't forget to do the assignment in the previous post. Also, check out the link under writing on the left for notes on good writing entitled the YES Writing Guide .

No comments:

Post a Comment