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Chapter 6: Rogerian Argument, Toulmin Logic, and Oral

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CHAPTER 6: ROGERIAN
ARGUMENT, TOULMIN LOGIC,
AND ORAL ARGUMENTS
ENG 113: Composition I
Understanding Rogerian Argument

Traditional Model of Argument = Confrontational


Classical Model (Aristotle)
Someone is:




Right or Wrong
Winner or Loser
Innocent or Guilty
Carl Rogers – 20th Century Psychologist

Confrontational argumentation can be counterproductive


Attacks put opponent on the defensive
Impossible for two sides to reach an agreement


Result = hostility, ill will, anger, and conflict
New approach = Rogerian Argument
Rogerian Argument



Begins with the assumption that people of good will
can find solutions to problems they have in common
Consider the other side—those with whom you
disagree—as colleagues, not opponents
Enter a cooperative relationship, not an adversarial
one
 Search
for common ground – points of agreement
about a problem

This approach can lead to a solution that will satisfy
everyone
Structuring Rogerian Arguments

Begin by establishing common ground


Describe the other side’s view of the problem





Use neutral terms with unbiased, impartial language
Present your own view of the problem


Point out that both sides share an interest in solving the problem
or coming to an agreement
Fairly and objectively
Convince the reader that your position has merit
Concede the strengths of the other side’s position
Explain the benefits of an agreement/solution
End by reinforcing your position and emphasizing the
possibilities of a mutually satisfying solution
Writing Rogerian Arguments


Typically used for emotional or controversial issues
Display empathy and respect for the audience




Define common ground between your position and the
audience’s point of view
Make concessions



Understand audience’s concerns
Avoid confrontational language
Avoid “I win/You lose” situation
Reach consensus
Strength of the Rogerian argument rests on your ability to
identify areas of agreement between you and your
audience
Writing Rogerian Arguments


Rogerian arguments can be used to structure an
entire essay
Can be included as one part of a more traditional
argument
 Typically
appears in the refutation section, where
opposing arguments are addressed
Structure of Rogerian Argument

Introduction:


Introduces the problem, pointing out how both the writer and reader are
affected (establishes common ground)
Body:


Presents the reader’s view of the problem
Presents the writer’s view of the problem


Shows how the reader would benefit from moving toward the writer’s
position


Includes evidence to support the writer’s viewpoint
Lays out possible compromises that would benefit both reader and
writer


Includes evidence to support the writer’s viewpoint
Includes evidence to support the writer’s viewpoint
Conclusion:

Strong concluding statement reinforces the thesis and emphasizes
compromise
Understanding Toulmin Logic

Stephen Toulmin – Philosopher
 The

Uses of Argument (1958)
Way of describing the structure of argument
 Observed
that formal logic is effective for analyzing
highly specialized arguments, it is inadequate for
describing the arguments that occur in everyday life
 Primarily concerned with the structure of argument at
the level of sentences and paragraphs
 Model
can be useful when dealing with longer arguments
Structure of Toulmin Argument

Simplest structure = 3 parts




The claim – the main point of the essay, usually stated as the
thesis
The grounds – the evidence that a writer uses to support a claim
The warrant – the inference—either stated or implied—that
connects the claim to the grounds
Built by using deductive or inductive reasoning


You arrive at your claim inductively from facts, observations, and
examples
You connect the grounds and the warrant to your claim
deductively
Constructing Toulmin Arguments

Expanded model

Claim – the main point of the essay –


Reason – a statement that supports the claim


A debatable statement that the rest of the essay will support
Often the reason appears in the same sentence with the claim
connected to it by the word because
Warrant – the inference that connects the claim to the
grounds
Often an unstated assumption
 Ideally, an idea with which the audience agrees


Backing – statements that support the warrant
Constructing Toulmin Arguments

Expanded model continued:
 Grounds
– the concrete evidence used to support the
claim
 Facts
and observations that support the thesis
 Opinions of experts
 Qualifiers
– statements that limit the claim
 Can
include words such as: most, few, some, sometimes,
occasionally, often, and usually
 Rebuttals
– exceptions to the claim
 Counterarguments
that identify the situations where the
claim does not hold true
Writing Toulmin Arguments

Strengths of the Toulmin model
 Emphasizes
that presenting arguments is more than
stating ideas in absolute terms
 Encourages writers to make realistic and convincing
points by including claims and qualifiers and by
addressing opposing arguments in down-to-earth and
constructive ways
 Remind readers do not exist in a vacuum
 Aimed
writer
at real readers who may or may not agree with the
Writing Toulmin Arguments

Introduction



Body






Introduces the problem
States the claim and the reason (and possibly the qualifier)
Possibly states the warrant
Presents the backing that supports the warrant
Presents the grounds that support the claim
Presents the conditions of rebuttal
States the qualifiers
Conclusion


Brings the argument to a close
Strong concluding statement reinforces the claim
Understanding Oral Arguments

Oral arguments can be similar to a written
argument
 Includes
and introduction, body, and conclusion
 Addresses and refutes opposing points of view

Oral arguments have important differences from
written arguments
 Need
to be considered to make sure the oral argument
is effective
Understanding Oral Arguments

Listeners have to understand an oral argument the
first time they hear it
 Cannot

reread an oral argument to clarify information
Need to design the presentation of the oral
argument to help your listeners
Understanding Oral Arguments

An oral argument should

Contain verbal signals that help guide listeners


Use simple, direct language and avoid long sentences


Alert listeners to information to come and signal shifts from one point to
another
Complex language is difficult to follow
Repeat key information

Guideline: “Tell listeners what you’re going to tell them; then tell it to them;
finally, tell them what you’ve just told them”




Introduction – tell your listeners what you are going to tell them
Body – discuss the points one at a time
Conclusion – restate the points
Include visuals


Identify your key points as you make them
Clarify or reinforce key points and to add interest


Charts, graphs, tables
Help increase chances that what you are saying will be remembered
Planning an Oral Argument

Choose your topic wisely

Controversial


Something listeners are interested in
Something you know about
Familiar with basis issues
 Research


Know your audience
Determine what the audience already knows
 Identify attitude – hostile, friendly, neutral
 Helps to guide what information to include and what tactics
to employ

Planning an Oral Argument Continued

Know your time limit
 Plan
to use the time wisely
 Not

too long, not too short
Identify your thesis statement
 Debatable,
simple
 Clearly conveys your position
 Must

be understood the first time
Gather support for your thesis
 Facts,
observations, expert opinion, statistics
 Personal experience and research
Planning an Oral Argument Continued

Acknowledge your sources
 Protect

yourself from plagiarism
Prepare speaking notes
 Do
not read the speech
 Index cards – list points to be made
 Notes
guide you as you speak
 Not too many
 Contain key information
 Number the notecards – keep in order
Planning an Oral Argument Continued

Prepare visual aids
 Communicate
thesis and supporting points more
effectively
 Diagrams,
photographs, slides, flip charts, overhead
transparencies, handouts, objects
 Presentation software – PowerPoint, Prezi, YouTube videos
 Should
be relevant and support your thesis
 Irrelevant

is distracting
Practice your presentation
Delivering Oral Arguments


Delivery is the most important part of the speech
Way you speak, interaction with the audience,
posture, eye contact = effect the overall
presentation
A
confident controlled speaker will have positive impact
on an audience
 A speaker who is not confident will lose credibility
Delivering Oral Arguments

Guidelines to appear credible and reliable
 Accept
nervousness
 Breathe
deeply
 Use visualization
 Empty your mind
 Drink water
 Keep things in perspective
 Look
at your audience
 Speak naturally
 Speak slowly
Delivering Oral Arguments Continued




Speak clearly and correctly
Move purposefully
Be prepared for the unexpected
Leave time for questions
 Be
prepared
 Repeat a question before you answer it
 Keep control of interchanges
 Be honest
 Use the last question to summarize
 Restate
the main point of your argument
Composing an Oral Argument

Introduction



Body





Presents the background of the issue
States the thesis
Presents evidence: Point 1 in support of the thesis
Presents evidence: Point 2 in support of the thesis
Presents evidence: Point 3 in support of the thesis
Refutes opposing arguments
Conclusion



Brings the argument to a close
Concluding statement restates thesis
Speaker asks for questions
Auteur
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