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Emmel, Barbara, Paula Resch, and Deborah Tenney, eds. Argument Revisited, Argument Redefined: Negotiating Meaning in the Composition Classroom. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1996.
The nine essays in this volume survey current methods for teaching argument and, in general, evaluate them from the perspective that successful argument, both as genre and as process, negotiates across cultural boundaries rather than supposedly subduing all possible readers or hearers with logic. Contributors are John T. Gage, "The Reasoned Thesis: The E-word and Argumentative Writing as a Process of Inquiry"; Barbara Emmel, "Evidence as a Creative Act: An Epistemology of Argumentative Inquiry"; Richard Fulkerson, "The Toulmin Model of Argument and the Teaching of Composition"; Doug Brent, "Rogerian Rhetoric: Ethical Growth through Alternative Forms of Argumentation"; Jeanne Fahnestock and Marie Secor, "Classical Rhetoric: The Art of Argumentation"; Pamela J. Annas and Deborah Tenney, "Positioning Oneself: A Feminist Approach to Argument"; Judith Summerfield, "Principles for Propagation: On Narrative and Argument"; Mariolina Salvatori, "The 'Argument of Reading' in the Teaching of Composition"; and David Bartholomae, "The Argument of Reading."
Fahnestock, Jeanne, and Marie Secor. "Teaching Argument: A Theory of Types." CCC 34 (February 1983): 20–30. Rpt. in Corbett, Myers, and Tate .
Argument can be taught by the logical/analytic, content/problem-solving, or rhetorical/generative approaches. The first does not work because formal logic is not the logic of discourse, as shown by Perelman . The second approach works better because students infer argumentative techniques by taking stands on controversial issues, but the issues tend to take over the course. The rhetorical/generative approach is best because it teaches forms of argument that are transferable to a wide variety of situations. Most arguments take one of four forms: categorical propositions, causal statements, evaluations, and proposals. Students should learn to write an argument of each kind, in this sequence, on their own topics.
Gage, John T. "Teaching the Enthymeme: Invention and Arrangement." Rhetoric Review 2 (September 1983): 38–50.
Structural formulae for constructing essays do not acknowledge the extent to which audience affects invention and arrangement. The enthymeme, however, properly understood as a large-scale heuristic and not a sentence-level device, can help the writer consider the questions that concern a particular audience, the probable answers to those questions, potential strategies for presenting those answers, and the shared premises that make reasons persuasive. It can thus provide the basic structure of a whole argument. Teaching the enthymeme helps writers see their rhetorical situation and understand logic as a function of audience assumptions.
Kneupper, Charles W. "Teaching Argument: An Introduction to the Toulmin Model." CCC 29 (October 1978): 237–41.
Stephen Toulmin's model of argumentation has three parts: the claim or issue, which concludes the argument; the data, or evidence for the claim; and the warrant, which is the general principle that links data and claim. In simple arguments, the warrant may be assumed. If the warrant is specified, then three more elements enter the model: the qualifier, an acknowledgment that the claim is probably but not certainly true; the reservation, which spells out constraints on the warrant; and the backing, which supports the warrant. Teaching students to analyze essays according to this model will improve their ability to write coherently and argue reasonably.
See: Catherine E. Lamb, "Beyond Argument in Feminist Composition" .
Schroeder, Christopher. "Knowledge and Power, Logic and Rhetoric, and Other Reflections in the Toulmin Mirror: A Critical Consideration of Stephen Toulmin's Contributions to Composition." Journal of Advanced Composition 17 (1997): 95–107.
Philosopher Stephen Toulmin's model of practical reasoning has proved tremendously useful in composition classes. However, writing teachers should be aware of a number of problems with it. Toulmin's model does not distinguish between logically valid and merely probable arguments. It does not require consideration of all available data; on the contrary, it encourages selecting data, perhaps misleadingly, to fit the claim and warrant. The model tends toward relativism in that warrants are presumed not to be universally applicable but to require backing, which depends for acceptance on audience belief. It ignores ethos and pathos as argumentative strategies. It can be used to structure not an entire essay but only individual arguments within the larger text. The most serious problem with the Toulmin model, however, is that it depoliticizes argument, drawing attention away from the social and political power issues that generate claims and legitimate warrants. The function of ideology is obscured. For example, the model itself, fundamentally hierarchical, could be analyzed as an example of masculine thinking, but nothing in the Toulmin approach suggests subjecting it to such analysis.
Sosnoski, James J. "Explaining, Justifying, Configuring." Modern Skeletons in Postmodern Closets: A Cultural Studies Alternative. Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1995. 70–79.
There are three kinds of academic arguments. "Explanations" work from premises that are established laws, to explain events and give evidence as to how and why they occurred. Such arguments are typical of the natural sciences. "Justifications" work from premises that are not laws but that have to be justified to the audience; they work only for audiences that accept the premises. Such arguments are typical of the social sciences and of literary criticism—for example, of a particular critical school. "Configurations" appeal to the audience's experiences, and they work to the extent that the experience they present or refer to matches the audience's. Literary arguments may also be configurations, when they ask the audience to share the critic's reading experience. Sosnoski analyzes problems with literary criticism that treats its own interpretive premises as established laws. He prefers that literary arguments be configurations, because these work best in accounting for cultural differences among diverse audience members. For the same reason, configurations are the best arguments to use in conveying academic knowledge to the general public.