Recovering Argument: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Writing
"Recovering Argument" is a textbook or handbook that sounds a revolutionary call to teachers & students of rhetoric, asking, as it implicitly does, for a return to reason as the basis of all argument. The implied purpose of the book is to recover argument from its current status among teachers, who often view composition as a merely personal exercise, with an emphasis upon "invention" (now the most important part of so-called "process" writing). It attempts to provide a framework for understanding discourse & its position & function in a democratic society. In addition to calling for a return to reason, "Recovering Argument" suggests new models & approaches to the teaching of writing. A model of communication (a "humanistic" model) is offered as a replacement for the widely-accepted analogy that would turn writer & audience into radio transmitters & receivers. A new treatment of "audience" clearly & succinctly demonstrates that the writer does not need to be a slave to demographics, but rather that the writer of any argument must search for truth, however unpalatable that truth may be to the audience. A much-needed review of the differences between spoken & written language is provided herein, & the reader is shown the placement of argument within the Western rhetorical tradition & the importance of the continuing dialogue that began with Plato & Aristotle. This brief text could be used in a college or upper-level high school course in rhetoric or writing as a supplementary text or as the core text in addition to supplementary readings. The freshness of the material is sure to stimulate thought & discussion. The examples of argument in the appendix provide a foundation for individual response & for further study.
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A Brief Usage Guide
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