Recovering Argument: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Writing

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Universal-Publishers, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 108 pages
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"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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Contents

Writer and Audience
1
Argument and Its Forms
5
Concepts for Argument
10
Understanding Argument
13
Response and Claim in Argument
19
Analogy and Argument
21
Abstraction Generality and Clarity in Argument
22
Cause and Effect Reasoning
25
Deduction and Induction
27
Common Fallacies
35
Evaluation
40
Emotional Appeals
45
A Note on Insults and Hate Language
50
A Brief Usage Guide
53
Appendix
56
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Mezo received his Ph.D. in English from the University of North Dakota in 1978 and completed a study in Education at Western Washington University in 1988. He has taught at colleges and universities in the U.S. and overseas. He teaches at the University of Maryland University College, Asian Division.

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