What is the importance of correct argumentation?
Communication is a basic part of our life. We live in a society, where we share our ideas, opinions, feelings, energy and skills. This gives us a great strength and advantage because every person can use the potential of all members of the social group he lives with. We can create our world together, protect and help each other.
Argumentation means that we are able to say what we think and explain it. It is a really complicated process of making others understand your ideas. We call this important process REASONING.
If someone says: “I like going out. We should go out!” Is this a good argument – a reason for you to go out?
(Kelly:”Let’s go out for dinner.”
Jack:”No, I’m tired today.”
Kelly: You are always tired when I want to go out!)
Why don’t these people understand each other?
Have you ever explained something and the other people didn’t understand you or they understood you incorrectly?
If people use incorrect argument -> the other people don’t understand and accept them -> it’s their fault that the others don’t understand them
What is an argument?
An argument is a set of sentences. Basically, an argument states what we believe and why we believe that. That is why every argument has two basic parts:
Conclusion – states WHAT we believe.
Premises – the reasons WHY we believe it.
Example – “I think we should stay at home today. Look at those nasty clouds. There will be a huge storm any minute. I’m also very tired, it would be hard to stay active for me.”
Conclusion – „I think we should stay at home today.”
Premises – “Look at those nasty clouds. There will be a huge storm any minute.”; “I’m also very tired, it would be hard to stay awake for me.”
What is a good argument?
A good argument should be UNDERSTANDABLE and ACCEPTABLE for all participants of a debate.
Understandable – the premises should be logical and clear.
Good – “Let’s go for a dinner! We both are hungry and too tired to cook!”
Bad – “Let’s go for a dinner! Louis XIV. was a great French king!” The explanation has no logical connection to the conclusion.
Acceptable – the explanation should be agreed or approved by most participants of the debate.
Good – in a Christian family – “We can order a good beef steak. It’s tasty and full of proteins.”
Bad – in a Hindu family – “We can order a good beef steak. It’s tasty and full of proteins.” It’s unacceptable for a Hindu to eat beef.
What basic types of arguments do we know?
Deductive arguments – the truth of their premises guarantees the truth of their conclusion. “We never eat meat on Friday (truth). Today is Friday (truth). We won’t eat meat today (truth).”
Inductive arguments – is reasoning in which the premises seek to supply strong evidence for (not absolute proof of) the truth of the conclusion. While the conclusion of a deductive argument is supposed to be certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is supposed to be probable, based upon the evidence given. “We will maybe go with Paul today for dinner. He is a strong vegan. Probably we won’t eat meat today.”
Arguments from analogy – A is like B, A is F, therefore B is F. “Yesterday was a similar day as today. Yesterday we went out for dinner. So today we will go for dinner as well.”
Arguments from authority – if an expert thinks A, then A is the truth. “The Harvard medical school released a new study about a balanced diet. We should order also more vegetables!”
Casual arguments – every time when A occurs a B also occurs. Therefore A causes B. “Every time we eat out we spend too much money. Eating out is too expensive for us.”
Why does every argument does have an opposite argument?
Everything has advantages and disadvantages; therefore also every argument has certainly an opposite argument of the same value. The purpose of debate is not to fight who is right and who is not, but to find as much important information as possible and then decide based on our priorities.
“We are too tired today to cook. Let’s go out for dinner.” – truth
“We are too tired to dress up and walk to the city. Let’s stay at home.” -truth
What is a fallacy in argumentation?
A fallacy is the use of poor, incorrect or unacceptable reasoning for the argument. The argument appears to be correct but is not.
Why are these arguments wrong? Why?
“I ate in that restaurant once and the food was bad. All the food there is rubbish.” (Since you didn’t taste all the meals you cannot state that – not enough evidence)
“Everybody likes Thai food. We should go to Thai restaurant.” (It’s not true that everybody likes Thai food)
“Not many people I know like Thai food. It’s not tasty.” (Thai food can be tasty even though not everyone likes it)
“We went out yesterday and I slipped on the ice. We will stay at home cause I don’t want to get hurt!” (Exception is not a rule)
“Yesterday we weren’t out for dinner and we weren’t hungry. We can stay at home today as well.” (The circumstances of yesterday and today can vary)
Remember/write down 5 arguments people will tell you tomorrow. Evaluate them – are they good or bad? Explain.
Find five arguments in recent news. Evaluate them – are they good or bad? Explain.
Choose with your project group a topic. Divide into two groups. One group should present 3 supportive arguments for and the other 3 opposite arguments. Present them one by one. Evaluate every one of them. Try to find an opposite argument to every presented argument.
|– start your argument by a simple statement which includes the opinion
– Ex.: We should stay at home today.
|– do not be offensive or violent
– Ex.: Shut up!
|– explain the statement in order to make others understand you
o logically (explanation must be logical and often chronological, you cannot omit parts you think are clear for others – they might not be)
o clearly (use vocabulary that is appropriate for people you are talking to)
– Ex.: We should stay at home today. Look at those nasty clouds. There will be a huge storm any minute.
|– do not think that others have the same thoughts as you do – you have to tell them exactly what you mean
– Ex.: When you try to persuade a child that hygiene is important, you must tell him how an absence of it can cause illnesses. It does not matter you know it, the child does not know it, therefore you must tell him.
|– support your argument by examples
– Ex.: Last time we went outside, it was cloudy and it started raining soon.
|– do not use arguments which could be personal if you want to look professionally
– Ex.: You are not able to understand the problem because your parents have never spent time with you!
|– be imaginative
– Ex.: Imagine, that it starts raining. We will be wet, we will have to dry our clothes, have a shower and we might be ill.
|– do not put your subjective opinions into your argumentation when you are talking about a general topic
– Ex.: I love cows. Therefore, people should not kill cows and eat beef.
|– talk about consequences on different persons involved
– Ex.: If we come home wet, it won’t affect only us, but mum(/dad/Peter) might get angry when we come back because we will make a mess.
|– do not generalise (do not conclude results from one fact)
– Ex.: Physical exercises are healthy. Ergo, all people should exercise. (It is wrong because there are also people who cannot exercise because of an illness or other disability and it could worsen their health)
|– be realistic and use only arguments which you think are true or could work in reality (it is not very fair to persuade others of something you have just made up)