SPWriting%20Argumentative%20Essays - Writing Argumentative...

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Writing Argumentative Essays Classical argument has its origins among the ancient Greeks. In order to prove that a wrong or injustice was done to them, Greek citizens had to appear before a tribunal of fellow citizens and argue their case. This was a formal process in which the accuser and the accused tried to establish their credibility, exchanged claims and counterclaims, and ended with a rhetorical flourish. In the absence of compelling evidence, the more persuasive speaker often won the day. Another kind of oral discourse using argument, the formal debate was considered a training ground for males seeking public professions during the 19 th -century, and debating societies are still alive on the campuses of many North American universities (with female debaters welcome, of course). Successful debaters are thought to exhibit life skills such as mental dexterity (quick thinking), verbal acuity (repartee), and calm under pressure. In the classical Western tradition, though, argument often went hand in hand with an "us versus them," "winner take all" divisiveness. Today, argument can serve several purposes: to settle an issue (i.e., win an argument) to critique a viewpoint, position, text, etc. to expose a problem or raise awareness of a problem to consolidate an opinion to reach a compromise. Arguing to reach a compromise, in fact, often constitutes a more realistic purpose than arguing to claim a victory. Thus, in her essay on a section of the Criminal Code that permits corporal punishment "if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances," student writer Danielle Gudgeon steers a middle ground between those who want the law upheld and those who want it abolished. Her middle position makes it likely that an audience on both sides will consider her points, making her argumentative goal more attainable: Section 43 of the Criminal Code has a social utility for both teachers and parents, but it is an old law which must be amended to reflect society’s progression. The addition of clear guidelines to the law regarding the severity of discipline and the use of objects as weapons will create a distinction between abuse and discipline. This will prevent subjectivity within the courts and discourage future abuse, while affording parents the option of disciplining their children. The kinds of evidence and the argumentative strategies you use will depend on your purpose in arguing, your audience, and the topic itself. It is useful to look at three diverse forms that written argument can take in the media in order to see how these various elements interact: the letter to the editor, the review, and the editorial. Each has a different purpose, which is reflected in its structure, voice, language, kinds of evidence, and typical reader/viewer. The letter to the editor is the most subjective; there, writers can "have their say"; most published reviews reflect the informed opinions of experts; the voice of the editorial writer is usually the most objective of
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PE 142 taught by Professor Lauzon during the Spring '08 term at University of Victoria.

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SPWriting%20Argumentative%20Essays - Writing Argumentative...

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