Intro to Sociology Week 6.5.docx - Intro to Sociology Week 6.5 Critical Thinking and Argumentation Argumentation Why arguments To advance knowledge

Intro to Sociology Week 6.5.docx - Intro to Sociology Week...

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Intro to Sociology Week 6.5 Critical Thinking and Argumentation Argumentation Why arguments? To advance knowledge Argument provides a way for people with divergent views to jointly reach conclusions through sound logical reasoning based on valid evidence Other uses of arguments Eristic dialogue – social debate in which the primary goal is to win the argument not to improve our understanding or achieve mutually agreed solutions o Most political debates, high school debate competitions Argument is used to protect the self-interest of people in courts of law or civil discourse o Arguments over whether to rezone property Argument is used to provide post hoc rationalizations of decisions made irrationally, “putting lipstick on the pig” to dress up the decision and make it seem more rational than it is o Explanations of why it was really quite rational for you to cheat on your partner Elements of good arguments Toulmin (1958) in the uses of argument identified six components of arguments. Since many authors have tried to identify key components of arguments o 1-Final Claim – the conclusion one participant argues is ture o 2-Counterclaim – An alternative claim that often opposes final claim o 3-Supporting Argument – statements supporting a claim or counterclaim Evidence (data) – facts used to support a claim
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Pseudo-Evidence – anecdotes or other unproven information with limited credibility Opinion – A statement of belief or preference Warrant – a statement connecting the data to a claim (e.g., an assumption or logical deduction) Backing – credentials that may be used to add credibility to a claim if the warrant is not sufficient o 4-Rebuttal – statements challenging a claim or arguments in support of a claim Rules for good arguments “Pragma-Dialectics” – These are a series of rules for arguments that, if followed, should lead to rational discourse and sound conclusions They are ideal rules and may not always be followed in practice but should be. 6 rules for good arguments 1-All claims must be defensible – the burden of proof is on the party that makes a claim, and others have the right to challenge any claim 2-Stay focused and relevant – support for a claim must be relevant to the claim, and any support for a rebuttal must be related to the rebuttal 3-Clarify – be as clear and as explicit as possible in defining concepts, stating assumptions, and making logical arguments 4-Sound reasoning – claims and rebuttals should be based on sound logic and evidence 5-Question assumptions – unstated assumptions should be clarified and may be challenged 6-Acknowledge valid points made by the other party – this is the only way to achieve closure by recognizing progress and moving on to other issues
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Distinguishing good and bad arguments Good Arguments Will have… Bad arguments will have… Clear claims and counter claims Unclear or no claim Many supporting statements
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  • Fall '08
  • DavidBrunsma

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