The challenge of argument as explained by Trudy Govier in “A Practical Study of
Argument” is to construct and respond to arguments in ways that are appropriate to the structure
of an arguer putting forward an argument that does the following: 1. Asserts the premises, 2.
Asserts that if the premises are acceptable the conclusion is acceptable, and 3. Asserts the
conclusion. The purpose of this essay is to analyze 3 dialogues in which the first character gives
an argument and the second character responds to it. The analysis will be for the second
character’s response meeting the challenge of argument or not with the indication and basis for
the answer, as well as the analysis of the ARG conditions of both sides of the argument. The
analysis for the challenge of argument and the ARG conditions will be done for the first dialogue
between Jim and Roger, then the second dialogue between Steve and Peter, and finally the third
dialogue between Nicholas and Kaitlyn.
The first dialogue to be analyzed is the dialogue between Jim and Roger which is as
Jim: A mediator should be completely neutral between the two parties in a
dispute. If he or she is on the side of either party, the process will be unfair
to the other party. In addition, the disadvantaged party will probably detect
the lack of neutrality and then the mediation won’t work. Neutrality is
probably the most essential of all qualities for a mediator to have. And
because the United States is the world’s only superpower, it will never be
perceived as neutral. The idea that the United States can go in and mediate
in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is completely stupid!
Roger: I don’t think so. It’s the one country capable of bringing
pressure on both sides, and that’s the most fundamental thing.
The case above is one in which the second character Roger does not meet the challenge of
argument. The indication of this is when Roger fails a key element of cause of argument by
disregarding Jim’s premise when he states his response “I don’t’ think so.”. Roger continues on