Classical Argument

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The Classical Argument
Since rhetors began teaching Greek farmers strategies for appealing their cases to Greek courts in the fifth century B.C., the classical argument has stood as a model for writers who believe their case can be argued logically and plausibly to an open-minded audience. In its simplest form, the classical argument has five main parts: The introduction, which warms up the audience, establishes goodwill and rapport with the readers, and announces the general theme or thesis of the argument. The narration, which summarizes relevant background material, provides any information the audience needs to know about the environment and circumstances that produce the argument, and set up the stakes–what’s at risk in this question. The confirmation, which lays out in a logical order (usually strongest to weakest or most obvious to most subtle) the claims that support the thesis, providing evidence for each claim. The refutation and concession, which looks at opposing viewpoints to the writer’s claims, anticipating objections from the audience, and allowing as much of the opposing viewpoints as possible without weakening the thesis. The summation, which provides a strong conclusion, amplifying the force of the argument, and showing the readers that this solution is the best at meeting the circumstances. Each of these paragraphs represents a "chunk" of the paper, which might be one or more paragraphs; for instance, the introduction and narration sections might be combined into one chunk, while the confirmation and concession sections will probably be several paragraphs each.

Here are some suggestions and strategies for developing each section of your classical argument. The introduction has three jobs: to capture your audience’s interest, establish their perception of you as a writer, and set out your point of view for the argument. These multiple roles require careful planning on your part. You might capture interest by using a focusing anecdote or...
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