Writing an Argument

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Quite unlike the ordinary meaning of the word, argument as a term in rhetoric refers to the process of reasoning by advancing proof. Indeed, academic argument can seem dispassionate if one expects that all argument is done with raised voices and heated tempers. Though academic argument often does grow very acrimonious, it is more often the product of careful research and thoughtful consideration of all the facts that one can acquire about the issue. For centuries therefore rhetoricians advocated the writing of an argumentative essay as a means of learning how to think. Argument demands that the writer examine a belief by testing the strength of the reasons for holding such a belief. Argument of this kind forms a "dialectical structure," a dialog, within the essay itself. In this dialog, the writer explores several sides of the issue under consideration with the readers in an attempt to demonstrate why one perspective is the most enlightened. The writer's analysis of the issues (his/her evaluations of the claims, evidence, assumptions, hidden arguments, and inherent contradictions) leads the writer to champion one perspective of the subject at hand, even though reasonable, thoughtful, intelligent people advocate different perspectives.

In short, the writer of an argument essay has several goals: the primary goals is to persuade and move the audience to accept his/her position on an issue, but that is often a very difficult challenge. A secondary, and more modest goal, is for the writer to articulate why s/he chooses the stance that s/he does on an issue. The secondary goal recognizes the fact that to persuade is a difficult objective but that at least the writer can explain his/her reasoning behind his/her position. Writing Guidelines

For those reasons, many rhetoricians describe the argument as a dialog, set in writing, between the writer and the readers. In this dialog, the writer introduces his/her subject, makes his/her claim, discusses any necessary...
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