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Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings, 8th Edition

By John D. Ramage, John C. Bean, June Johnson

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jan 7, 2009


The market-leading guide to arguments, Writing Arguments ,8/e has proven highly successful in teaching readers to read arguments critically and to produce effective arguments of their own.



Table of Contents




Part 1    Overview of Argument 


Argument: An Introduction  

What Do We Mean by Argument?  

        Argument Is Not a Fight or a Quarrel 

        Argument Is Not Pro-Con Debate 

Arguments Can Be Explicit or Implicit  

*Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., Let the Facts Decide, Not Fear  

The Defining Features of Argument   

        Argument Requires Justification of Its Claims    

        Argument Is Both a Process and a Product    

        Argument Combines Truth Seeking and Persuasion    

        Argument and the Problem of Truth    

A Successful Process of Argumentation: The Well-Functioning Committee    

Gordon Adams (student),“Petition to Waive the University Mathematics Requirement”    



2  Argument as Inquiry: Reading and Exploring

Finding Issues to Explore

            Do Some Initial Brainstorming

            Be Open to the Issues All Around You

            Explore Ideas by Freewriting

            Explore Ideas by Idea-Mapping

            Explore Ideas by Playing the Believing and Doubting Game

Placing Texts in a Rhetorical Context

            Genres of Argument

            Cultural Contexts: Who Writes Arguments and Why?

            Analyzing Rhetorical Context and Genre

Reading to Believe an Argument’s Claims

*John Kavanaugh, Amnesty?

            Summary Writing as a Way of Reading to Believe

            Practicing Believing: Willing Your Own Belief in the Writer’s Views

Reading to Doubt

Thinking Dialectically

            Questions to Stimulate Dialectic Thinking

*Fred Reed, Why Blame Mexico?

            Three Ways to Foster Dialectic Thinking


Writing Assignment: An Argument Summary or Formal Exploratory Essay


*Michael Banks (student), Should the United States Grant Legal Status to Undocumented Immigrant Workers?


Part 2    Writing a Classical Argument 


The Core of an Argument: A Claim with Reasons    

The Structure of a Classical Argument  

Classical Appeals and the Rhetorical Triangle    

Issue Questions as the Origins of Argument    

        Difference between an Issue Question and an Information Question    

        How to Identify an Issue Question  

        Difference between a Genuine Argument and a Pseudo-Argument    

Frame of an Argument: A Claim Supported by Reasons    

        What Is a Reason?    

        Expressing Reasons in Because Clauses    


Writing Assignment: An Issue Question and Working Thesis Statements    


The Logical Structure of Arguments    

An Overview of Logos: What Do We Mean by the “Logical Structure” of an Argument?    

        Formal Logic Versus Real World Logic   

        The Role of Assumptions  

The Enthymeme: The Core of an Argument  

Adopting a Language for Describing Arguments: The Toulmin System    

Using Toulmin’s Schema to Determine a Strategy of Support    

The Power of Audience-Based Reasons    

        Difference between Writer-Based and Audience-Based Reasons    

        Finding Audience-Based Reasons: Asking Questions about Your Audience    


Writing Assignment: Plan for the Details of an Argument     


Using Evidence Effectively    

The Persuasive Use of Evidence    

        Apply the STAR Criteria to Evidence    

        Use Sources That Your Reader Trusts    

Rhetorical Understanding of Evidence    

        Kinds of Evidence    

        Angle of Vision and the Selection and Framing of Evidence    

Examining Visual Arguments: Mosh Pit Photographs  

Rhetorical Strategies for Framing Evidence    

Special Strategies for Framing Statistical Evidence    

Gathering Evidence    

        Creating a Plan for Gathering Evidence    

        Gathering Data from Interviews    

        Gathering Data from Surveys or Questionnaires    


Writing Assignment:  A Microtheme or “Supporting Reasons” Argument    


*Carmen Tieu (student), Why Violent Video Games Are Good for Girls   


Moving Your Audience: Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos    

Ethos and Pathos as Persuasive Appeals: An Overview    

How to Create an Effective Ethos: The Appeal to Credibility    

How to Create Pathos: The Appeal to Belief and Emotions    

        Use Concrete Language    

        Use Specific Examples and Illustrations    

        Use Narratives    

        Choose Words, Metaphors, and Analogies with Appropriate Connotations    

        Using Images for Emotional Appeal    

Examining Visual Arguments: Toyota Prius Ad  

Kairos: The Timeliness and Fitness of Arguments    

How Audience-Based Reasons Enhance Logos, Ethos, and Pathos  


Writing Assignment: Revising a Draft for Ethos, Pathos, and Audience-Based Reasons     


Responding to Objections and Alternative Views    

One-Sided, Multisided, and Dialogic Arguments    

Determining Your Audience’s Resistance to Your Views    

Appealing to a Supportive Audience: One-Sided Argument    

Appealing to a Neutral or Undecided Audience: Classical Argument    

        Summarizing Opposing Views    

        Refuting Opposing Views    

        Strategies for Rebutting Evidence    

        Conceding to Opposing Views    

Example of a Student Essay Using Refutation Strategy    

Marybeth Hamilton (student), From “First Place: A Healing School for Homeless Children”    

Appealing to a Resistant Audience: Dialogic Argument    

Delayed-Thesis Argument    

Ellen Goodman, Minneapolis Pornography Ordinance    

Rogerian Argument    


Writing Assignment: A Classical Argument or a Dialogic Argument Aimed at Conciliation    


David Langley (student), ”Half-Criminals” or Urban Athletes: A Plea for Fair Treatment of Skateboarders (A Classical Argument)    

Rebekah Taylor (student), A Letter to Jim (A Rogerian Argument)    


Part 3  Analyzing Arguments  


8  Analyzing Arguments Rhetorically  

Questions for Rhetorical Analysis  

An Illustration of Rhetorical Analysis    

*Kathryn Jean Lopez, Egg Heads  

A Rhetorical Analysis of “Egg Heads”  

Writing Assignment: A Rhetorical Analysis  

Generating Ideas for Your Rhetorical Analysis  

Organizing Your Rhetorical Analysis  


*Ellen Goodman, Womb for Rent–for a Price  

*Zachary Stumps (student), A Rhetorical Analysis of Ellen Goodman’s “Wombs for Rent–for a Price”  


Analyzing Visual Arguments    

Understanding Design Elements in Visual Argument    

        Use of Type    

        Use of Space or Layout    

        An Analysis of a Visual Argument Using Type and Spatial Elements    

Drug Enforcement Administration, “A Single Hit of Ecstasy ...” (advocacy advertisement)    

Common Sense for Drug Policy, “What We Know About Ecstasy” (advocacy advertisement)    

        Use of Color    

        Use of Images and Graphics    

An Analysis of a Visual Argument Using All the Design Components    

Save the Children, “She’s the Best Qualified Teacher for Her Children” (advocacy advertisement)    

 The Compositional Features of Photographs and Drawings    

An Analysis of a Visual Argument Using Images    

General Motors, “Introducing the Saturn VUE” (consumer advertisement)    

The Genres of Visual Argument    

        Posters and Fliers    

        Public Affairs Advocacy Advertisements          


        Web Pages    

Constructing Your Own Visual Argument    

Leah Johnson (student), “Drink and Then Drive? Jeopardize My Future?” (poster)   

Using Information Graphics in Arguments    

        How Tables Contain a Variety of Stories    

        Using a Graph to Tell a Story    

        Bar Graphs    

        Pie Charts    

        Line Graphs    

        Incorporating Graphics into Your Argument    

        Designing the Graphic    

        Numbering, Labeling, and Titling the Graphic    

        Referencing the Graphic in Your Text    


Writing Assignment: A Visual Argument Rhetorical Analysis, a Poster Argument, or a Microtheme Using Quantitative Graphics    


Part 4 Arguments in Depth: Six Types of Claims


10  An Introduction to the Types of Claims    

An Overview of the Types of Claims    

Using Claim Types to Focus an Argument and Generate Ideas: An Example    

        Making the Lasik Argument to Parents  

        Making the Lasik Argument to Insurance Companies 

Hybrid Arguments: How Claim Types Work Together in Arguments    

        Some Examples of Hybrid Arguments    

        An Extended Example of a Hybrid Argument    


Aaron Friedman, All That Noise for Nothing    


11  Definitional Arguments    

An Overview of Arguments about Definition    

The Rule of Justice: Things in the Same Category Should Be Treated the Same Way    

Types of Definitional Arguments 

        Simple Categorical Arguments    

        Definitional Arguments    

Examining Visual Arguments: Fascism Poster  

The Criteria-Match Structure of Definitional Arguments    

        Developing the Criteria-Match Structure for a Definitional Argument  

Toulmin Framework for a Definitional Argument  

Kinds of Definitions    

        Aristotelian Definitions    

        Operational Definitions    

Conducting the Criteria Part of a Definitional Argument    

        Approach 1: Research How Others Have Defined the Term    

        Approach 2: Create Your Own Extended Definition    

Conducting the Match Part of a Definitional Argument    

Writing Assignment: A Definitional Argument    

Exploring Ideas    

Identifying Your Audience and Determining What’s at Stake 

Organizing a Definitional Argument    

Revising Your Draft    

Questioning and Critiquing a Definitional Argument    


*Jenefer Domingo (student), Protecting Our Homes Can Lead to Animal Cruelty    

Kathy Sullivan (student), Oncore, Obscenity, and the Liquor Control Board    

*David Andriesen,  What Defines a Sport?  


12  Causal Arguments    

An Overview of Causal Arguments    

Kinds of Causal Arguments 

Toulmin Framework for a Causal Argument    

Examining Visual Arguments: Fast Food Spoof Ad   

Two Methods for Arguing That One Event Causes Another    

        First Method: Explain the Causal Mechanism Directly    

        Second Method: Infer Causal Links Using Inductive Reasoning    

Three Ways of Thinking Inductively    

Beware of Common Inductive Fallacies That Can Lead to Wrong Conclusions  

Glossary of Terms Encountered in Causal Arguments    

Writing Assignment: A Causal Argument    

Exploring Ideas    

Identifying Your Audience and Determining What’s at Stake   

Organizing a Causal Argument    

Questioning and Critiquing a Causal Argument    


*Julie Christianson (student), Why Lawrence Summers Was Wrong    

Olivia Judson, Different but (Probably) Equal    


13  Resemblance Arguments    

An Overview of Resemblance Arguments    

Toulmin Framework for a Resemblance Argument    

Arguments by Analogy  

        Using Undeveloped Analogies    

        Using Extended Analogies    

Arguments by Precedent    

Writing Assignment: A Resemblance Argument   

Exploring Ideas    

Identifying Your Audience and Determining What’s at Stake  

Organizing a Resemblance Argument    

Questioning and Critiquing a Resemblance Argument    


Megan Matthews (student), Whales Need Silence    

*Clay Bennett, Just Emancipated (editorial cartoon)    

*Beth Reis, Toon Offensive   

*American Association of University Professors, Football Coach Salaries     

Susan Brownmiller, From Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape    


14  Evaluation and Ethical Arguments  

An Overview of Evaluation Arguments    

Criteria-Match Structure of Categorical Evaluations    

Toulmin Framework for an Evaluation Argument  

Conducting a Categorical Evaluation Argument    

        Developing Your Criteria    

        Making Your Match Argument    

Examining Visual Arguments: Photo of The Daily Show Cast   

An Overview of Ethical Arguments    

        Major Ethical Systems    

        Consequences as the Base of Ethics 

        Principles as the Base of Ethics    

Conducting an Ethical Argument    

        Constructing a Principles-Based Argument    

        Constructing a Consequences-Based Argument    

Common Problems in Making Evaluation Arguments    

Writing Assignment: An Evaluation or Ethical Argument    

Exploring Ideas    

Organizing an Evaluation Argument    

Revising Your Draft    

Questioning and Critiquing an Evaluation Argument    

Critiquing an Ethical Argument    


Sam Isaacson (student), Would Legalization of Gay Marriage Be Good for the Gay Community?  

Tiffany Anderson (student), A Woman’s View of Hip-Hop 

Mike Luckovich, The Military’s Raising the Recruitment Age (editorial cartoon) 

David Holcberg, Human Organs for Sale?  


15  Proposal Arguments   

An Overview of Proposal Arguments    

The Structure of Proposal Arguments    

Toulmin Framework for a Proposal Argument  

Special Concerns for Proposal Arguments    

Developing a Proposal Argument    

        Convincing Your Readers That a Problem Exists    

        Showing the Specifics of Your Proposal    

        The Justification: Convincing Your Readers That Your Proposal Should Be Enacted    

Proposal Arguments as Advocacy Posters or Advertisements    

Examining Visual Arguments: An Advocacy Ad

Using the Claim-Type Strategy to Develop a Proposal Argument    

Using the “Stock Issues” Strategy to Develop a Proposal Argument    

Writing Assignment: A Proposal Argument     

Exploring Ideas    

Identifying Your Audience and Determining What’s at Stake  

Organizing a Proposal Argument    

Designing a One-Page Advocacy Advertisement    

Questioning and Critiquing a Proposal Argument    


Laurel Wilson (student), A Proposal to Provide Tips for Hosts at Stone’s End    

*Juan Vazquez (student), Why the United States Should Adopt Nuclear Power” (MLA-style research paper)    

Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, “More Kids Are Getting Brain Cancer. Why?” (advocacy advertisement)    

*Donald Shoup, “Gone Parkin’”    


Part 5    The Researched Argument  


16  Finding and Evaluating Sources    

Formulating a Research Question    

Understanding Differences in the Kinds of Sources    

        Books versus Periodicals versus Web Sites    

        Scholarly Books versus Trade Books    

        Scholarly Journals versus Magazines    

        Print Sources versus Cyberspace Sources    

Finding Books: Searching Your Library’s Online Catalog    

Finding Articles: Searching a Licensed Database    

        What Is a Licensed Database?    

        Keyword Searching    

        Illustration of a Database Search    

Finding Cyberspace Sources: Searching the World Wide Web    

        The Logic of the Internet    

        Using Web Search Engines    

        Determining Where You Are on the Web    

Reading Your Sources Rhetorically    

        Reading with Your Own Goals in Mind    

        Reading with Rhetorical Awareness    

        Taking Effective Notes    

Evaluating Sources    

        Angle of Vision    

        Degree of Advocacy    



Understanding the Rhetoric of Web Sites   

        The Web as a Unique Rhetorical Environment    

        Analyzing the Purpose of a Site and Your Own Research Purpose    

        Sorting Sites by Domain Type    

        Evaluating a Web Site    



17  Using, Citing, and Documenting Sources    

Using Sources for Your Own Purposes    

Creating Rhetorically Effective Attributive Tags    

        Using Attributive Tags to Separate Your Ideas from Your Source’s    

        Creating Attributive Tags to Shape Reader Response   

Working Sources into Your Own Prose    




Avoiding Plagiarism 

Understanding Parenthetical Citation Systems with Bibliographies    

Understanding MLA Style    

        The MLA Method of In-Text Citation    

        MLA Format for the “Works Cited” List    

MLA “Works Cited” Citations    

Student Example of an MLA-Style Research Paper    

Understanding APA Style    

        APA Method of In-Text Citation    

        APA Format for the “References” List    

APA “References” Citations    


Student Example of an APA-Style Research Paper    

Megan Matthews (student), “Sounding the Alarm: Navy Sonar and the Survival of Whales”    




One  Informal Fallacies    

The Problem of Conclusiveness in an Argument    

An Overview of Informal Fallacies    

    Fallacies of Pathos    

    Fallacies of Ethos    

    Fallacies of Logos    


Two  The Writing Community: Working in Groups  

From Conflict to Consensus: How to Get the Most Out of the Writing Community    

        Avoiding Bad Habits of Group Behavior    

        The Value of Group Work for Writers    

Forming Writing Communities: Skills and Roles    

        Working in Groups of Five to Seven People    

        Working in Pairs    

Group Project: Holding a “Norming Session” to Define “Good Argumentative Writing”    

“Bloody Ice”    

“RSS Should Not Provide Dorm Room Carpets”    

“Sterling Hall Dorm Food”    

“ROTC Courses Should Not Get College Credit”    

“Legalization of Prostitution”    


Part 6    An Anthology of Arguments


An Overview of the Anthology    

Guide Questions for the Analysis and Evaluation of Arguments    

List 1: Questions for Analyzing and Evaluating a Conversation    

List 2: Questions for Rhetorically Analyzing and Evaluating an Individual Argument    

List 3: Questions for Responding to a Reading and Forming Your Own Views    


*Web 2.0 and Online Identity    

*Bronwyn T. Williams, “Tomorrow Will Not Be Like Today”:Literacy and Identity in a World of Multiliteracies  

*Jeff Chu, You Wanna Take This Online?   

*John Seigenthaler, Sr.,  A False Wikipedia Biography  

*Alice Mathias,  The Fakebook Generation   

*Paul Noth, I Can’t Wait… (cartoon) 

*Dana L Fleming, Youthful Indiscretions: Should Colleges Protect Social Network Users from Themselves and Others?  

*Adam Sternbergh, Hey There, Lonelygirl  

*The Creators, A Message from the Creators 

*Yasuhide Fumoto, The Thinker, Reimagined (photograph)  


*Video Games and Their Influence  

*Iowa State University News Service, ISU Psychologists Publish Three New Studies on Violent Video Game Effects on Youth  

*Henry Jenkins, Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked  

*Malcolm Gladwell, Brain Candy: Is Pop Culture Dumbing Us Down or Smartening Us Up? 

*Michael Humphrey, For a Virtual Dose of Reality, a Different Kind of Video Game  

*ICED (I Can End Deportation) (video game screen capture)  

*William Lugo, Violent Video Games Recruit American Youth  


The News Media: Responsible Production, Responsible Consumption   

William Powers,“The Massless Media”    

*Yahoo! (Web page)  

*Dan Kennedy, Plugged In, Tuned Out: Young Americans are Embracing New Media but Failing to Develop an Appetite for News  

*Chris Shaw, Should Killers Be Given Air Time?  

*Daryl Cagle, Those Terrible Virginia Tech Cartoons  

Sydney H. Schanberg,Not a Pretty Picture   


*Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Accommodation and Change 

*Francisco X. Gaytán, Avary Carhill, and Carola Suárez-Orozco, Understanding and *Responding to the Needs of Newcomer Immigrant Youth and Families   

*Mitali Perkins, A Note to Young Immigrants  

*Maileen Hamto, Being American  

*Scarf Ace, Miss or Diss? 

*Fatemeh Fakhraie, “Scarfing It Down”

*Immigrant Youth: Changing a Nation  (Web site)  

*Jay Nordlinger, Bassackwards: Construction Spanish and Other Signs of the Times  


*Women in Math and Science

*Linda Chavez, Harvard prez's admission: Men and women are different   

*Brian McFadden, Amazing Facts About the Fairer, Yet Equal, Sex (comic strip)  

*Nature Neuroscience, Separating Science from Stereotype  

*Deborah Blum, Solving for X  

*Steven Pinker, The Science of Difference: Sex Ed  

*Ben A. Barres, Does Gender Matter?  

*David Malakoff, Girls = Boys at Math  


Finding Soldiers: The Volunteer Army, Recruitment, and the Draft    

Donald Rumsfeld, New Model Army    

Phillip Carter and Paul Glastris, The Case for the Draft     

*Selective Service System,  How the Draft Has Changed (Web page) 

Lawrence J. Korb and Sean E. Duggan, An All-Volunteer Army? Recruitment and its Problems 

*U.S. Department of Defense, “Heroes” (Web page) 

Louis Caldera,“Military Service”    

*(Army)Wife, “Stop-loss” 

Matt Carmody,“I Need You” (political cartoon)    


Wal-Mart and the Public Good    

*Arindrajit Dube, T. William Lester, and Barry Eidlin, A Downward Push: The Impact of Wal-Mart Stores on Retail Wages and Benefits 

*Dan Piraro, Bizarro, Greeter Gone Wild (political cartoon) 

Robert B. Reich, Don’t Blame Wal-Mart    

*Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (movie advertisement) 

Steve Maich, Why Wal-Mart Is Good     

*John Tierney, Shopping for a Nobel  

David Horsey,“A New World to Conquer” (political cartoon)    


*Energy: The Search for Sustainability  

*Nicholas Kristof, Our Gas Guzzlers, Their Lives  

*Andrew C. Revkin, Carbon-Neutral Is Hip, but Is It Green?  

*Gwyneth Cravens, Better Energy  

*Charles Krauthammer, Drill Locally, and Save the Planet  

*David Tilman and Jason Hill, Fuel for thought: All biofuels are not created equal  

*Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Two Ways to Show You Care About Our Forests  (advocacy ad)  

*Iain Murray, Time to Recycle Recycling?  

*Al Gore, Nobel Lecture  


Biotech Agriculture and the Ethics of Food Production    

Jonathan Rauch,Will Frankenfood Save the Planet?    

Council for Biotechnology Information,Would It Surprise You to Know that Growing Soybeans Can Help the Environment? (advocacy ad)   

Miguel A. Altieri and Peter Rosset,Ten Reasons Why Biotechnology Will Not Ensure Food Security, Protect the Environment, and Reduce Poverty in the Developing World    

 “Monsantoland” (poster)    

Gregory A. Jaffe,“Lessen the Fear of Genetically Engineered Crops”    

Froma Harrop,“Food Industry Should Modify Its Stance on Altered Food”,“What Is the FDA Trying to Feed Us?” (poster)    

Gerald D. Coleman,“Is Genetic Engineering the Answer to Hunger?”    


*Argument Classics  

*Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail  

*Garrett Hardin, Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Aid that Does Harm  

*Pablo Picasso, Guernica (painting)   

*Rachel Carson, The Obligation to Endure  

*Stanley Milgram, The Perils of Obedience  




*new reading or anthology unit

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