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Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings, Brief Edition, 9th Edition

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

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Oct 7, 2011


The market-leading guide to arguments, Writing Arguments, Brief edition, 9/e,  has proven highly successful in teaching readers to read arguments critically and to produce effective arguments of their own. The text teaches how to write better arguments, and how to research for arguments.

Table of Contents




Part One  Overview of Argument  


1  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: Ban AB 1108”   

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 a Formal Exploratory Essay   

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


Part Two   Writing an Argument   


3  The Core of an Argument: A Claim with Reasons   

The Classical Structure of 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   

            Pseudo-Arguments: Fanatical Believers and Fanatical Skeptics   

            Another Source of Pseudo-Arguments: Lack of Shared Assumptions   

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   


4  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 Core of an Argument: The Enthymeme   

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   


Writing Assignment: Plan of an Argument’s Details   


5  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: Angle of Vision   

            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 a Supporting-Reasons Argument   

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


6  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 Beliefs and Emotions   

            Use Concrete Language   

            Use Specific Examples and Illustrations   

            Use Narratives   

            Use Words, Metaphors, and Analogies with Appropriate Connotations   

            Use Images for Emotional Appeal   

Kairos: The Timeliness and Fitness of Arguments    

Examining Visual Arguments: Logos, Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos   

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


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


7  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 as Both Exploration and Persuasion   

*Ross Douthat, “Islam in Two Americas”   

Writing a Delayed Thesis Argument   

A More Open Ended Approach: Rogerian Argument   

            Rogerian Argument as Growth for the Writer   

            Rogerian Argument as Collaborative Negotiation   

            Writing a Rogerian Argument   

*Colleen Fontana, “An Open Letter to Robert Levy in Response to His Article ‘They Never Learn’”   


Writing Assignment: A Classical Argument or a Rogerian Letter   

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 Three   Analyzing Arguments   


8   Analyzing Arguments Rhetorically   

Thinking Rhetorically about a Text   

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 ‘Womb For Rent—For a Price’”   


9  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   

            Use of Color   

            Use of Images and Graphics   

An Analysis of a Visual Argument Using All the Design Components   

The Compositional Features of Photographs and Drawings   

An Analysis of a Visual Argument Using Images   

The Genres of Visual Argument   

            Posters and Fliers   

            Public Affairs Advocacy Advertisements   


            Web Pages   

Constructing Your Own Visual Argument   

Using Information Graphics in Arguments   

            How Tables Contain a Variety of Stories   

            Using a Graph to Tell a Story   

            Incorporating Graphics into Your Argument   


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


Part Four  Arguments in Depth: 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 and Resemblance Arguments   

An Overview of Definition or Resemblance Arguments

Consequences of Categorical Claims     

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: A Definitional Claim   

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   

Types of  Resemblance Arguments

            Toulmin Framework for a Resemblance Argument   

            Arguments by Analogy  

            Arguments by Precedent 

Writing Assignment: A Definitional Argument   

            Exploring Ideas   

            Identifying Your Audience and Determining What’s at Stake   

            Organizing a Definitional Argument   

            Questioning and Critiquing a Definitional Argument   

*Arthur Knopf (Student), “Is Milk a Health Food?” 

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

Clay Bennett, “Just Emancipated” (editorial cartoon)   

Beth Reis, “Toon Offensive”   


12  Causal Arguments   

An Overview of Causal Arguments   

            Kinds of Causal Arguments   

            Toulmin Framework for a Causal Argument   

Two Methods for Arguing That One Event Causes Another   

            First Method: Explain the Causal Mechanism Directly   

Examining Visual Arguments: A Causal Claim   

            Second Method: Infer Causal Links Using Inductive Reasoning   

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   

Julee Christianson (student), “Why Lawrence Summers Was Wrong: Culture Rather Than Biology Explains the Underrepresentation of Women in Science and Mathematics” (APA-format research paper)       

Olivia Judson, “Different but (Probably) Equal”   

Carlos Macias (Student), “‘The Credit Card Company Made Me Do It!’—The Credit Card Industry’s Role in Causing Student Debt”   


13        Evaluation and Ethical Arguments    

An Overview of Evaluation Arguments   

            Criteria-Match Structure of Categorical Evaluations   

            Toulmin Framework for an Evaluation Argument   

Constructing a Categorical Evaluation Argument   

            Developing Your Criteria   

            Making Your Match Argument   

Examining Visual Arguments: An Evaluation Claim   

An Overview of Ethical Arguments   

            Major Ethical Systems   

                        Consequences as the Base of Ethics   

                        Principles as the Base of Ethics   

Constructing 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   

            Identifying Your Audience and Determining What’s at Stake   

            Organizing an Evaluation Argument   

            Questioning and Critiquing a Categorical Evaluation Argument   

            Critiquing an Ethical Argument   

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

*Christopher Moore (student), “Information Plus Satire”   

*Adey Bryant, “Well, It Bloody Wasn’t There Last Year!” (editorial cartoon)   

*Christian Longo, “Giving Life after Death Row”   

*Kenneth Prager, “A Death Row Donation of Organs?”   


14  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   

Using the Claim-Types Strategy to Develop a Proposal Argument   

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

Examining Visual Arguments: A Proposal Claim   

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   

            Designing PowerPoint Slides or Other Visual Aids for a Speech   

            Questioning and Critiquing a Proposal Argument   

*Megan Johnson (student), “A Proposal to Eliminate Gender Bias in Meal Plans”   

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

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

*Sandy Wainscott (student), “Why MacDonalds Should Sell Meat and Veggie Pies” (speech with PowerPoint slides)   

*Marcel Dicke and Arnold Van Huis, “The Six-Legged Meat of the Future”  


Part 5  The Researched Argument  


15  Finding and Evaluating Sources   

Formulating a Research Question instead of a “Topic” 

Thinking Rhetorically about Kinds of Sources 

            Degree of Editorial Review 

            Degree of Stability 

            Degree of Advocacy 

            Degree of Authority 

Searching Libraries, Databases, and Web Sites 

            Checking Your Library’s Home Page 

            Finding Articles in Magazines, News Sources, and Scholarly Journals: Searching a Licensed Database 

            Finding Cyberspace Sources: Searching the World Wide Web 

Evaluating Your Sources by Reading Rhetorically 

            Reading with Your Own Goals in Mind 

            Reading with Rhetorical Awareness 

            Taking Purposeful Notes 

            Evaluating Sources 



16  Incorporating Souces into Your Own Argument   

Using Sources for Your Own Purposes   

            Writer 1: A Causal Argument Showing Alternative Approaches to Reducing Risk of Alcoholism  

            Writer 2: A Proposal Argument Advocating Vegetarianism   

            Writer 3: An Evaluation Argument Looking Skeptically at Vegetarianism  

Using Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation   




                        Quoting a Complete Sentence   

                        Quoting Words and Phrases   

                        Modifying a Quotation   

                        Omitting Something from a Quoted Passage  

                        Quoting Something that Contains a Quotation  

                        Using a Block Quotation for a Long Passage  

Creating Rhetorically Effective Attributive Tags   

            Attributive Tags versus Parenthetical Citations  

            Creating Attributive Tags to Shape Reader Response   

Avoiding Plagiarism   

            Why Some Kinds of Plagiarism May Occur Unwittingly   

            Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism   


17  Citing and Documenting Sources  

The Connection between In-text Citations and the End-of-Paper List of Cited Works   

MLA Style   

In-text Citations in  MLA Style   

            When to Use Page Numbers in In-text Citations

Works Cited List in MLA Style  

MLA Citation Models   

MLA-Style Research Paper   

APA Style   

In-Text Citations in APA Style    

References List in APA Style

APA Citation Models

APA-Style Research Paper 



Appendix: Informal Fallacies    

The Problem of Conclusiveness in an Argument   

An Overview of Informal Fallacies   

Fallacies of Pathos   

Fallacies of Ethos   

Fallacies of Logos   





*new readings