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Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings, Concise Edition, MLA Update Edition, 7th Edition

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

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jul 13, 2016


For courses in Argument and Research.
This version of Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings, Concise has been updated the reflect the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook (April 2016) * 

Teach students to read arguments critically and to produce effective arguments
Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings, Concise Edition, Seventh Edition integrates four different approaches to argument: the enthymeme as a logical structure, the classical concepts of logos, pathos, and ethos, the Toulmin system, and stasis theory. Focusing on argument as dialogue in search of solutions instead of a pro-con debate with winners and losers, it is consistently praised for teaching the critical-thinking skills needed for writing arguments. Major assignment chapters each focus on one or two classical stases (e.g. definition, resemblance, causal, evaluation, and policy). Each concept is immediately reinforced with discussion prompts, and each chapter ends with multiple comprehensive writing assignments.  This concise version contains all of chapters in the Brief Edition, but excludes some sections and exercises to increase savings. Also available in a Comprehensive version (032190673X) and a Brief version (0321964276).

*The 8th edition introduces sweeping changes to the philosophy and details of MLA works cited entries. Responding to the “increasing mobility of texts,” MLA now encourages writers to focus on the process of crafting the citation, beginning with the same questions for any source. These changes, then, align with current best practices in the teaching of writing which privilege inquiry and critical thinking over rote recall and rule-following.

Table of Contents



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

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   


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 

Reading Texts Rhetorically    

Genres of Argument    

Authorial Purpose and Audience        

Determining Degree of Advocacy    

Reading to Believe an Argument’s Claims      

JAMES SUROWIECKI, “The Pay Is Too Damn Low”   

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

MICHAEL SALTSMAN, “To Help the Poor, Move Beyond ‘Minimum’ Gestures”         

Three Ways to Foster Dialectic Thinking                    

Writing Assignment: An Argument Summary or a Formal Exploratory Essay               

TRUDIE MAKENS (STUDENT), “Should Fast-Food Workers Be Paid $15 per Hour?”  




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: Committed Believers and Fanatical Skeptics      

A Closer Look at Pseudo-Arguments: The 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   

The Power of Audience-Based Reasons         

Adopting a Language for Describing Arguments: The Toulmin System         

Using Toulmin’s Schema to Plan and Test Your Argument    

Hypothetical Example: Cheerleaders as Athletes       

Extended Student Example: Girls and Violent Video Games 

The Thesis-Governed “Self-Announcing” Structure of Classical Argument     

Writing Assignment: Plan of an Argument’s Details


5          Using Evidence Effectively   

Kinds of Evidence      

The Persuasive Use of Evidence        

Apply the STAR Criteria to Evidence 

Establish a Trustworthy Ethos  

Be Mindful of a Source’s Distance from Original Data

Rhetorical Understanding 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  

Creating a Plan for Gathering Evidence         

Writing Assignment: A Supporting-Reasons Argument


6          Moving Your Audience: Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos 

Logos, 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

Kairos: The Timeliness and Fitness of Arguments       

Using Images to Appeal to Logos, Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos 

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

How Audience-Based Reasons Appeal to Logos, Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos               

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

TRUDIE MAKENS (STUDENT), “Bringing Dignity to Workers: Make the Minimum Wage a Living Wage”       

Appealing to a Resistant Audience: Dialogic Argument         

Creating a Dialogic Argument with a Delayed Thesis 

Writing a Delayed-Thesis Argument    

A More Open-Ended Approach: Rogerian Communication    

Rogerian Communication as Growth for the Writer     

Rogerian Communication as Collaborative Negotiation         

Writing Rogerian Communication 

COLLEEN FONTANA (STUDENT), “An Open Letter to Robert Levy in Response to His Article ‘They Never Learn’ ”  


Writing Assignment: A Classical Argument or a Rogerian Letter         


LAUREN SHINOZUKA (STUDENT), “The Dangers of Digital Distractedness” (A Classical Argument)  




8. Analyzing Arguments Rhetorically

Thinking Rhetorically about a Text

Questions for Rhetorical Analysis

Conducting a Rhetorical Analysis


Our Own 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  

The Components of Visual Design • An Analysis of a Visual Argument Using Type and Spatial Elements    

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 




10        An Introduction to the Types of Claims          

The Types of Claims and Their Typical Patterns of Development      

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

Writer 1: Ban E-Cigarettes       

Writer 2: Promote E-Cigarettes as a Preferred Alternative to Real Cigarettes  

Writer 3: Place No Restrictions on E-Cigarettes          

Hybrid Arguments: How Claim Types Work Together in Arguments     

Some Examples of Hybrid Arguments 

An Extended Example of a Hybrid Argument 

ALEX HUTCHINSON, “Pounding Pills: Your Daily Multivitamin May Be Doing More Harm Than Good”        


11        Definition and Resemblance Arguments       

What Is at Stake in a Categorical Argument? 

Consequences Resulting from Categorical Claims     

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

Types of Categorical Arguments         

Simple Categorical Arguments           

Definition Arguments  

Resemblance Argument Using Analogy         

Resemblance Arguments Using Precedent     

The Criteria-Match Structure of Definition Arguments

Overview of Criteria-Match Structure

Toulmin Framework for a Definition Argument

Creating Criteria Using Aristotelian Definition

Creating Criteria Using an Operational Definition

Conducting the Match Part of a Definition Argument

Idea-Generating Strategies for Creating Your Own Criteria-Match Argument 

Strategy 1: Research How Others Have Defined the Term      

Strategy 2: Create Your Own Extended Definition      

Writing Assignment: A Definition Argument    

Exploring Ideas           

Identifying Your Audience and Determining What’s at Stake  

Organizing a Definition Argument      

Questioning and Critiquing a Definition Argument     

Writing Assignment

ALEX MULLEN (STUDENT), “A Pirate But Not a Thief: What Does ‘Stealing’ Mean in a Digital Environment?”        


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

Second Method: Infer Causal Links Using Inductive Reasoning         

Examining Visual Arguments: A Causal Claim           

Key Terms and Inductive Fallacies in Causal Arguments       

A Glossary of Key Terms

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)       


13        Evaluation and Ethical Arguments   

An Overview of Categorical Ethical Evaluation Arguments    

Constructing a Categorical Evaluation Argument       

Criteria-Match Structure of Categorical Evaluations   

Developing Your Criteria    

Making Your Match Argument

Constructing an Ethical Evaluation Argument

Consequences as the Base of Ethics  

Principles as the Base of Ethics          

Example Ethical Arguments Examining Capital Punishment 

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       

LORENA MENDOZA-FLORES (STUDENT), “Silenced and Invisible: Problems of Hispanic Students at Valley High School”

JUDITH DAAR AND EREZ ALONI, “Three Genetic Parents—For One Healthy Baby”  


14        Proposal Arguments  

The Special Features and Concerns of Proposal Arguments  

Practical Proposals versus Policy Proposals   

Toulmin Framework for a Proposal Argument 

Special Concerns for Proposal Arguments      

Examining Visual Arguments: A Proposal Claim        

Developing a Proposal Argument       

Convincing Your Readers that a Problem Exists         

Showing the Specifics of Your Proposal         

Convincing Your Readers that the Benefits of Your Proposal Outweigh the Costs      

Using Heuristic Strategies to Develop Supporting Reasons for Your Proposal 

The “Claim Types” Strategy    

The “Stock Issues” Strategy     

Proposal Arguments as Advocacy Posters or Advertisements  

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 Poster or Advertisement     

Designing PowerPoint Slides or Other Visual Aids for a Speech        

Questioning and Critiquing a Proposal Argument 

IVAN SNOOK (STUDENT), “Flirting with Disaster: An Argument Against Integrating Women into the Combat Arms” (MLA-format research paper)    

SANDY WAINSCOTT (STUDENT), “Why McDonald’s Should Sell Meat and Veggie Pies: A


Appendix 1: Informal Fallacies    

Fallacies of Pathos    

Fallacies of Ethos    

Fallacies of Logos    


Appendix 2: A Concise Guide to Evaluating, Using, and Documenting Sources    

Evaluating Your Sources by Reading Rhetorically    

Reading with Your Own Goals in Mind

Reading with Rhetorical Awareness

Taking Purposeful Notes

Evaluating Sources    

Using Sources for Your Own Purposes    

Using Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation    




Creating Attributive Tags to Indicate Use of a Source   

Avoiding Plagiarism    

Why Some Plagiarism May Occur Unwittingly

Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism 

Citing Sources in Your Text in MLA Style    

Documenting Sources in a “Works Cited” List (MLA)    

Student Example of an MLA-Style Research Paper    

Citing Sources in Your Text in APA Style    

Documenting Sources in a “References” List (APA)    

Student Example of an APA-Style Research Paper    

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