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- 4.1: The Topics of Argumentation
- All of us have been in a situation where halfway into the argument we don't know what we were arguing about in the first place; or we’ve started an argument over one specific point, and wound up arguing about two, three, or four different things. Losing focus is easy if the parties involved in the argument are not clear as to the exact topic of the argument, or if each is advocating a different topic.
- 4.2: Defining a Claim
- Claims represent both the starting point and the ending point of an argument. That is, a Claim is advanced by an advocate to promote an argument. It is that same claim that will end up being accepted or rejected at the end of the argument. A Claim is the main point, the thesis, and the controlling idea. You can find the Claim by asking the question, "What is the advocate trying to prove?"
- 4.3: Characteristics of a Claim
- The goal of a claim is to promote a pro versus con debate-style environment. Claims often emerge as a result of a discussion, where many points of view are presented.
- 4.4: Types of Claims
- There are three types of claims: claims of fact, claims of value, and claims of policy. Each type of claim focuses on a different aspect of a topic. To best participate in an argument, it is beneficial to understand the type of claim that is being argued.
- 4.5: The Argumentative Burdens
- There are two sides to an argument, the pro-side and con-side. Now we are going to look at the responsibilities or burdens of each side. The argumentative burden describes the responsibilities of each participant of the argument. The person speaking in favor of the claim or promoting the claim has different responsibilities in an argument than the person speaking against the claim and defending the current situation.
- 4.6: There Are No Ties In An Argument
- Having two sides to an argument makes us realize that there are no ties in an argument. You either agree with the claim, or you disagree with the claim. But where do you start? You either stick with the status quo, the current situation, or you change to the new position suggested by the claim.
- 4.7: Manipulation by Reversing the Burdens
- Understanding the claim and burdens of an argument make it more difficult to be manipulated by others.
- 4.8: Fake News Stories and Manipulation of Burdens
- Remember the rule, “He who asserts must prove.” According to the burdens of argumentation, it is the burden of the person advocating a claim to prove that claim. One way to not be fooled by fake news is to refuse to accept the switching of burdens. The person advocating the claim or “news story” has the obligation to prove it. Until that time, the claim being made should be rejected.
- 4.9: We Want to Believe
- Part of our perception process is that we process cognitions and information that is consistent to our currently held beliefs. This allows us to maintain our stasis, our relaxed state, and be comfortable. No matter what your political beliefs, allow yourself a level of discomfort by challenging your views with seemingly contradictive views.
- 4.10: The “Magic” of the Internet
- A properly worded claim, one that is appropriate to the argumentative environment, can become the basis for successful conflict resolution. Without an appropriately structured claim, critical thinkers will find their arguments dissolving into bickering, quarreling or destructive fighting. It is not an understatement to say that good, effective and potentially successful argumentation must begin with a mutually acceptable and correctly stated claim.
- 4.11: The Focus of This Chapter
- Good critical thinkers, those who desire constructive conflict resolution, need to focus their argument around a clear, correctly worded claim.