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500 words Description: Now that you can identify the origins

 500 words


Now that you can identify the origins of western rhetorical tradition and began mapping a definition for what argument is, we’re now going to move into the individual components of composing argument. Think of this week as an exercise of “connecting and reconnecting” the dots of how minds are changes and perceptions are moved.

How do you persuade others? What is the rhetorical situation and is it always stable? What appeals work best when you are talking across difference or when you are trying to persuade others? All of these questions will be addressed this week along with strategies for avoiding fallacious arguments.

Module Objectives: 

  1. Explore dialogic argument through different rhetorical modes 
  2. Identify the Rhetorical Situation (e.g. speaker, audience, message) 
  3. Classify the features and technical structure of the six core argument types and understand how claim types function together in hybrid argument

Chapter Readings: 

  • Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing 2e, Issue 1: Argument Beyond Pro-Con p. 153-169
  • Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings 11e, 
    • Chapter 2: The Core of an Argument: A Claim with Reason p. 17-30
    • Chapter 3: The Logical Structure: Logos p. 32-51
    • Chapter 5: Moving Your Audience: Ethos, Pathos, and Kairos p. 67-75
    • Appendix: Informal Fallacies p. 397-403


You are expected to read all of the assigned readings before posting on the discussion boards. You may respond to questions posted by the instructor or any student but posts need to be closely related to readings and posted in a timely manner. Post Initial responses and peer responses in a timely manner, responding to instructor discussion threads/prompts or posting uniquely generated content. 

Initial Post:

Instructor Prompt #1: Using Toulmin to Inform Argument

Some students find Stephen Toulmin hard to grasp at first but he is just another rhetorician trying to map the ways we formulate argument. The relationship between Enthymeme (claim + reason), Assumption, Grounds, Warrant, Backing, and Rebuttal is one of many ways we can understand argument. Drawing upon the activity on p. 50 of your textbook, I want you to practice Toulmin’s argument structure.

Step 1. Choose one of the following Enthymemes at random. Then write a passage that provides grounds to support the reason. Use details from personal experience or imagine plausible, hypothetical details. These details do not have to reflect how you feel about the topic nor be “factual/real” evidence you found, this is just an exercise. 

  1. Claim: Web surfing or checking social media can be harmful to college students Reason: because it wastes study time.
  2. Claim Getting one’s news from social media undermines informed citizenship Reason: because social media tend to sensationalize news events.
  3. Claim: The university’s decision to raise parking fees for solo drivers is a good environmental plan Reason: because it encourages students to use public transportation. 

Step 2. Now create an argument backing to support the warrant for the reason you chose in step 1. The warrants for each of the arguments are stated below. 

  1. Support this warrant: Wasting study time is harmful for college students. 
  2. Support this warrant: Sensationalizing of the news is harmful to citizens’ understanding. 
  3. Support this warrant: It is good for the environment to encourage students to use public transportation.

Instructor Prompt #2: How are Minds Changed?

Our reading this week introduced us to the various ways rhetoricians move people and change minds. One way to understand this process is by strategically utilizing the main three rhetorical appeals (e.g. logos, pathos, ethos). I want you to briefly define each of the three rhetorical appeals, citing our chapter readings, and provide an original example of each appeal.

Next, I want to think of a time your mind was changed. This could be a time where someone moved you to see a situation from another perspective. Maybe it was the time someone convinced you who to vote for or what brand to stop buying. Maybe it was the time someone persuaded you to change your attitude about something. In at least one paragraph, describe the situation and what strategies were used to change your mind. What moved you to change your mind? Thinking back on the situation, can you point to one of the rhetorical appeals?

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