Understand and Apply

Many people including myself are never really sure what an argument is and according to Practical Argument: A text and Anthology by Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell it is easier to know what it is by explaining what it is not. They said, “An argument (at least an academic argument) is not a quarrel…argument is also not a spin…or propoganda.” A quarrel is basically you attacking those who disagree or trying to beat them into submission (and when I say attack and beat I mean with your words). Spin is “the positive or biased slant that politicians routinely put on facts.” And propaganda is information or misinformation spread to support a particular viewpoint.

Comparing those three things and seeing how they are similar; you understand that when writing or presenting an argument you don’t only present your side and be done with it. But what exactly does knowing that an argument is not spin, a quarrel, or propaganda show us? Well all three of those things show a push for one’s own side which tells us that in an argument not only should you establish your own views on the subject (and present evidence) but also do the research and show all sides of the argument.

When arguing a side you don’t necessarily have to make the audience agree with you either. The reason you don’t is because an argument never actually proves anything all you’re really trying to do is get others to accept the validity of your position.

My knowing this information will be extremely helpful for me when it comes to writing an argument. You can’t disregard the other side or sides of the argument completely because if the reader is as informed as you are on the topic then they’ll either be confused or have no choice but to agree with you. I feel the purpose of an academic argument is to get others thinking about topics and informing them and then just doing your best to make them see you position on it.



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