Elements of Argument A Text and Reader

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  • Edition: 12th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-12-08
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Elements of Argument teaches students how to approach, develop, and defend arguments one element at a time. This comprehensive, accessible text carefully scaffolds argument for students, explaining approaches to argumentation (including Aristotelian, Toulmin, and Rogerian models as well as Stasis Theory questions), critical reading, and argument analysis. The major components of argumentation—claims, support, assumptions, logic—are explained in depth, and a robust research section shows students how to find, incorporate, and build on existing arguments. This Twelfth Edition has also been updated with more sourced readings than ever before, further reinforcing the importance of research and synthesis. Finally, the anthology includes debates and casebooks on unsettled current issues as well as timeless, classic arguments, making Elements of Argument a comprehensive resource for the argument classroom.

Elements of Argument is also available with LaunchPad Solo for Readers and Writers. By combining formative and summative assessments with opportunities to study, practice, and review specific skills, LaunchPad Solo for Readers and Writers provides instructors with a quick and flexible solution for targeting instruction on critical reading, the writing process, grammar, mechanics, style, and punctuation based on students’ unique needs. Students will gain confidence by working through sequenced units that guide them from concept to mastery. At home or in class, students learn at their own pace, with instruction tailored to individual learners.

Table of Contents

PART ONE Understanding Argument

1 Approaches to Argument

What Is Argument?

Aristotelian Rhetoric




Research Skill Using Databases

Ancient Rhetoric Today

Argument Essentials Aristotelian Rhetoric


Richard J. Davis, In Gun Control Debate, Logic Goes out the Window

The Shelter Pet Project, A Person Is the Best Thing to Happen to a Shelter Pet (advertisement)

Liza Long, I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother

Stasis Theory

The Stasis Questions


Stasis Theory Claims

Rogerian Argument

Argument Essentials Rogerian Argument


Julia Belluz and Steven J. Hoffman, Katie Couric and the Celebrity Medicine Syndrome

*Sarah Seltzer, Teaching Trigger Warnings: What Pundits Don’t Understand about the Year’s Most Controversial Higher-Ed Debate

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, Warning: College Students, This Editorial May Upset You

The Toulmin Model

The Claim

The Support

The Assumption

Toulmin and the Syllogism

Argument Essentials The Toulmin Model


Robert J. Samuelson, In Health, We’re Not No. 1

Steven Reinberg, Embryo Selection May Help Prevent Some Inherited Disorders

Assignments for Understanding Approaches to Argument

2 Critical Reading of Written Arguments


Strategies for Prereading


Carol Rose, On Pins and Needles Defending Artistic Expression

Amin Ahmad, I Belong Here

Reading for Content and Structure

Working with the Text

Strategies for Annotating a Text


Christopher Elliott, A Tale of Two Airlines


Research Skill Summarizing

Strategies for Writing Rhetorical Summaries


Mallory Simon, Gun Debate: Where Is the Middle Ground?

Stephanie Fairyington, The Gay Option


Strategies for Evaluating Arguments

Argument Essentials Examining Written Arguments


Bruce Schneier, The Internet Is a Surveillance State

Whitney Cramer, Giving Up Our Privacy: Is It Worth It? (student essay)

Assignments for Examining Written Arguments

3 Critical Reading of Multimodal Arguments

Visual Rhetoric



Dave Martin, Looting (photograph)

Chris Graythen, Finding (photograph)

Rick Loomis, Los Angeles Airport Police Remove the Camouflaged Gun Case That Caused the Evacuation (photograph)

Charlie Riedel, Rio Olympics Refugees (photograph)

Dinendra Haria, Hey Mister! Hands Off My Sister! (photograph)

Michael Krasowitz, Texting and Driving (photograph)

Print Advertisements

Argument Essentials Visual Rhetoric


World Wildlife Fund, Stop Climate Change before It Changes You (advertisement)

Ad Council, It Only Takes a Moment to Make a Moment (advertisement)

Political Cartoons


Peter Steiner, No Caption (cartoon)

David Sipress, If One Political Party or the Other . . . (cartoon)


READING ARGUMENT, Tobacco’s Shifting Burden (infographic)

Union of Concerned Scientists, Where Your Gas Money Goes (infographic)

Audiovisual Rhetoric

Television Commercials


Toyota, Let’s Go Places (advertisement)

Speeches and Debates


Elizabeth Warren, Remarks at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, September 27, 2015

Broadcast News

Strategies for Critical Listening


CNN Correspondents, Coverage of Obama’s Announcement in Support of Gay Marriage

Argument Essentials Audiovisual Rhetoric

Online Environments

Networking Sites

Argument Essentials Online Environments


William Wharton, "Peaceful" Act of Compassion

Online News and Blogs


Luke T. Harrington, Summer Shootings, Pokemon Go: Rebuilding Community in the Wake of Destruction (online blog)

Visual Lectures

Research Skill Evaluating Online Sources

Interactive Web Sites


Ad Council,

Assignments for Examining Multimodal Arguments

4 Writing Argument Analysis

Argument Essentials Writing Argument Analysis

Argument Essentials Writing the Claim

Planning the Structure

Argument Essentials Planning the Structure

Providing Support




Argument Essentials Providing Support

Research Skill Incorporating Quotations into Your Text

Documenting Your Sources

Writer’s Guide Documenting Use of Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation


Michael Isikoff, The Snitch in Your Pocket

Ray Chong, Misuse of Cell-Phone Tracking (student essay)

DeRon Williamson, How Our Technology Is Used against Us (student essay)

Robert D. Stuart, Social Media: Establishing Criteria for Law Enforcement Use

Healthcare Management, The Science Facts about Autism and Vaccines (infographic)

James W. Ingram III, Electoral College Is Best Way to Choose U. S. President

Assignments for Responding to Arguments

5 Writing Arguments

Organizing the Argument

Defending the Thesis

Refuting an Opposing View


Sharon Astyk and Aaron Newton, The Rich Get Richer, the Poor Go Hungry

Strategies for Refuting an Opposing View

Finding the Middle Ground


Damon Linker, Finding the Moral, Sensible Middle Ground on Abortion

Strategies for Finding the Middle Ground

Presenting the Stock Issues


John R. Koza, States Can Reform Electoral College--Here's How to Empower Popular Vote


Writing the Introduction

Writing the Conclusion

Argument Essentials Writing Arguments

Assignments for Writing Arguments

PART TWO Analyzing the Elements

6 Claims

Claims of Fact

Argument Essentials Claims of Fact

Research Skill Identifying Your Sources


Josh Levs, Loaded Language Poisons Gun Debate

Claims of Value



Argument Essentials Claims of Value


Samuel Chi, The NFL's Protest Crisis

Justin Chang, Grace Shines Past the Emotional Manipulations of "The Light between Oceans"

Claims of Policy

Argument Essentials Claims of Policy


Elisha Dov Hack, College Life versus My Moral Code

Kiara Ventura, Your Toxic Beauty Regime

Writer’s Guide Stating Your Claim

Assignments for Claims: Making a Statement

7 Support

Writer’s Guide Using Support


Factual Evidence


Tulsa Police Department, Police Shootings – Medical Help (photo)

Research Skill Evaluating Evidence

Argument Essentials Evidence


Sid Kirchheimer, Are Sports Fans Happier?

Kristen Weinacker, Safer? Tastier? More Nutritious? The Dubious Merits of Organic Foods (student essay)

Siddhartha Mukherjee, I’m Sorry, Steve Jobs: We Could Have Saved You

Appeals to Needs and Values

Appeals to Needs

Appeals to Values

Research Skill Evaluating Appeals to Needs and Values

Argument Essentials Appeals to Needs and Values


Ronald M. Green, Building Baby from the Genes Up

Jeremy Markel, Marketing to "Tweens" Objectifies Women

Assignments for Support: Backing Up a Claim

8 Assumptions

General Principles

Widely Held Assumptions

Recognizing and Analyzing Assumptions

Unstated Assumptions

Strategies for Recognizing Assumptions


Terry Eastland, Don’t Stop Frisking

Research Skill Finding and Narrowing a Research Topic


Michael Levin, The Case for Torture

Robert A. Sirico, An Unjust Sacrifice

Assignments for Assumptions

PART THREE Using the Elements

9 Definition: Clarifying Key Terms

The Purposes of Definition

Argument Essentials Purposes of Definition


Sunnivie Brydum, The True Meaning of "Cisgender"

Guy-Uriel Charles, Stop Calling Quake Victims Looters

Defining the Terms in Your Argument

The Limitations of Dictionary Definitions

Stipulation and Negation: Stating What a Term Is and Is Not

Defining Vague and Ambiguous Terms

Research Skill Using Encyclopedias

Definition by Example

Argument Essentials Defining the Terms in Your Argument

Writing Extended Definitions

Writer’s Guide Writing a Definition Essay


Brian Whitaker, The Definition of Terrorism

Ishmeal Bradley, Conscientious Objection in Medicine: A Moral Dilemma

Assignments for Definition: Clarifying Key Terms

10 Language: Using Words with Care

The Power of Words


Stihl, Consumer Confidence (advertisement)



Frank Deford, Why Keep Athletes Eligible but Uneducated?

Steven Best, Dispatches from a Police State: Animal Rights in the Crosshairs of State Repression


Research Skill Evaluating Language in Sources

Figurative Language


M. D. Anderson, Arming Teachers: A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea

Concrete and Abstract Language




Writer’s Guide Choosing Your Words Carefully

Argument Essentials Evaluating Language


Jennifer Grossman, Food for Thought (and for Credit)

Barack Obama, Remarks by the President at Memorial Service for Fallen Dallas Police Officers

Assignments for Language: Using Words with Care

11 Logic: Understanding Reasoning


Argument Essentials Induction


Jared Diamond, Will Big Business Save the Earth?


Argument Essentials Deduction


David von Drehle, It’s All about Him

Hillary Clinton, Excerpt from Remarks at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Women and the Economy Summit

Research Skill Identifying Reliable Authorities

Common Fallacies

Hasty Generalization

Faulty Use of Authority

Post Hoc or Doubtful Cause

False Analogy

Ad Hominem

False Dilemma

Slippery Slope

Begging the Question

Straw Man

Red Herring

Two Wrongs Make a Right

Non Sequitur

Ad Populum

Appeal to Tradition

Strategies for Uncovering Logical Fallacies


Christopher Caldwell, Drivers Get Rolled

Elizabeth Lee Vliet,"Gender Neutral" Bathrooms Are Dangerous

Assignments for Logic: Understanding Reasoning

PART FOUR Researching and Crafting Arguments

12 Planning and Research

Finding an Appropriate Topic

Invention Strategies

Evaluating Possible Topics

WRITER’S GUIDE Effective Research Paper Topics

Initiating Research

Keeping Research on Track

Writer’s Guide Keeping Your Research on Track

Research Skill What Is Common Knowledge?

Sketching a Preliminary Outline

Types of Sources

Research Skill Popular vs. Scholarly Articles

Finding Sources



Statistical Resources

Government Resources

Web-Based Sources

Multimodal Sources

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources for Relevance

Evaluating Sources for Reliability

Research Skill Evaluating Web-Based Sources

Research Skill Evaluating Multimodal Sources

Argument Essentials Evaluating Sources


United States Department of Agriculture, Child Nutrition Programs

Taking Notes

Note Taking and Prewriting

Working with Your Outline

Managing and Documenting Sources

Argument Essentials Taking Notes


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Childhood Obesity: The Challenge

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, To Curb School Lunch Waste, Ease the Fruit and Vegetable Rules

13 Drafting, Revising, and Presenting Arguments

Reviewing Your Research

Research Skill Reviewing Your Research

Avoiding Plagiarism

Argument Essentials Avoiding Plagiarism

Using Sentence Forms to Write about Arguments

Argument Essentials Using Sentence Forms

Building an Effective Argument


Argument Essentials Checklist for Effective Arguments

Oral Arguments

The Audience





Presentation Aids


Anna Maria Chávez, Address to the National Council Session/52nd Convention of the Girl Scouts of the USA

Kathleen Sebelius, Remarks to Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute

14 Documenting Sources

MLA In-Text Citations

MLA Works Cited Entries

Directory of MLA Works Cited Entries

Print Sources

The Elements of Citation Book (MLA)

Electronic Sources

The Elements of Citation Article from a Web Site (MLA)

Other Sources

The Elements of Citation Article from a Database (MLA)

MLA-Style Annotated Bibliography

MLA Paper Format

MLA-Style Sample Research Paper

Kathleen Hedden, Competitive Foods and the Obesity Epidemic (student essay)

APA In-Text Citations

APA List of References

Directory of APA Reference Entries

Print Sources

The Elements of Citation Book (APA)

Electronic Sources

The Elements of Citation Article from a Website (APA)

The Elements of Citation Article from a Database (APA)

Other Sources

APA-Style Sample Research Paper

Angela Mathers, The Controversy over Women in Combat (student essay)

PART FIVE Debating the Issues

15 Rating Your Professors: Do Course Evaluations Matter?

Rebecca Schuman, Needs Improvement

Stephen Burt, Why Not Get Rid of Student Evaluations?

16 Trigger Warnings: Do College Students Need to be Protected?

American Association Of University Professors, On Trigger Warnings

Aaron R. Hanlon, The Trigger Warning Myth

17 Gender-Neutral Bathrooms: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Delia Melody, The Crucial Problem We're Forgetting in the Trans Bathroom Debate

Socawlege.Com, The Case Against Fully Shifting to Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

18 Gender Stereotypes: Is the "Princess" Phenomenon Detrimental to Girls’ Self-Image?

Calah Alexander, The Dangers of the Princess Culture

Crystal Liechty, In Defense of Princess Culture

19 Economics and College Sports: Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Paul Marx, Athlete’s New Day

Warren Hartenstine, College Athletes Should Not Be Paid

PART SIX Multiple Viewpoints

20 Social Networking: What Are the Consequences of Becoming an Online Society?

Alfredo Lopez, Social Networking and the Death of the Internet

Zephoria, Social Media: The Rock Star of Online Marketing (infographic)

Amy Webb, We Post Nothing about Our Daughter Online

Elise Hu, Facebook Makes Us Sadder and Less Satisfied, Study Finds

Isaac Gilman, Online Lives, Offline Consequences: Professionalism, Information Ethics, and Professional Students

John G. Browning, Watch That Tweet! Monitoring of Student Athletes’ Social Media

Thinking and Writing about the Consequences of Social Networking

21 Violence on Campus: How Far Will We Go to Keep Our Schools Safe?

Wayne LaPierre, What Should America Do about Gun Violence?

Pat Bagley, Totally Safe Schools (cartoon)

Leonard Pitts, Jr., Children Killing Children—Just Another Normal Day

Baltimore Sun, Teachers Packing Heat

Robert Ross, Mental Health Services a Defense against School Violence

Alex Mesoudi, Mass Shooting and Mass Media: Does Media Coverage of Mass Shootings Inspire Copycat Crimes?

Thinking and Writing about School Violence

22 Climate Change: It Exists. What Now?

National Center For Science Education, How Will Climate Change Affect the World and Society?

Marlene Cimons, Americans' Mental Health Is Latest Victim of Changing Climate

Andis Robeznieks, Healthcare Confronts Climate Change: Schools, Providers Focus on Health Effects to Dampen Political Opposition

Jennifer Ludden, Should We Be Having Kids in the Age Of Climate Change?

Reynard Loki, 4 Reasons Climate Change Affects National Security

Diana Liverman and Amy Glasmeier, What Are The Economic Consequences Of Climate Change?

Thinking and Writing about Climate Change

23 Competitive Sports: What Risks Should Athletes Be Allowed to Take?

Jane E. Brody, For Children in Sports, a Breaking Point

Jeb Golinkin, Why Parents Should Let Their Kids Play Dangerous Sports

Kent Sepkowitz, It’s Time to Quit Ignoring Sports Head Trauma’s Very Real Dangers

John Hardy, Ban Boxing--It's Demeaning and Dangerous

Public Broadcasting Service, The Dangers of Doping

Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists, The Dangers of Sports Specialization

Andrew M. Blecher, The NFL Concussion Crisis & the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Thinking and Writing about the Dangers of Competitive Sports

24 Freedom of Speech: Are Limitations on Our Rights Ever Justified?

Mike Keefe, Social Media Dark Side (cartoon)

Sean McElwee, The Case for Censoring Hate Speech on the Internet

Mathew Ingram, Why Twitter Is Doing the Right Thing by Refusing to Identify

Users Who Posted Anti-Semitic Comments

American Civil Liberties Union, Hate Speech on Campus

Janet Napolitano, It's Time to Free Speech on Campus Again

Christiane Amanpour, Acceptance Speech for the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award, November 22, 2016

Thinking and Writing about the Limitations on Freedom of Speech

25 Police Violence: Where Do We Go From Here?

Jaeah Lee, Here's the Data that Shows Cops Kill Black People at a Higher Rate than White People

Heather Mac Donald, Black and Unarmed: Behind the Numbers

Chauncey DeVega, What Obama’s Dallas Speech Missed: Police Brutality Is Rooted in Race-Based Housing Segregation and Economic Inequality

Redditt Hudson, I'm a Black Ex-Cop, and This Is the Real Truth about Race and Policing

Devin Coldewey, Police Complaints Drop 93 Percent after Deploying Body Cameras

Thinking and Writing about Police Violence

PART SEVEN Classic Arguments

Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

Sojourner Truth, Ain’t I a Woman?

Rachel Carson, The Obligation to Endure

Nelson Mandela, Black Man in a White Court

Thurgood Marshall, Reflections on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution




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