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Practical Argument A Text and Anthology

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2019-10-07
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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More than ever, successful argumentation is a major part of academic success—and has plenty of real-world application. But students don’t benefit when they are bogged down with technical jargon and abstraction. That’s where Practical Argument comes in.

Bestselling authors Laurie Kirszner and Stephen Mandell make argumentative writing accessible with a scaffolded, step-by-step approach to convey what students need to know about argument, in understandable language. The Fourth Edition includes an even more contemporary and diverse array of readings, as well as new coverage of the kinds of visual arguments students are likely to encounter in their everyday lives.

Table of Contents

Part 1—Understanding Argument

An Introduction to Argument

Recognizing Arguments

Why Instructors Assign Argument [box]

Defining Argument

What Kinds of Statements Are Not Debatable? [box]

Arguments in Real Life

Winning and Losing Arguments

The Rhetorical Situation

Considering the Writer

Considering the Purpose

Considering the Audience

Considering the Question

Considering the Context

Logos, Pathos, and Ethos

The Appeal to Reason (logos)

Logos in Action

The Appeal to the Emotions (pathos)

Pathos in Action

The Appeal to Authority (ethos)

Ethos in Action

The Rhetorical Triangle

1—The Four Pillars of Argument

AT ISSUE: Is a College Education Worth the Money?

The Elements of Argument

Thesis Statement



Concluding Statement

Checklist: Does Your Argument Stand Up?

Nia Tuckson, Why Foreign-Language Study Should Be Required [student essay]

*Andy Kessler, Learn a Language, But Not a Human One

READING AND WRITING ABOUT THE ISSUE: Is a College Education Worth the Money?

*Derek Tharp, Is College Worth It? The Answer Isn’t as Simple as You Think

Marty Nemko, We Send Too Many Students to College

Jennie Le, What Does It Mean to Be a College Grad?

*Bryan Caplan, What’s College Good For?

Mary C. Daly and Leila Bengali, Is It Still Worth Going to College?

*University of the People, Does College Still Matter in 2018?

Part 2—Reading and Responding to Arguments

2—Thinking and Reading Critically

AT ISSUE: Does Recycling Really Accomplish Anything?

Using Critical-Thinking Skills [box]

Reading Critically

Guidelines for Reading Critically [box]

Becoming an Active Reader


Close Reading

Comprehension Clues [box]

*John Tierney, The Reign of Recycling


Suggestions for Highlighting [box]


Checklist: Questions for Annotating

*Los Angeles Times, It’s Time to Phase Out All Single-Use Plastic

*Bob Holmes, Waste Not…

*Jenny Luna, We Are So Forked

Writing a Critical Response

Checklist: Questions for Critical Reading

*Neena Thomason, Response to "It’s Time To Phase Out All Single-Use Plastic" [student response]

Template for Writing a Critical Response

3—Reading and Responding to Visual Arguments

AT ISSUE: Does Recycling Really Accomplish Anything? [continued]

Thinking Critically about Visual Arguments

Visuals versus Visual Arguments [box]

Using Active Reading Strategies with Visual Arguments

Comprehension Clues [box]

Appeals: Logos, Pathos, and Ethos [box]

National Geographic Cover [visual]

Recycling Bar Graph [graphs]

Bird Trapped in Plastic [photo]

Recycling cartoon [cartoon]

Waste Pie Chart [chart]

Straws Suck! [infographic]

What Goes in the Ocean Goes in You [advertisement]

Last Earth Day [advertisement]

Responding Critically to Visual Arguments

Checklist: Questions for Responding to Visual Arguments

What Goes in the Ocean Goes in You [student response]

Template for Responding to Visual Arguments

4—Writing a Rhetorical Analysis

AT ISSUE: Is It Ethical to Buy Counterfeit Designer Merchandise?

What Is a Rhetorical Analysis?

Overview: "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King Jr. [box]

Considering the Rhetorical Situation

Analyzing the Rhetorical Situation [box]

The Writer

Analyzing the Writer [box]

The Writer’s Purpose

Analyzing the Writer’s Purpose [box]

The Writer’s Audience

Analyzing the Writer’s Audience [box]

The Question

Analyzing the Question [box]

The Context

Analyzing the Context [box]

Considering the Means of Persuasion: Logos, Pathos, Ethos

The Appeal to Reason (logos)

The Appeal to the Emotions (pathos)

The Appeal to Authority (ethos)

Considering the Writer’s Rhetorical Strategies




Stylistic Techniques

Assessing the Argument

Checklist: Preparing to Write a Rhetorical Analysis

Sample Rhetorical Analysis

Dana Thomas, Terror's Purse Strings

Deniz Bilgutay, A Powerful Call to Action [student essay]

Rajeev Ravisankar, Sweatshop Oppression

Template for Writing a Rhetorical Analysis

*Jerome Sieger, Sweatshops Are Good

5—Understanding Logic and Recognizing Logical Fallacies

AT ISSUE: How Free Should Free Speech Be?

What Is Deductive Reasoning?

Constructing Sound Syllogisms

Syllogism with an Illogical Middle Term

Syllogism with a Key Term Whose Meaning Shifts

Syllogisms with Negative Premise

Recognizing Enthymemes

Bumper-Sticker Thinking [box]

Writing Deductive Arguments

Crystal Sanchez, College Should Be for Everyone [student essay]

What Is Inductive Reasoning?

Reaching Inductive Conclusions [box]

Making Inferences

Constructing Strong Inductive Arguments

Generalization Too Broad

Insufficient Evidence

Irrelevant Evidence

Exceptions to the Rule

Writing Inductive Arguments

William Saletan, Please Do Not Feed the Humans

Recognizing Logical Fallacies

Begging the Question

Circular Reasoning

Weak Analogy

Ad Hominem Fallacy (Personal Attack)

Creating a Straw Man

Hasty or Sweeping Generalization (Jumping to a Conclusion)

Either/Or Fallacy (False Dilemma)


Red Herring

Slippery Slope

You Also (Tu Quoque)

Appeal to Doubtful Authority

Misuse of Statistics

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (After This, Therefore Because of This)

Non Sequitur (It Does Not Follow)

Bandwagon Fallacy

Patrick J. Buchanan, Immigration Time-Out


*Thane Rosenbaum, Should Neo-Nazis Be Allowed Free Speech?

*Sol Stern, The Unfree Speech Movement

*American Association of University Professors, On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes

*Wendy Kaminer, Progressive Ideas Have Killed Free Speech on Campus

*Judith Shulevitz, In College and Hiding from Scary Ideas

*Eric Posner, Universities Are Right to Crack Down on Speech and Behavior

Template for Writing a Deductive Argument

Template for Writing an Inductive Argument

6—Rogerian Argument, Toulmin Logic, and Oral Arguments

AT ISSUE: Why Are So Few Women in STEM Fields?

Understanding Rogerian Argument

Structuring Rogerian Arguments

Writing Rogerian Arguments

Zoya Kahn, Why Cell Phones Do Not Belong in the Classroom [student essay]

Understanding Toulmin Logic

Constructing Toulmin Arguments

Writing Toulmin Arguments

Jen Davis, Competitive Cheerleaders Are Athletes [student essay]

Understanding Oral Arguments

Planning an Oral Argument

Checklist: Designing and Displaying Visuals

Delivering Oral Arguments

Dealing with Nervousness [box]

Composing an Oral Argument

Chantee Steele, An Argument in Support of the "Gap Year" [student speech]


**Olivia Nicholas, **What Are You Going to Do with That Major?*

                     **Olga Khazan, **The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in STEM*

*Stuart Reges, Why Women Don’t Code

*Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers, The Science Doesn’t Support the Google Memo

*Barbara Oakley, Why Do Women Shun STEM? It’s Complicated

Template for Writing a Rogerian Argument

Template for Writing a Toulmin Argument

Part 3—Writing an Argumentative Essay

7—Planning, Drafting, and Revising an Argumentative Essay

AT ISSUE: Should College Campuses Go Green?

Choosing a Topic

Topics to Avoid [box]

Thinking about Your Topic




Informal Outline

Drafting a Thesis Statement

Understanding Your Purpose and Audience

Gathering Evidence

Evaluating the Evidence in Your Sources

Detecting Bias in Your Sources

Using Analogies as Evidence [box]

Refuting Opposing Arguments

Strategies for Refuting Opposing Arguments

Revising Your Thesis Statement

Structuring Your Essay

Supplying Background Information [box]

Using Induction and Deduction

Identifying a Strategy for Your Argument

Constructing a Formal Outline

Establishing Credibility

Being Well-Informed

Being Reasonable

Being Fair

Maintaining Your Credibility [box]

Drafting Your Essay

Suggested Transitions for Argument [box]

GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT: Using Parallelism

Revising Your Essay

Asking Questions

Checklist: Questions about Your Essay’s Purpose and Audience

Checklist: Questions about Your Essay’s Structure and Style

Checklist: Questions about Your Essay’s Supporting Evidence

Using Outlines and Templates

Getting Feedback

Guidelines for Peer Review

Polishing Your Essay

Editing and Proofreading

GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT: Contractions vs. Possessive Pronouns

Choosing a Title

Checking Format

Shawn Holton, Going Green [student essay]

Part 4—Using Sources to Support Your Argument

8—Finding and Evaluating Sources

AT ISSUE: Is Technology a Serious Threat to Our Privacy?

Finding Sources

Finding Information in the Library

Finding Information on the Internet

Evaluating Sources

*Zeynep Tufekci, The Privacy Debacle

*David N. Cicilline and Terrell McSweeny, Competition is at the Heart of Facebook’s Privacy Problem

*Daniel Lyons, Facebook: Privacy Problems and PR Nightmare

Evaluating Websites

Using a Site’s URL to Assess Its Objectivity [box]

Avoiding Confirmation Bias [box]

*The Chronicle of Higher Education, Home Page [website]

*Glamour Magazine, Home Page [website]

*The Chronicle of Higher Education, About The Chronicle [website]

*Glamour Magazine, About Glamour [website]

*Bart Lazar, Why We Need a Privacy Label on the Internet

*Douglas Rushkoff, You Are Not Facebook’s Customer

*Igor Kuksov, All Ears: The Dangers of Voice Assistants

Sam Laird, Should Athletes Have Social Media Privacy? One Bill Says Yes

9—Summarizing, Paraphrasing, Quoting, and Synthesizing Sources

AT ISSUE: Is Technology a Serious Threat to Our Privacy? (continued)

Summarizing Sources

When to Summarize [box]

Summarizing Sources [box]

Paraphrasing Sources

When to Paraphrase [box]

Paraphrasing Sources [box]

Quoting Sources

When to Quote [box]

Quoting Sources [box]

Shelley Fralic, Don’t Fall for the Myths about Online Privacy

Working Source Material into Your Argument

Using Identifying Tags

Template for Using Identifying Tags [box]

Working Quotations into Your Sentences

Distorting Quotations [box]

Synthesizing Sources

10—Documenting Sources: MLA

Using Parenthetical References

Preparing the Works-Cited List



Audiovisual Sources

Internet Sources

Legal Case

Government Document

MLA Paper Guidelines [box]

Erin Blaine, Should Data Posted on Social Networking Sites Be "Fair Game" for Employers? [Model MLA Paper]

11—Using Sources Responsibly

AT ISSUE: Where Should We Draw the Line with Plagiarism?

Understanding Plagiarism

Two Definitions of Plagiarism [box]

Avoiding Unintentional Plagiarism

Internet Sources and Plagiarism [box]

Intentional Plagiarism [box]

Knowing What to Document

Loos Diallo, Plagiarism Policy [image]

*Erika Ramirez, When Beyonce’s Inspiration Turns Into Imitation

Revising to Eliminate Plagiarism

READING AND WRITING ABOUT THE ISSUE: Where Should We Draw the Line with Plagiarism?

Trip Gabriel, Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

*Jennifer Mott-Smith, Bad Idea about Writing: Plagiarism Deserves to be Punished

Richard A. Posner, The Truth about Plagiarism

*Helen Rubinstein, When Plagiarism is a Plea for Help

Dan Ariely, Essay Mills: A Coarse Lesson in Cheating

Term Papers for Sale Advertisement [Web page]

Template for Writing an Argument about Plagiarism

Writing Assignments: Using Sources Responsibly

Part 5— Strategies for Argument

12—Definition Arguments

AT ISSUE: How Do We Distinguish Between Real News and Misinformation?

What Is a Definition Argument?

Developing Definitions

Dictionary Definitions (Formal Definitions)

Extended Definitions

Operational Definitions

Structuring a Definition Argument

Adam Kennedy, Why I Am a Nontraditional Student [student essay]

GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT: Avoiding "Is Where" and "Is When"

*Ej Garr, Athlete vs. Role Model

Firefighters at Ground Zero [photograph]; The Tuskegee Airmen [photograph]

READING AND WRITING ABOUT THE ISSUE: How Do We Distinguish Between Real News and Misinformation?

*Joanna Burkhardt, History of Fake News

*Jimmy Wales, What Can We Do to Combat Fake News?

*Adrian Chen, The Fake News Fallacy

*Katie Langin, Fake News Spreads Faster than True News

*Lee Leetaru, How Data and Information Literacy Could End Fake News

Template for Writing a Definition Argument

Writing Assignments: Definition Arguments

13—Cause-and-Effect Arguments

AT ISSUE: Does Our Reliance on Social Media Bring Us Together or Drive Us Apart?

What Is a Cause-and-Effect Argument?

Bumper Stickers [photograph]

Understanding Cause-and-Effect Relationships

Main and Contributory Causes

Immediate and Remote Causes

Causal Chains

Key Words for Cause-and-Effect Arguments [box]

Post Hoc Reasoning

Structuring a Cause-and-Effect Argument

Kristina Mialki, Texting: A Boon, Not a Threat, to Language [student essay]

GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT: Avoiding "The reason is because"

Peggy Orenstein, Should the World of Toys Be Gender-Free?

READING AND WRITING ABOUT THE ISSUE: Does Our Reliance on Social Media Bring Us Together or Drive Us Apart?

*Laura Bogart, I Don’t Own a Smartphone – and I Don’t Want One

*Dimitiry Kozlov, Social Media: Bringing People Together, Virtually and Physically

*Robert Weiss, Closer Together or Further Apart? Digital Devices and the New Generation Gap

*David Ludden, Does Using Social Media Make You Lonely?

*Wendy Leung, I Quit Facebook and I Miss It

*Sherry Turkle, The Flight from Conversation

Template for Writing a Cause-and-Effect Argument

Writing Assignments: Cause-and-Effect Arguments

14—Evaluation Arguments

AT ISSUE: Do the Benefits of Fossil Fuels Outweigh the Environmental Risks?

What Is an Evaluation Argument?

Making Evaluations [box]

Identifying Bias [box]

Criteria for Evaluation

Structuring an Evaluation Argument

Kevin Murphy, Evaluation of a Website: RateMyProfessors.com [student essay]

GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT: Comparatives and Superlatives

*Eric Klinenberg, To Restore Civil Society, Start with the Library

READING AND WRITING ABOUT THE ISSUE: Do the Benefits of Fracking Outweigh the Environmental Risks?

*Joseph Bast and Peter Ferrara The Social Benefits of Fossil Fuels Far Outweigh the Costs

*Juan Ramos, Fossil Fuels Pros and Cons

*Bernard McNamee, This Earth Day, Let’s Accept the Critical Role That Fossil Fuels Play in Energy Needs

Sean Lennon, Destroying Precious Land for Gas

*Bruno Comby, The Benefits of Nuclear Energy

*Barbara Hurd, Fracking: A Fable

Template for Writing an Evaluation Argument

Writing Assignments: Evaluation Arguments

15—Ethical Arguments

AT ISSUE: How Far Should Schools Go to Keep Students Safe?

What is an Ethical Argument?

Stating an Ethical Principle

Ethics versus Law

Understanding Ethical Dilemmas

Treadlighly.org, Ride Hard, Tread Lightly [advertisement]

*PETA, Adopt, Don’t Buy [advertisement]

Linda Pastan, Ethics [poem]

Structuring an Ethical Argument

Chris Muñoz, Are Colleges Doing Enough for Nontraditional Students? [student essay]

GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT: Subordination and Coordination

*Shubhankar Chokra, The Ethical Case for Eating Animals

READING AND WRITING ABOUT THE ISSUE: How Far Should Schools Go to Keep Students Safe?

*Evie Blad, Do Schools’ "Active Shooter" Drills Prepare or Frighten?

Timothy Wheeler There’s a Reason They Choose Schools

*Sasha Arbramsky, The Fear Industry Goes Back to Work

*Michael Goldberg, I’m a School Psychologist—and I Think Teachers Should Be Armed

*Vann Newkirk, Arming Educators Violates the Spirit of the Second Amendment

Isothermal Community College, Warning Signs: How You Can Help Prevent Campus Violence

Template for Writing an Ethical Argument

Writing Assignments: Ethical Arguments

16—Proposal Arguments

AT ISSUE: Should the Government Do More to Relieve the Student Loan Burden?

What Is a Proposal Argument?

PETA, Let Vegetarianism Grow on You [advertisement]

Problem Solving Strategies [box]

Stating the Problem

Proposing a Solution

Demonstrating That Your Solution Will Work

Sunshineweek.org, Let the Sunshine In [advertisement]

Establishing Feasibility

Discussing Benefits

Refuting Opposing Arguments

Nyc.gov, It’s Your City. It’s Your Earth. [advertisement]

Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All Is Good for Business

Structuring a Proposal Argument

Melissa Burrell, Colleges Need Honor Codes [student essay]

GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT: Will versus Would

*Michelle Wu, The Road to Fear-Free Driving in Boston

READING AND WRITING ABOUT THE ISSUE: Should the Government Do More to Relieve the Student-Loan Burden?

*Rana Foroohar, The US College Debt Bubble Is Becoming Dangerous

Richard Vedder, Forgive Student Loans?

*Ben Miller, Student Debt: It’s Worse Than We Imagined

Sam Adolphsen, Don’t Blame the Government

Astra Taylor, A Strike against Student Debt

Template for Writing a Proposal Argument

Writing Assignments: Proposal Arguments

Part 5 Review: Combining Argumentative Strategies

*Robert M. Franklin, RFK’s Still a Leadership Role Model for Youth

Kevin Carey, Fulfill George Washington’s Last Wish — a National University

Part 6—Debates, Casebooks, and Classic Arguments


17— Should We Embrace Self-Driving Cars?

*Don Aucoin, Why We Have the Ethics of Self-Driving Cars All Wrong

*Olivia Goldhill, Should Driverless Cars Kill Their Own Passengers to Save a Pedestrian?

18—Should College Athletes Be Paid?

*Randy Bertolas, Jayme Krejci, and Alex Stanley Are Colleges and Universities Obligated to Provide Student Athletes with Additional Compensation? (Point)

* Randy Bertolas, Jayme Krejci, and Alex Stanley Are Colleges and Universities Obligated to Provide Student Athletes with Additional Compensation? (Counterpoint)

19—Under What Circumstances Do Bystanders Have an Ethical Obligation to Intervene?

Lenore Skenazy, How Kitty Genovese Destroyed Childhood

Joe Nocera, It’s Hard to Be a Hero

20—Should the United States Establish a Universal Basic Income?

*Christian Bot, The Conservative Case for Universal Basic Income

*Geroge Zarkadakas, The Case Against Universal Basic Income


21—Should Every American Go to College?

Eric Hoover, College’s Value Goes Deeper Than the Degree

*Andrew Perry, Stop Saying College Isn’t for Everyone

*G. Vance, The College Trap: Our Higher Education System Hurts the Poor

Charles Murray, What's Wrong with Vocational School?

22—How Should We Solve the Opioid Problem?

*Ericka Anderson, The Opioid Epidemic Is a Cultural Problem, It Requires Cultural Solutions

*Stanton Peele, The Solution to the Opioid Crisis

*Peter Moore, The Other Opioid Crisis

*Sally Satel, The Myth of What’s Driving the Opioid Crisis

23—Should the United States Have Open Borders?

*Richard Lamm, The Liberal Case for Reducing Immigration

*Nick Srineck, $100 Trillion Case for Open Borders

*John Lee, Secure the U.S.-Mexico Border: Open It

*Adam Ozemik, Why I Don’t Support Open Borders

24—Does It Pay to Study the Humanities?

Christina H. Paxson, The Economic Case for Saving the Humanities

Anthony P. Carnevale and Michelle Melton, Major Differences: Why Undergraduate Majors Matter

Kim Brooks, Is It Time to Kill the Liberal Arts Degree?

Thomas Frank, Course Corrections


Plato, The Allegory of the Cave

Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress

Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

Rachel Carson, The Obligation to Endure

Betty Friedan, The Importance of Work

James Baldwin, If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?

Appendix A—Writing Literary Arguments

What Is a Literary Argument?

Stating an Argumentative Thesis

Choosing Evidence

Writing a Literary Argument

Megan McGovern, Confessions of a Misunderstood Poem: An Analysis of "The Road Not Taken" [student essay]

Loren Martinez, Not Just a "Girl"[student essay]

Appendix B—Documenting Sources: APA

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