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Good Books on Argument Theory?

sidamo

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The book "Everything's an Argument" (by Lunsford) is worth reading if your list falls short, but I'm sure that there are a lot of better books out there that I have not read on argument theory. The book's strong point is covering many techniques thoroughly. The weakness - the book is dully thorough and gets repetitive. I think that it is a good one to have on your shelf, skim through, and refer to every now and then...Good Luck
 

mensimageconsultant

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Originally Posted by Bentley
I don't have a good book to recommend. In my experience, though, the people who tend to have the most influence over group decisions are:
a) funny/charming/witty;
b) speak with great passion and conviction about what they are saying;
c) believe that their side of the argument holds the moral high ground;
d) believe (and convey) that those who disagree with them are morally reprehensible.

Usually seems to work pretty well.


At least some of that must help. So does looking competent and, in most cases, authoritative.
 

Kurt N

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Originally Posted by VaderDave
This is a book I had (and still have, although it was like four editions ago) from an argument/informal logic class I took in undergrad. I really thought it was quite good. http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-.../dp/053462586X
As somebody who used to teach philosophy courses in informal logic, I would say a book on that topic is a good supplement but shouldn't be your primary source. Informal logic is a grab-bag of stuff, some of it quasi-mathematical (e.g., the formal structure of a fallacy like affirming the consequent) and some of it just a shopping list of tactics to be on your guard against (ad hominem, etc.)--and, presumably, to avoid if you want to argue fairly. All good to know on background, but a book like that won't be a very useful guidebook for arguing in a specific professional context, such as law or business.
 

VaderDave

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Originally Posted by Kurt N
As somebody who used to teach philosophy courses in informal logic, I would say a book on that topic is a good supplement but shouldn't be your primary source. Informal logic is a grab-bag of stuff, some of it quasi-mathematical (e.g., the formal structure of a fallacy like affirming the consequent) and some of it just a shopping list of tactics to be on your guard against (ad hominem, etc.)--and, presumably, to avoid if you want to argue fairly. All good to know on background, but a book like that won't be a very useful guidebook for arguing in a specific professional context, such as law or business.

Yeah, we had a bunch of other source materials. This was one of them, and it was a good primer, I thought.
smile.gif
 

Telefonica

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Thought I would update everyone on what I purchased (so far); 1) The Case Study Handbook Published by the Harvard Business Press and geared toward exactly what I wanted. Seems to be perfect for any student that wants to prepare to learn through the case method. Contents: Introduction; Persuasion, Argument, and the Case Method, What Is a Case? Part 1 - Analysis: How to Analyze a Case; Case Analysis Demonstration; Problems; Decisions; Evaluations Part 2 - Discussion: How to Discuss a Case Part 3 - Writing: How to Write a Case-Based Essay; Problem Essays; Decision Essays; Evaluation Essays Part 4 - Cases For Analysis and Writing with Example Cases and Example Good and Bad Essays: Allentown Materials Corporation - The Electronic Products Division; General Electric - Major Appliance Business Group; General Motors - Packard Electric Division; Malaysia in the 1990s; Whistler Corporation 2) Classic Rhetoric for the Modern Student I know I said I didn't want something too academic, but the reviews put me at ease. Plus the chapter titles suggested it would be a perfect fit (at least the first few). Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Discovery of Arguments (Deciding what to say). 3. Arrangement of Material (Marshalling your arguments for greatest effect). 4. Style (How best to speak/write your arguments). 5. The Progymnasmata (Exercises in rhetoric). 6. A Survey of Rhetoric (History of rhetoric from Ancient Greece to modern times). Thanks for all the suggestions everyone - I've definitely placed many of them on my wish list.
 

Kurt N

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#2 - Ah, that's Corbett. Definitely one of the more traditionally-minded texts; in fact, probably the standard-bearer for the old-school approach to argument and rhetoric. Forget recent developments in logic, forget postmodern thought, etc. We take our cue from Aristotle!
 

Telefonica

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Originally Posted by Kurt N
#2 - Ah, that's Corbett. Definitely one of the more traditionally-minded texts; in fact, probably the standard-bearer for the old-school approach to argument and rhetoric. Forget recent developments in logic, forget postmodern thought, etc. We take our cue from Aristotle!

Good to know. Any suggested reading for more modernized, contemporary schools of thought, maybe something to balance Corbett?
 

Kurt N

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For logic, there are heaps of them. If your budget allows, I guess Copi & Cohen's Introduction to Logic warrants a look. It's pretty comprehensive. If you want just the modern stuff, browse around for any text will do that covers Boolean logic (the logic of not, and, or, and if-then, also called sentence logic or propositional logic) and then covers predicate logic with quantifiers (the logic of all, some, and none). I know less about rhetoric and the relevant literature. Stephen Toulmin's The Uses of Argument is an influential text, I think.
 

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