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Argumentative written message: Assessing completeness of argumentation.

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The argumentation is complete if it is supported by all relevant arguments

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Nội dung Text: Argumentative written message: Assessing completeness of argumentation.

  1. Lecture 15. Argumentative written message: Assessing completeness of argumentation. 1. Standard matters in dispute 2. Order and coherence 3. Onus of proof 1 The argumentation is complete if it is supported by all relevant arguments 2 Standard matters in dispute 1. Is there a problem? 2. Are the problems serious? 3. Are the problems caused by
  2. the current policy? 4. Is the policy proposal feasible? 5. Is the policy proposal effective? 6. Do the advantages of the policy proposal balance its disadvantages? 3 Standard Matters in Dispute can be used for ANY kind of proposal. For your proposal to be valid you must answer all these questions in the affirmative and give at least one argument for each answer. Exception: only if the answer to one of the questions is obvious and the author decides not to give any arguments. 4 1. Is there a problem?
  3. As a policy proposal is to change something and people are not prepared to invest unless it is really necessary, the author has to prove that the problem really exists. 5 2. Are the problems serious? The fact that the problem exists is not enough: minor problems do not require measures. Compare: 10 traffic offences a year or thousands. 6 3. Are the problems caused by the current policy? Find out who is to blame. Example (problems caused by current policy or not?) After a long discussion the maximum speed limit in the Netherlands was raised from 100 to 120 km an hour a few years ago. Those in favour of a higher speed limit said that this was the only way to solve the problem of large-scale speeding offences. But were these offences really caused
  4. by the limit at that time? Perhaps the problem was caused by other features of the then policy, e.g. the inadequacy of speeding checks. In that case the then policy (limit of 100 km a hour) was not the cause of the problem. And the problem could have been solved by adjusting the policy, e.g. by increasing the speeding checks. 7 Example (cause of the problems) Someone discovers that in a particular town there is not one woman working at top management level. That is why he proposes preferential treatment of women in application procedures. In order to defend his proposal he must argue that the problem (no women at top management level) is caused by the current policy (the present application procedure). In other words: so far women have had insufficient/ fewer opportunities to be employed than men. Opponents of proposal may object that not application procedures but women themselves are ‘to blame’. Women simply do not have executive abilities, or are not ambitious enough. They will say that the cause is not the current policy, but women themselves. 8 4. Is the policy proposal feasible?
  5. Example (feasibility) The problem of the lack of prison cells may be solved by building new prisons, but if there is no money, it is no more than a theoretical possibility. 9 5. Is the policy proposal effective? The smoking ban in public building might solve the problem of inconvenience to non-smokers, but if nobody observes it, the proposal is not effective. 10 6. Do the advantages of the policy proposal balance its disadvantages? Example (advantages/ disadvantages) A pregnant woman suffering from headaches may be advised to use medicines to banish the headaches. But if the medicines also cause an abortion, it is obviously not such a good idea. The problem, the headaches, has been solved, but a much more serious problem has been created. The disadvantages outweigh the advantages. 11
  6. Missed Advantage is an advantage that is brought by a new policy and which the old policy does not have. Example (missed advantage) It is possible to type a report on typewriter, but also on a word processor. A typewriter also serves your purpose, but it is more laborious than a word processor. The missed advantage of the word processor is an extra problem of the present policy: using the typewriter. 12 Example (incomplete argumentation) Someone lists three problems of the current system of donor donation: there are not enough donors; there is a lot of uncertainty among doctors and the surviving relatives often have to make a decision about donation on behalf of the decreased. Then he argues that his proposal is effective, because it will result in more donors. He does not mention whether the other two problems will be solved as well. 13 The Order: Each question presupposes that you
  7. answered the previous question in affirmative. => A Presupposition order 14 Coherence All the questions should refer to the same problem Example (incomplete argumentation) Someone considers it a problem that close to the railway station many bicycles are stolen. He proposes to place cycle stands. According to him his plan is effective because ‘if everyone puts his bicycle in the stand, it will look much tidier’. 15 Onus of proof Anyone who wants to change a situation must give arguments for this change = The onus of proof falls on the person making the proposal. 16
  8. Example (onus of the proof) Someone proposes to replace the Dutch monarchy by a republic. The onus of the proof lies with him. The person criticizing this proposal need not prove that abolishing the monarchy is not feasible or not effective etc. All he needs to do is cast doubt on its feasibility and effectiveness. Of course it is not enough when he merely says: “I doubt the feasibility of the proposal”. He must explain his doubts. 17



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