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Argumentation in Everyday Life

Argumentation in Everyday Life


February 2019 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“Good coverage of concepts with understandable explanations of theory. Very user friendly with exercises to use in and out of class. Connects well with other communication classes through the application of other communication concepts to argumentation.”

—Christopher Leland, Azusa Pacific University

Argumentation in Everyday Life provides students with the tools they need to argue effectively in the classroom and beyond. Jeffrey P. Mehltretter Drury offers rich coverage of theory while balancing everyday applicability, allowing students to use their skills soundly. Drury introduces the fundamentals of constructing and refuting arguments using the Toulmin model and ARG conditions (Acceptability, Relevance, and Grounds). Numerous real-world examples are connected to the theories of rhetoric and argumentation discussed—enabling students to practice and apply the content in personal, civic, and professional contexts, as well as traditional academic debates. Encouraging self-reflection, this book empowers students to find their voice and create positive change through argumentation in everyday life.

Unique resources to help students navigate this complex terrain of argumentation:

  • “The Debate Situation” offers students a birds-eye view of any given debate (or exchange of arguments between two or more people) organized around three necessary components: arguments, issues, and the proposition. The visual model of the debate situation illustrates how these features work together in guiding a debate and it lays the groundwork for understanding and generating arguments.
  • Easy to Use Standards for Evaluating Arguments combine a prominent argument model (named after logician Stephen Toulmin) with a standards-based approach (the ARG conditions) to test of quality of an argument. The ARG conditions are three questions an advocate should ask of an argument in determining whether or not it is rationally persuasive. These questions are best served by research but don’t necessary require it, and thus they provide a useful posture for critically assessing the arguments you encounter.
  • Multiple “Everyday Life” examples with an emphasis on context help students to connect the lessons more fully to their everyday life and encourages them to grapple explicitly with dilemmas arising in different contexts.
  • “Find Your Voice Prompts” focus on choice & empowerment to offer strategies for students to choose which arguments to address and how to address them—empowering students to use argumentation to find their voice.
  • “Build Your Skill Prompts” use objective applications to test how well students have learned the information. They offer a chance to apply the material to additional examples that students can check against the answers in Appendix II.
  • Two application exercises at the end of each chapter encourage students to think critically about the content, discuss their thoughts with their peers, and apply the material to everyday situations.


Part I: A Framework for Argumentation and Debate
Chapter 1: Introduction to Argumentation and Debate
Argument, Debate, and Controversy  
Why Study Argumentation?  
Audiences and Co-Arguers  
Spheres of Argument  
Application Exercises  
Chapter 2: The Debate Situation
A Proposition  
The Debate Situation  
Application Exercises  
Chapter 3: Argumentation Ethics & Stances
Argumentation and Debate Ethics  
Argumentation Stances  
Application Exercises  
Part II: Constructing Arguments
Chapter 4: Understanding Argument Structures
Formal Logic vs. Everyday Argumentation  
Strategies for Identifying Arguments  
Strategies for Understanding Arguments  
Application Exercises  
Chapter 5: Effectively Supporting Claims
The Allure of “Evidence” and the Significance of “Support”  
Gathering and Testing Information  
Types of Support  
Strategies for Using Support  
Application Exercises  
Chapter 6: Common Argument Types
Applying the Types of Argument to Everyday Life  
Argument from Classification  
Argument from Generalization  
Argument from Cause and Consequence  
Argument from Sign  
Argument from Analogy  
Argument from Authority  
Additional Argument Types  
Application Exercises  
Chapter 7: Building Effective Cases
Debating Fact Propositions  
Debating Value Propositions  
Debating Policy Propositions  
Application Exercises  
Part III: Contesting Arguments
Chapter 8: Generating Productive Clash
A Productive Posture for Clash  
Ending Productively  
Application Exercises  
Chapter 9: Evaluating Arguments & Cases
The A Condition: Acceptability  
The R Condition: Relevance  
The G Condition: Sufficient Grounds  
Applying the ARG Conditions through Refutation  
Argument Fallacies & The ARG Conditions  
Evaluating Cases and Controversies with the ARG Conditions  
Application Exercises  
Chapter 10: Evaluating Argument Types
Evaluating Argument from Classification  
Evaluating Argument from Generalization  
Evaluating Argument from Cause and Consequence  
Evaluating Argument from Sign  
Evaluating Argument from Analogy  
Evaluating Argument from Authority  
Uncovering the ARG Conditions in Everyday Argumentations  
Application Exercises  
Part IV: Applied Argumentation And Debate
Chapter 11: Crafting Verbal and Oral Arguments
Audience Analysis and Adaptation  
Oral Delivery  
Application Exercises  
Chapter 12: Formats for Everyday Public Argumentation
Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor  
Public Online Argumentation  
Public Deliberation  
Application Exercises  
Appendix I: Formats for Academic and Competitive Debate
Parliamentary Debate  
Policy Debate  
A Note about Notetaking (or “Flowing”)  
Moot Court  
Appendix II: Answers to Build Your Skill Prompts
Appendix III: Glossary
About the author

“A good option that might provide students more direct support in crafting arguments.”

Susan P. Millsap
Otterbein University

“Good coverage of concepts with understandable explanations of theory. Very user friendly with exercises to use in and out of class. Connects well with other communication classes through the application of other communication concepts to argumentation.”

Christopher Leland
Azusa Pacific University

Everyday applications and appropriate exercises.

Dr Susan Millsap
Communication Dept, Otterbein University
January 2, 2019

For instructors

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