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any statement (written, spoken, aural, or visual) that expresses a point of view; the use of evidence and reason to discover a version of the truth


the person or persons to whom an argument is directed

Invitational Argument

aimed at encouraging others to collaborate in exploring mutually satisfying ways to solve problems, rather than vanquishing opponents

Rogerian Argument

an approach to argumentation based on the principle that audiences respond best when they do not feel threatened; stresses trust and urges those who disagree to find common ground

Purposes of Argument

to inform, convince, persuade, explore, make decisions, and/or meditate and pray

Arguments to Inform

aimed at providing the audience with information

Arguments to Convince

leads audiences to agree that a claim is true or that action is desirable

Arguments to Persuade

moves an audience from conviction to action that can produce change

Arguments to Explore

urges an audience to seek further information and analysis for understanding an idea, issue or problem

Arguments to Make Decisions

closely linked with exploratory arguments, the goal is consider various alternatives to make good, sound choices

Arguments to Meditate/Pray

the writer or speaker uses intense messages or themes hoping to reach a peace of mind or transform something in himself/herself, as well as the audience


art of persuasion (many schemes used to study and understand the use of persuasive language in Western culture come from the Greek philosopher, Aristotle)

Forensic Argument

an occasion for argument relying on evidence, testimony, and precedents of the past

Deliberative Argument

an occasion for argument that deals with what will or should happen in the future

Epideictic/Ceremonial Argument

an occasion for argument set in the present, often dealing with contemporary values (widely-held beliefs or assumptions debated in a society) to offer praise or blame

Stasis Theory

in classical rhetoric, a method for coming up with appropriate arguments by determining the nature of the given situation (arguments of fact, definition, evaluation, and proposal)

Arguments of Fact

an argument where the claim can be proved or disproved with specific evidence or testimony; within stasis theory: Did something happen?

Arguments of Definition

an argument in which the claim specifies that something does or does not meet the conditions or features set forth in a representation; within stasis theory: What is the nature of the thing?

Arguments of Evaluation

presents criteria and then measures people, ideas, actions, or things against those standards; within stasis theory: What is the quality or cause of the thing?

Proposal Arguments

an argument in which a claim is made in favor of or opposing a specific course of action: within stasis theory: What actions should be taken?

Intended Audiences

the actual, real-life people a writer or speaker consciously wants to to address when making an argument

Invoked Readers

the audience directly addressed or implied in an argument's text, which may include some people that the writer/speaker did not intend to reach

Aristotle's Rhetorical Appeals

the use of ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic) to achieve specific purposes when making arguments


based on Greek mythology, calls for seeking the most suitable time and place for making an argument and the most opportune ways of making an argument

Rhetorical Situation

the relationship between topic, author, audience, and other contexts (social, political, cultural) that determine or evoke an appropriate spoken or written response

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