I Composing a Short Argument: Some General Rules

(1) Distinguish premises and conclusion
(2) Present your ideas in a natural order
(3) Start from reliable premises
(4) Use definite, specific, concrete language
(5) Avoid loaded language
(6) Use consistent terms
(7) Stick to one meaning for each term

II Arguments by Example

(8) Is there more than one example?
(9) Are the examples representative?
(10) Background information is crucial
(11) Are there counterexamples?

III Arguments by Analogy

(12) Analogy requires a relevantly similar example

IV Arguments from Authority

(13) Sources should be cited
(14) Are the sources informed?
(15) Are the sources impartial?
(16) Cross-check sources
(17) Personal attacks do not disqualify a source

V Arguments about Causes

(18) Does the argument explain how cause leads to effect?
(19) Does the conclusion propose the most likely cause?
(20) Correlated events are not necessarily related
(21) Correlated events may have a common cause
(22) Either of two correlated events may cause the other
(23) Causes may be complex

VI Deductive Arguments

(24) Modus Ponens
(25) Modus Tollens
(26) Hypothetical Syllogism
(27) Disjunctive Syllogism
(28) Dilemma
(29) Reductio ad Absurdum
(30) Deductive arguments in several steps

VII Composing an Argumentative Essay: A. Exploring the Issue

(A1) Explore the arguments on all sides of an issue
(A2) Question and defend each argument’s premises
(A3) Revise and rethink arguments as they emerge

VIII Composing an Argumentative Essay: B. Main Points of the Essay

(B1) Explain the question
(B2) Make a definite claim or proposal
(B3) Develop your arguments fully
(B4) Consider objections
(B5) Consider alternatives

IX Composing an Argumentative Essay: C. Writing

(C1) Follow your outline
(C2) Keep the introduction brief
(C3) Give your arguments one at a time
(C4) Clarify, clarify, clarify
(C5) Support objections with arguments
(C6) Don’t claim more than you have shown

X Fallacies

The Two Great Fallacies
Directory of the Fallacies

Appendix: Definition
For Further Study