How to write an argumentative text: scheme, lineup, tricks of the trade

The argumentative text is a text that contains an argument that, starting from some basic premises, through the refutation of an antithesis, arrives at a true or likely conclusion.

In simpler words, the argumentative text is based on a thesis that must be demonstrated through a precise scheme:

  • Presentation of the main topic
  • Theses to prove
  • Presentation of the arguments in support of the thesis
  • Antithesis
  • Presentation of the arguments in support of the antithesis
  • Refutation of the antithesis
  • Conclusion: confirmation of the initial thesis

ARGUMENTATIVE TEXT: ABOUT A GOOD TOPIC A good topic is essentially based on four pillars:

Consistency: The premises must not contradict the conclusion and they must not be derived derivative contradictory statements. It is essential that the premises are acceptable and strong, otherwise the reasoning is failed at the start.

Validity: An argument is valid when the premises justify the conclusion and perform an important function in the argumentative process. For example, inserting a topic of little relevance in the maturity thesis just to please the teacher of a given subject, risks turning into a boomerang. The premises will be affected by a weak argument and the conclusion will be more difficult to justify.

Persuasiveness: Being persuasive means knowing how to find the right words for a given audience, managing to overcome its basic beliefs. It also means understanding which topics will be the most difficult to address and for which it will be necessary to find stronger arguments and which ones will be more easily accepted.

Information: The supporting data are always useful, as long as they are consistent. Care must be taken not to overdo giving ancillary information for the thesis being carried out. Inform yes, but with caution.

ARGUMENTATIVE TEXT: WHAT NOT TO DO They are called argument fallacies and concern the most common mistakes that are made in the demonstration of a thesis. These are arguments that are based on weak or incorrect assumptions, and that are therefore likely to be easily refuted. Let’s see some examples taken from Terravecchia – Furlan, Tesine and routes.

It consists in drawing conclusions about a given thesis based on characteristics that belong to the one who supports it. In essence, the argument depends on the personal judgment one has on someone: X is false because Judas, who is a traitor, said so. How to avoid it? Trying to evaluate the subject, not the person: even traitors can tell the truth.

It is born when conclusions are drawn about a thesis, accepting or rejecting it, in the absence of reliable data and on the basis of personal convictions. The aliens do not exist because there is no evidence of their existence does not make sense: not having data on a given topic can at most lead us not to take a position, certainly not to support what seems more plausible for personal inclination.

It is when you try to support an argument based on the authority of the person who supports it. Saying for example that quantum mechanics is not completely acceptable because Einstein thought it incomplete means: 1. ignoring the developments of thought on quantum mechanics after Einstein and 2. not considering other authoritative sources of opposite opinion.

To avoid this, it is sufficient to take into account several authoritative voices.

Undue generalization

It occurs when a conclusion is reached from too few cases. If you do not have the tools to evaluate a high number of cases, it would be good to avoid drawing conclusions from the few available.

Relevance or relevance fallacy

It occurs when the premises are capable of supporting a given conclusion, but end up supporting the opposite one. For example: Mussolini was the director of the Avanti !, therefore he was a leading exponent of fascism it makes no sense: the Avanti! he was the newspaper of the socialist party, and “therefore” is totally out of place.

Causal inversion

It occurs when the cause is reversed with the effect of two related events: it does not study mathematics because it does not understand it can also be read as it does not understand mathematics because it does not study it.

Does not cause

The fallacy comes when it is concluded that something is caused by something else that is not its cause: the entry of the United States into the Second World War caused the Allies to win the conflict does not make sense. It is not the only entry into a conflict that determines the outcome of a war.

It occurs when we actually assume what we really want to prove: Ungaretti was a very famous poet because he was famous. Attention to the use of “why”: the explanation of what comes next must be real.