M Feb 21: Intro to Classical Argument
W Feb 23: Discussion of MLK's Birmingham jail letter
F Feb25: Writing Intros & Background
M Feb 28: Writing Background/Narratio
W Mar 2: Writing the Rebuttal, Call to Action
F Mar 4: Open workshop class, attendance optional
M Mar 7: Spring break
W Mar 9: Spring break
F Mar 11: Spring break (cutoff date for feedback)
M Mar 14: Copyright and Fair Use
Graphics Banks assignment discussion
W Mar 16: Twitter feeds, open sourcing, catch and release
Since rhetors began teaching Greek farmers strategies for appealing their cases to Greek courts in the fifth century B.C., the classical argument has stood as a model for writers who believe their case can be argued logically and plausibly to an open-minded audience. This system still serves us well today, underpinning many school assignments, legal documents, and scientific arguments.
In its simplest form, the classical argument has 5 main parts:
I. Exordium or Introduction, which warms up the audience, establishes goodwill and rapport with the readers, and announces the general theme or thesis of the argument.
II. Narratio or Background, which summarizes relevant background material, provides any information the audience needs to know about the environment and circumstances that produce the argument, and set up the stakes–what’s at risk in this question.
III. Confirmatio, or Body, which lays out in a logical order (usually strongest to weakest or most obvious to most subtle) the claims that support the thesis, providing evidence for each claim.
IV. Refutation and concession, or Rebuttal, which looks at opposing viewpoints to the writer’s claims, anticipating objections from the audience, and allowing as much of the opposing viewpoints as possible without weakening the thesis.
V. Peroratio or Conclusion, which provides a strong conclusion, amplifying the force of the argument, and showing the readers that this solution is the best at meeting the circumstances.
Each of these components represents a moveable part of an essay, which might be one or more paragraphs; for instance, the introduction and narration sections might be combined into one chunk, while the confirmation and concession sections will probably be several paragraphs each.