FRAMING AN ARGUMENT

 

What's a claim?  

A claim is a call on a responsible party to perform or complete a specific action, even though the act may be controversial to that party.  We express claims as affirmatives, not negatives. Example: The state legislature of Texas should vote down the proposed law that criminalizes private citizens who  photograph police in public spaces.

 

What's a (rhetorical) warrant?

A rhetorical warrant is a reminder of a prior ethical, civic, legal, organizational, or other type of obligation that the responsible party must obey or uphold. Example: It is the duty of the legislators of Texas to honor the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment which guarantees the right to free speech, which includes photography in public spaces.  (Other examples of warrants: religious teachings, constitutions, mission statements, professional ethics codes, contracts, treaties, and other documents that people are bound to honor.)

 

What's a (rhetorical) frame?  

A frame can be a way of expressing an argument so that you use  the "responsible party's" strong values or commitments already in place  as a conduit of support for the change you are advocating.  Example: Therefore, if the Texas legislature votes down the proposed law to criminalize the photography of police in public spaces, they would upholding the U.S. Constitution.

What are some possible ways to frame the claim in your argument as an obligation that must be fulfilled? Identify and use a warrant that pertains to the responsible party to advance your argument/advocacy.  Here are some hyperlinks to examples:

 

Neurolinguist George Lakoff on How Framing & Metaphors

Are More Persuasive Than Evidence

This warrant-based argument by Paka Davis  emphasizes the rhetorical claim and warrant and relies on the power of language alone.  Davis frames sustainability education as the job requirements of the EPA and the Department of Education, but also as the moral obligation of human beings.

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This warrant-based argument by Grayson Scott incorporates images as  support for the claim and warrant.  This is a philosophical argument in which Scott uses the concepts of academic freedom and scientific integrity as warrants.  This version relies on the power of language and the power of images. 

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Here below is  an example of a student-generated syllogism, composed  in PowerPoint and saved as a "movie," uploaded to YouTube, and embedded in this website.