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literary argument

Definition of Argument

❶While intention can cause us logical problems either because of the intentional fallacy which concerns intrinsic data and is a variety of circular reasoning or because of an evidentiary fallacy which concerns the limits to the application of extrinsic data in interpretation , the biographical fallacy is simply a variety of evidentiary fallacy.

Definition of Argumentative Essay

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Common Examples of Ad Hominem

And Alice does go in tree tops, the bird declares. Well, now I seem to, Alice admits, but not usually. Well, if you're not a serpent, then you don't eat eggs. Oh, yes, Alice says, I eat eggs. Then, the bird concludes, you're long, in tree tops, and eat eggs, so you're a serpent. What's going on here?

Carroll is demonstrating that the meanings of words vary from user to user and different viewpoints may have practical utility even without logical validity. Obviously Alice and the bird have not agreed on the meanings of serpent or girl. From the bird's viewpoint, Alice is a serpent because she has three characteristics that are necessary and sufficient to define a serpent. From Alice's viewpoint, those characteristics are neither true of her she isn't usually tall nor sufficient to define a serpent serpents, for example, don't have legs but Alice does, even if the bird hasn't noticed them because the foliage obscures the bird's view of Alice below her neck.

As Alice sees the debate, the bird has asserted a definition of serpent which Alice happens to reject and then scolds Alice for fulfilling that definition. Where did the bird get that definition of serpent? She got it from her understanding of what matters in the world as she sees it. In other words, the bird's conclusion that Alice is a serpent is based on premises that the bird wants to impose on Alice's understanding. To put this more generally and in terms of literary argument, the bird reads the world as providing a certain definition of serpent and from that reading the bird concludes that Alice is a serpent.

The problem is, the bird's inference of the definition is wrong and her understanding of Alice is limited. The bird's definition is, in fact, itself an assertion that requires logical support, but there is no logical support for the definition. The definition is merely the bird's inadequate reading of the narrative world, her imposition on that world of her own understanding.

The definition comes first and then the supposed proof is based on that definition. This is proving something at the end by making logical deductions from premises that themselves contain the conclusion. Looping from the end to the beginning that way is called circular reasoning. Circular reasoning often sounds right, as it does to the bird, but it is invalid nonetheless. It is invalid not because the definition of serpent is false which it is to humans but because the structure of the reasoning is basically this: I see the following; therefore the following is what I am seeing.

That is circular reasoning. It is often hard to recognize reasoning as circular because the steps between the first and last may be many or because we may have the feeling that there are suppressed premises that are nonetheless pleasant and clinch the connections. But once we notice circular reasoning, we need to repair it because circular reasoning is always invalid.

Even if its conclusions, like the conclusion that Socrates the cat is mortal or that the bird sees what she considers to be a serpent, is true. In the intentional fallacy, one infers from a text that the author "intended" to accomplish a certain goal and then uses that inference in interpreting other parts of the text. In a famous instance, many people inferred that "The Shortest Way with the Dissenters" was simply too violent in its suggestions of how those who dissented from the authority of the Church of England should be treated.

Indeed, some clergymen said from their pulpits, that while dissent was obviously corrosive, such strict measures, although attractive, had to be understood as un-Christian and rejected. Other clergymen, though, did accept these measures as necessary. Only when people realized that the author was Daniel Defoe, a famous Dissenter, did those clergymen realize that the pamphlet was a satire.

They had interpreted each part on the ground that they already knew the author's intention. Of course, what it turns out they knew was their own desire to see Dissenters as warranting stern treatment. The misreading, no matter how psychologically understandable, was logically invalid. It was an argument that reached conclusions rejection or agreement with the proposals based on an initial premise about the author's intention.

As a matter of logic, it is simply invalid to infer intention within a text and then on the basis of the inference interpret other aspects of the text so as to demonstrate that very inference of intention.

This is a term I use for mistakes based on the illogical application of extrinsic evidence. The most common evidentiary fallacy involves authorial intention. One might agree that the intentional fallacy is disabling because it draws inferences from intrinsic data to support conclusions about the very document in which those data are intrinsic. But what about using extrinsic data? What if an author writes a letter to a friend and says what was intended in the book?

Well, such extrinsic evidence is certainly suggestive. A good critic will seek to see if that intention seems to have been realized in the text and, if so, to what effects, and if not, why not.

But while extrinsic evidence of authorial intent can and should be suggestive, we cannot infer that the extrinsic intention actually demonstrates that something in the text should be interpreted a certain way. This is so for three reasons. First, the author could be lying. Authors, after all, make things up for a living.

William Faulkner consistently asserted that the reason his characters with the same names changed from book to book is that the characters lived in his head and, like people, they just changed during the time between writings. Had Faulkner shown any other signs of hearing voices, one might have taken this as in some sense true; however, at best one can call Faulkner's response an evasive metaphor. At worst, Faulkner was just lying. But he did it consistently.

We can't, in other words, simply trust an author to tell us what he or she is really trying to do. Second, the author could have had the stated intention but failed to achieve it. If authors could always fulfill their intentions, they would never write any book worse than their best. In the "eats like a bird" passage above, it is easily conceivable that the person who we can see may be jealous of the slender "she" might have no conscious recognition of harboring that jealousy.

In short, while seeking knowledge of intention is normal and useful, even extrinsic knowledge about intention cannot be used to demonstrate logically that a certain bit of text must be interpreted a certain way. It may, though, add weight to the suggestion that it is plausible to interpret the text a certain way.

For example, if a person states an opinion and another person calls their credibility into question, this may be a perfectly relevant response that invalidates the opinion. It is common to find examples of ad hominem arguments in political debates. Here are some examples of the different types of ad hominem from politicians:. Authors generally use ad hominem examples in their works of literature to point out the biases of characters.

When the reader is able to see the way that certain characters attack or criticize other characters there is a clearer understanding of the personality and motivations of that initial character. When a character engages in ad hominem attacks, the reader is less likely to trust that character. A maiden never bold, Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion Blushed at herself.

And she, in spite of nature, Of years, of country, credit, everything, To fall in love with what she feared to look on?

It is a judgment maimed and most imperfect That will confess perfection so could err. Against all rules of nature, and must be driven To find out practices of cunning hell Why this should be.

His arguments are unfounded, and Desdemona disabuses him of his biases. There are two major models besides this structure given above, which is called a classical model. Two other models are the Toulmin and Rogerian models.

Toulmin model is comprised of an introduction with a claim or thesis, followed by presentation of data to support the claim. Warrants are then listed for the reasons to support the claim with backing and rebuttals. However, the Rogerian model asks to weigh two options, lists strengths and weaknesses of both options, and gives a recommendation after an analysis. When we benefit from CT scanners, M.

These two paragraphs present an argument about two scientific fields — digital products and biotechnology. It has also given full supporting details with names.

Common Argument Examples

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Argument Definition An argument is the main statement of a poem, an essay, a short story, or a novel, which usually appears as an introduction, or a point on which the writer will develop his work in order to convince his readers.

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Definition of Argument. Originally, an argument in literature was a brief prose summary of the poem or section of the poem that was to follow. Argument examples could be found in many Renaissance works as ways to orient the reader to .

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Noun 1. literary argument - a summary of the subject or plot of a literary work or play or movie; "the editor added the argument to the poem" summary, sum-up - a brief statement that presents the main points in a concise form; "he gave a summary of the conclusions" Want to thank TFD for its. Definition of Argumentative Essay. An argumentative essay is a type of essay that presents arguments about both sides of an issue. It could be that both sides are presented equally balanced, or it could be that one side is presented more forcefully than the other.

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The literary term of Argument is covered in this multiple choice quiz. Please review the definition and examples before you complete the Argument quiz. Definition and a list of examples of ad hominem. Ad hominem is a response to a person’s argument by attacking the person’s character rather than logic. Literary Devices.