The Making of Arguments eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about The Making of Arguments.

    4.  Has the plan succeeded in other places largely because of its

    5.  Will the liability to recall keep officials from initiating new
    policies for fear of unpopularity?

In some cases it will be hard to reduce the number of issues to a manageable number; in others, for special reasons, it may be possible to treat a part of them only at length.  In such cases one can always adopt the device of an imaginary “next chapter” or “to be continued in our next.”  In considering how many issues you can deal with satisfactorily, however, you must not leave out of account contentions on the other side that must be refuted; and in choosing among the possible main issues you must always exercise judgment.  Many points which might be argued are not worth the space it would take to deal with them; but not infrequently you will have to let points that have some weight give place to others that have more.

It is not to be expected that the points made by the two sides will always exactly pair off, for the considerations which make for a course of action may be different in kind from those which make against it.  Sometimes one side will contribute more to the final number of main issues, sometimes the other.  Ordinarily your own side will give you the larger number of points that you think worth arguing out, for an affirmative and constructive argument usually makes more impression than a negative one.

Notebook.  Enter the chief points which might be made on the two sides of your question.  Then, after studying them and comparing them, enter the main issues which you decide to argue out.

(The contentions on the two sides and the main issues for the model argument will be found on pages 74-77.)


Take one of the questions on pages 10-12, with which you have some acquaintance, and obtain the main issues by noting down first the points which might be urged on the two sides.

NOTE.  This exercise is a good one for class work.  Let the class suggest the points, and write them, as they come, on the blackboard.  Then call for criticism and discussion of them, in order to come to the main issues.

22.  The Agreed Statement of Facts.  Now that you have compared the points on which the two sides disagree, you can pick out the points on which they agree, and decide which of the latter will enter into the discussion.  You are therefore in a position to draw up the agreed statement of facts, in which you will sum up compactly so much of the history of the case, of the origin of the present question, and other relevant facts and necessary definitions, as will be needed to understand the brief.  The style of this statement should be strictly expository, and there should be nothing in it to which both sides could not agree.  It should be similar to the statements of facts in courts of law, which are sent up with the briefs when a case is appealed on a point of legal principle.

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The Making of Arguments from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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