Argument

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Hi. I’m Adrienne Christiansen, a faculty member in the Political Science Department at Macalester College and the subject of this microlecture is argument. I admit it. I love a good argument. But in saying that, I don’t mean to suggest that I enjoy participating in, say, the verbal equivalent of warfare. In fact, exactly the opposite. I’m using the term, argument, in its ancient, traditional sense. Aristotle, of the ancient Greek world, wrote about arguments at length and he noted that arguments have two parts: they have a claim, which is a statement that is contestable or that is over which they may disagree and they have evidence. An argument with no evidence is no argument at all. It is merely an assertion. So if you want people to agree with your position, or to draw the same kind of conclusions that you are, you need to provide them with a clear, contestable claim that is supported by good evidence and good reasoning. So go ahead. Have an argument with someone. In higher education, we want you to. I wish you good luck, and write well.