The Aristotelian or classical argument is a style of argument developed by the famous Greek philosopher and rhetorician, Aristotle. In this style of argument, your goal as a writer is to convince your audience of something. The goal is to use a series of strategies to persuade your audience to adopt your side of the issue. Although ethos, pathos, and logos play a role in any argument, this style of argument utilizes them in the most persuasive ways possible.
Of course, your professor may require some variations, but here is the basic format for an Aristotelian, or classical, argumentative essay:
- Introduce your issue. At the end of your introduction, most professors will ask you to present your thesis. The idea is to present your readers with your main point and then dig into it.
- Present your case by explaining the issue in detail and why something must be done or a way of thinking is not working. This will take place over several paragraphs.
- Address the opposition. Use a few paragraphs to explain the other side. Refute the opposition one point at a time.
- Provide your proof. After you address the other side, you’ll want to provide clear evidence that your side is the best side.
- Present your conclusion. In your conclusion, you should remind your readers of your main point or thesis and summarize the key points of your argument. If you are arguing for some kind of change, this is a good place to give your audience a call to action. Tell them what they could do to make a change.
For a visual representation of this type of argument, check out the Aristotelian infographic on the next page.
What is a Classical Argument Essay?
The speaker/writer has at least three tasks in the introductory part of a classical argument. These are: (1) to warm up to the audience, (2) to establish a connection or "rapport" with the audience, and (3) to state the general claim of the argument.
This is where the speaker/writer has to provide a summary of the background information relevant to the argument. This is also where the speaker/writer outlines the circumstances that lead to the claim and its corresponding consequences. In some examples of classical arguments, the narration comes together with the introduction.
This is where the speaker/writer gives the supporting evidence to the claim. Supporting facts and opinion from authority are usually included in this section. The stronger the link between the supporting evidence and the claim, the stronger the argument of the speaker/writer will be. This is also the part where the claim is elaborated. A typical technique used in the confirmation section of a classical argument is the Toulmin technique.
This is where the opposing claims are presented or acknowledged, and then addressed accordingly. In most cases, counter-examples are best used as counter-arguments for the opposing claims. This is also the part of the classical argument where the speaker/writer anticipates possible objection to his claim and addresses them appropriately.
This is the final part of the classical argument where the speaker/writer summarizes the main points and reiterates the claim. In some cases, speakers/writers using this form of argument end with an appeal to the emotion of the reader or audience.
In summary, the Classical Argument is a basic approach to the art of persuasion. It contains the essential parts of any persuasive argument. Its transition is logical, making it an easy-to-use technique without sacrificing the quality of the transition of thoughts. You may also want to know more about Rhetorical Arguments.
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