Analysis: A Rulebook for Arguments - Ch. 1

In Chapter One, we are introduced to six specific kinds of shorts of arguments. All of which, support Weston’s primary intention to describe arguments as a channel for more concise and organized reasoning.
   The first specific kind of short argument is identifying premises and conclusion. When arguing, according to Weston, what needs to be done is knowing what you’re going to say. “What is your conclusion?” It’s common for people to become flummoxed mid-sentence because they didn’t thoroughly think about what they were going to say. It’s important to understand that the potency of arguments are mainly dependent on conclusions because conclusions are “the statement for which you are giving reasons”: “The statement that gives your reasons are your premises.” Always ask what makes what is being said, the conclusion is sufficiently supported by reasons to prove why your end is the way it is. Weston wants us to utilize his book to be able to develop our own argument’s premises. In conclusion, to attempt not to make your conclusion and supporting facts too generalized, but rather, to always be specific about your proposition.
The second point Weston wants to make in the first chapter of the book is to develop your ideas in a natural order. When developing a short argument, you always want to introduce your conclusion and follow up with potent reasons for why you are making that statement. Or, however, set out your premise first and then draw the outcome in the end. Both of which, Weston, mentions are effective ways to unfold your line of thinking “most clearly for the reader.” Weston emphasizes that getting an argument to unravel so seamlessly is truly an accomplishment. In regards to the excerpt from Bertrand Russell, an interesting technique Weston introduced was turning the seamless short argument upside down: placing the last sentence in place of the first ones and so forth. By doing this, he created a much more passive argument where the conclusion was included first, and the main ideas followed, which did not seem as effective, but they both had the same premise and argument. In conclusion, an arrangement in short arguments, especially, is crucial.
In Weston’s next point, he introduces the importance of having a reliable premise. Essentially, having an ambiguous or unclear conclusion or basis for the argument is not effective and, in fact, not a “serious defense.” It is simpler for you to develop from a reliable premise as to not congest your argument with unnecessary points: “If you cannot argue adequately for your premise(s), then, of course, you need to try some other premise.”
In line with Weston’s previous point, it’s necessary to be concrete and concise, or you can end up losing “everyone in a fog of words.” Almost comically, Weston introduced an example of two different introductions: one was an additional wordy intro that encapsulated the main idea and a brief and effective near-10-word sentence.
Weston’s fifth point is to build on substance, not overtone. When “playing” on an overtone of words, it quickly falls into confusing statements. Weston includes an example in which an argument posing to fix America’s railroads is overpowered by the “emotional charge” and offers no actual reasons for the conclusion. Weston states, “In general, if you can’t imagine how anyone could hold the view you are attacking, you probably just don’t understand it yet.”
Lastly, Weston wants to introduce the effectiveness of using consistent terms. Weston concludes that short arguments usually have a “single theme or thread” and that for the sake of accuracy and clarity to use echoing words: words that pertain to the main idea. As an example, Weston introduces two paragraphs, one of which has no common word or no repeating words as to solidify the argument. On the other hand, the other utilizes much more correct word usage and choice, creating a clear and compelling case. He mentions that using repeating words can begin to sound overly repetitive, but that “the logic depends on clear connections between premises and between premises and conclusion.” Lastly, Weston mentions that you might feel the urge to reach for the thesaurus but to “not go there!” Stay concise and use consistent terms for each idea.

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