Then, you refine your original thesis to say something like this:. This also takes away some of the reasons a reader might have to disagree with you. Some counter-arguments are better than others. You want to use ones that are actually somewhat persuasive. Two things to look for are reasonableness and popularity. On the other hand, you may be quite sure of your position, which makes it harder to see other views as reasonable.
They all look flawed to you because you can point out their errors and show why your view is better. In that case, look for ones that are popular, even if they are flawed. So you want to speak their language. Pick the arguments that you, or a lot of other people, feel are reasonable.
The short answer is a counter-argument can go anywhere except the conclusion. This is because there has to be a rebuttal paragraph after the counter-argument, so if the counter-argument is in the conclusion, something has been left out. In practice there are exceptions , the rebuttal is usually not the concluding paragraph, which means that generally the counter-argument is anywhere but the last two paragraphs.
Counter-arguments can be very effective in introductions, especially if you are arguing against a popularly held view. This is probably the most common position. Generally, unless there is some compelling reason specific to the particular argument being made, it does not make sense to put the counter-argument in the middle of the case for the thesis.
In other words, you would not typically present two points in support of the thesis, then the counter-argument and rebuttal, and then more points in support of the thesis. Here are two outlines showing the most common placement of the counter-argument. The first is probably the most common. Since the purpose of the whole paper, including the counter-argument, is to support the thesis, these signals are crucial. Without them the paper appears incoherent and contradictory.
In his majisterial work on representation in western literature, a foundational text in the discipline, Auerbach argues that the mixture of styles is an essential ingredient of all modern realism, a view that has found wide acceptance in the half-century since its publication. Typical introductory strategies include the following:. If the counter-argument requires careful signaling, so does the rebuttal. In all cases, the job of this transitional language is to show the reader that the opposing view is now being answered.
The essay has returned to arguing its own thesis, strengthened by having taken the opposition into account. Here are some typical strategies. These are generic examples; they work best when tailored to suit the specifics of the individual topic. Loewen, James.
New York: Touchstone, Content Why use counter-argument? How should a counter-argument be presented? How can a counter-argument be rebutted? What makes a good counter-argument? Organization Where does the counter-argument go? How should the counter-argument be introduced? How should the rebuttal be introduced?
Why would you include a counter-argument in your essay? Top How should a counter-argument be presented? Top How can a counter-argument be rebutted? Top Faulty Values Who cares if students are racist? Top When should a counter-argument be conceded? Top What makes a good counter-argument?
Theorist and critic Neil Postman calls argument the soul of an education because argument forces a writer to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of multiple perspectives. When teachers ask students to consider two or more perspectives on a topic or issue, something far beyond surface knowledge is required: students must think critically and deeply, assess the validity of their own thinking, and anticipate counterclaims in opposition to their own assertions.
Materials Computers with Internet access, Debatable Issues handout. Warm-Up If your students have ever successfully negotiated anything with their parents, friends or teachers, chances are they already know something about counterarguments. Connect to student experience by opening your investigation with a role-play activity.
Distribute the following scenarios to pairs of students. First, students should brainstorm possible arguments to be used by each side and use what they come up with to create a script of the ensuing conversation. When students are ready, ask for several groups to perform. At the conclusion of each role-play, ask the audience which party had the more convincing argument and talk about why. Explain that just as happened in these scenarios, writing an argument is really about completely understanding all aspects of an issue, so that you can take an educated, logical stance and anticipate rebuttals.
The N. While President Obama and officials assured Americans that the N. James Woolsey, a former director of the C. But at a time when Americans are largely opposed to foreign interference look at how people responded to military action in Syria , these actions taken by the N. Finally, the N. However, an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. In this case, this constant back and forth spying is meaningless, derailing the N.
The drug war is failing for the same reason that prohibition did in the s. Supply for alcohol was cut, while the demand still existed. This gave power to criminals who were willing to break the law to supply alcohol and make quick money.
This is more true now than it was in the s. Because of a more globalized economy, better-established and more easily accessible trade routes, smuggling drugs into the country is easier than ever for cartels. The flawed logic here is that the drug war is something that can be won: If enough shipments are confiscated, or enough dealers are busted, the supply will end and drug abuse will cease to exist.
As long as demand exists from the United States for illegal drugs, there will always be someone willing to supply it. Together, note on the board the strategies each writer uses to introduce counterarguments and then how they turn back to their own positions. This gives students a template for how to finesse counterarguments in their own writing and gives them a framework for thinking in this way.
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