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A Rulebook for Arguments Paperback – 30 Apr 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co, Inc; 3rd Revised edition edition (30 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872205525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872205529
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 572,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Anthony Weston

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I was studying as an undergraduate, I toyed with the idea of becoming a philosophy major. I ultimately did not pursue that particular field (opting for the areas of politics and religious studies, then venturing on to history, mathematics, astronomy, and ultimately theology) but I did take among my earliest courses a sequence of lectures in logic, including symbolic logic. I cannot express the value of this training adequately for all of my subsequent courses of study, but I also find it difficult to recommend the 700-page textbook to my students today who have problems crafting arguments and seeing the problems inherent in certain types of argumentation when they have little grounding and even less time for formal logic.
This is where this book by Weston comes in most handy. Weston's 'A Rulebook for Arguments' is a concise, accessible and very practical book for anyone looking to write or craft persuasive, coherent and consistent lines of reasoning. The first chapter gives seven basic principles that anyone who wishes to convince or persuade should know, whether they be arguing before a judge, a debating panel, a teacher, or even in a friendly pub conversation -- principles such as using natural order of argumentation, avoiding loaded language, being consistent in terminology, and starting from realistic and reliable premises.
From these basic and reasonable pieces, Weston develops more formal systems for argumentation -- Arguments by Example, by Analogy, from Authority, about Causes, and Deductive Arguments. Each of these systems are useful in and of themselves, as well as in relation to each other, but all have specific rules for application. What constitutes an Argument from Authority, for example? Who or what is authoritative? What are the limitations on this type of argument?
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By A Customer on 20 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
Only a small volume, but small can be beautiful. Anthony Weston has put together a very useful aide memoir for students, or anyone, needing the tools to handle academic argument. I would say essential for anyone starting out in essay writing...
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Format: Paperback
Other books I have looked at on this topic have taken a far more academic approach which greatly lessened the appeal of casual self-study. 'A Rulebook for Argument' is extremely clear in its explanation of the elements of an argument and provides a simple framework for being able to both create and tackle given propositions.

Whilst the book is quite short, it gives ample information to allow readers to tackle the meatier books on the subject and is easy to read with good examples. A great starting point.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When we hear that two friends have had an argument, we think of them falling out, of having "a verbal fistfight" and possibly even a real one, and of this being not at all a good thing (although our ears still prick up). In his introduction to this excellent little book, Anthony Weston provides a more positive account: "to give an argument" means "to offer a set of reasons or evidence in support of a conclusion". This kind of argument is neither simply a statement of certain views nor a dispute, but an attempt to support those views with reasons. "Not all views are equal. Some conclusions can be supported by good reasons; others have much weaker support." Argument is essential "because it is a way of trying to find out which views are better than others".

As the title implies, Weston's approach is not intended to be definitive. Brevity is one of the book's virtues, and he takes seriously his own rule 4: "Be concrete and concise". Good reasoning is so important, mastery of the basics so elusive, that focusing on a few fundamentals is a worthwhile strategy. The trouble is, most of us imagine we are well-enough equipped already, so why bother with a book like this? That it's always the other person who is not being reasonable should give us pause: could we ever be that "other person"? Given how often even these few rules are broken in everyday life, and given how easy it is to remain unaware of their transgression, the answer is of course yes. Equally obviously, those most in need of a dose of logical thinking will be among the least likely to pick up a book like this.
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This is very useful for any university student, whatever degree discipline you are studying. It allows you to refresh and rethink your essay technique and how to structure arguments more effectively, more informatively and make them more relative and concise with the knowledge you are attempting to share. When producing essays, speeches, presentations or other documents it makes you more aware of how readers consume your text and how to express points more effectively without losing the readers interest or understanding.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When we hear that two friends have had an argument, we think of them falling out, of having "a verbal fistfight" and possibly even a real one, and of this being not at all a good thing (although our ears still prick up). In his introduction to this excellent little book, Anthony Weston provides a more positive account: "to give an argument" means "to offer a set of reasons or evidence in support of a conclusion". This kind of argument is neither simply a statement of certain views nor a dispute, but an attempt to support those views with reasons. "Not all views are equal. Some conclusions can be supported by good reasons; others have much weaker support." Argument is essential "because it is a way of trying to find out which views are better than others".

As the title implies, Weston's approach is not intended to be definitive. Brevity is one of the book's virtues, and he takes seriously his own rule 4: "Be concrete and concise". Good reasoning is so important, mastery of the basics so elusive, that focusing on a few fundamentals is a worthwhile strategy. The trouble is, most of us imagine we are well-enough equipped already, so why bother with a book like this? That it's always the other person who is not being reasonable should give us pause: could we ever be that "other person"? Given how often even these few rules are broken in everyday life, and given how easy it is to remain unaware of their transgression, the answer is of course yes. Equally obviously, those most in need of a dose of logical thinking will be among the least likely to pick up a book like this.
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