Types of argument

Arguments can be divided into several classes:

  • arguments of definition (e.g,. a claim that answers the question Is water-boarding a form of torture? Note such arguments must define the “class”–in this case torture–and then provide evidence that the “sample item” does or does not fit into the class)
  • evaluations (these are claims of value, commonly found as reviews of restaurants, books, movies, political candidates, car models; e.g., a claim that answers the question Is Saw XXIII a good horror movie? Here we set up a class–horror move–, generate a set of criteria by which we can judge these movies, and measure our item to be reviewed against this set of criteria.)
  • causal arguments (which, pretty obviously, claim that X caused Y as in something like “Child abuse creates child abusers”)
  • proposals (which identify a problem or set of problems to which they offer a solution; these often include the word “should” as in “BCC should provide laptops to all students to reduce the expense of textbooks, to create a ‘greener’ campus, and to ensure equal access to technology”)