How Do We Argue?

This week I paid attention to and tracked some of the rhetorical tactics people used in class.

  • Tuesday, March 31
    • Similes and metaphors: 5
    • Allusions/Examples: 14
    • Counter-arguments: 2
    • Theses/Statements: 2
  • Thursday, April 2
    • Similes and metaphors: 2
    • Allusions/Examples: 9
    • Counter-arguments: 1
    • Theses/Statements: 4

Some notes:

  • I can’t claim that this data is even remotely accurate. It was actually quite difficult to catch all of the comparisons, references, etc. that people make, and I’m sure I missed plenty. These tactics are so deeply ingrained in how we converse with one another that they seem less a distinct device and more a natural extension of our vocabulary.
  • I counted comparisons like “it’s kind of like a gigantic database” as similes/metaphors, and comparisons like “it’s like when X writes that it’s a gigantic database” as Allusions/Examples.
  • One thing is clear, though we like to argue in the sense that we voice our opinions, but we certainly shy away from arguing with each other. I only counted a few examples of people responding to an argument with their own rebuttal or counter-example, and I think all of these belonged to Dr. Sample, actually.
  • Theses/Statements just refers to any broad conjectures or conclusions people made; e.g. “the data collected about us forms a ‘data double'”

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