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Sometimes we forget that agreement doesn’t have to be the end of a conversation. The process of assessing an argument starts us thinking about all the issues it brings up, and primes us to add our own two cents.
Suggest further implications
We can suggest a new idea that takes the argument we assessed a step further. Can we draw an additional conclusion? Maybe we think the argument's claim should lead us to action. Maybe we think that the claim could be expanded to include other cases or situations.
Here are a few ways to introduce a further implication of an argument that we agree with:
- The idea that _____________ could apply to _____________ as well.
- Beyond _____________, X’s argument has implications for _____________.
- This argument shows how important it is that we take action on _____________.
- If we accept the idea that _____________, as we should, then the time has come to _____________.
- Given X’s points, shouldn’t we consider _____________?
Give a new reason
Sometimes we may agree with an argument’s claim, but for a different reason. In that case, we can make an original contribution just by pointing out the alternate reason. In other cases, we might just want to add one or more reasons to the list already covered by the argument. Maybe we are aware of evidence from another reading or from our own experience, or maybe we see a whole different line of reasoning which also leads us to the same conclusion.
For example, we noted in Section 4.4 that in the argument below, the reason was the same as the claim, so the claim had no support at all (a fallacy called circular reasoning).
Anyone born in the United States has a right to citizenship because citizenship here depends on birth, not ethnicity or family history of immigration.
As a response to that argument, we could suggest a better reason for the same claim:
Anyone born in the United States has a right to citizenship because the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship.
Here are a few phrases to introduce alternate or additional reasons for a claim:
- Better evidence for _____________ lies in _____________.
- Another reason why _____________ is that _____________.
- The fact that _____________ provides further support for X’s claim.
- My own experience has also shown that _____________ , which leads me to agree with X.
- I have seen firsthand how _____________.
- In addition to the evidence X gives, it is also worth considering that _____________.
Explain why the argument matters
We can offer our own explanation for why the argument matters. This might be a point from another reading we’ve done, an abstract idea, a personal experience, or an anecdote of someone we know. Often, explaining why the argument matters will involve appealing to emotion or trust, which we will look at in-depth in Chapters 8 and 9.
Here are some phrases for underscoring the importance of an argument:
- X’s claim is important because _____________.
- This is especially concerning because _____________.
- We should take note of this since _____________.
Suggest a way to spread the word
If we found the argument both valid and important, we are probably motivated to spread the word. Who needs to know about this argument, and what would be the best way to share it with them? For example, if we agree with another author that drone deliveries would pose a significant threat to privacy, we might then encourage readers to write to their Congressional representatives and post on social media about this threat.
The following phrases suggest ways to spread the word:
- We could help spread awareness of _____________ by _____________.
- The idea that _____________ should be taught in _____________ classes.
- We should all talk to those we know about _____________.
Choose an argument about immigration that you mostly agree with, such as “The Weight of the World” by Saramanda Swigart, “Wouldn’t We All Cross the Border” by Anna Mills, or another of your choosing. Find a way to add your own point to it by explaining why it matters, giving a new reason, suggesting further implications, or suggesting a way to spread the word. Consider using a phrase from this section.