Describe the conditions in which alternative positions may be valid.

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Read your classmates’ posts and choose one to respond to. Point out for your classmate what the warrants are in their paragraph (remember, a warrant is an assumption which provides a logical connection between the claim and the reason). Do the warrants seem valid? Evaluate the use of qualifiers in the paragraph. Are there places qualifiers could be added to increase the accuracy of the writer’s position or claim? Finally, offer some general feedback and let your classmate know if they are headed in the right direction.
Classmate Post:
Body Paragraph
There is a point in most people’s lives to decide about pursuing a higher education. For some it comes right after high school, for others it comes later. Is the decision made to get further ahead in a specific field? is it made to get a promotion or a different career? Whatever the reason, sometimes there is not always a choice when it happens. College has been viewed by many as a steppingstone for younger adults to experience what it is like to live with a little more freedom and learn how to apply their education in the real world. But what happens when the real world happens first? There are many adults who have had to face the harsh reality that their education must wait, possibly to prepare for an expecting baby, to pay some overdue bills, to pay for a child’s college education. Going back to school at any age for any reason gives someone a sense of accomplishment, flexibility, and personal growth. An education never expires, and for some neither does the desire to obtain it. Today there are more flexible options for adults to obtain a higher education than there was 20 years ago. With many colleges offering online courses and degree programs in a variety of different fields and people can complete them on their schedule in their own space. What is the point of obtaining a higher education in the later years of life? At what age is too old to go back to school? The answer is, it is never too late and there is no age limit. Some studies show that older adult learners preform better in school in later years because they have more patience and life experience that prepares them and helps them achieve their educational goals. A survey done by PNC Financial Services found that retirees 70 or older, 58 percent retired sooner than they had planned to. Some of those people may not want to stay retired, but they need to sharpen their skill set to land a new job (CBS NEWS).
CBS NEWS. Back to School: Older Students on the Rise in College Classrooms. 28 August 2014. Website. 07 January 2022. <>.
Assignment based on the following:
Commentary 5: Toulmin and Rogerian Arguments
-This week we will address two types of argumentative styles that present alternative strategies to the confrontational style of argument prominent in American media and political debates today. Both of these invitational styles encourage writers to create a more reasonable (and thereby more persuasive) stance by listening to and representing alternative perspectives in a fair and respectful manner. Both also encourage a deep exploration of the validity of outside claims. By testing the strength of other people’s positions, you will be in a position to refute counterarguments and strengthen your own position about an issue.
Toulmin Arguments
A detailed descriiption of Toulmin arguments is covered in this week’s reading (“Organizing Your Argument (Links to an external site.)”). In sum, the Toulmin argument is characterized by the following argumentative building blocks:
• Claims (what you want to prove)
• Qualifiers (limits to your claim)
• Reasons / evidence (support for your claim)
• Warrants (assumptions that support your claim)
• Backing (evidence for a warrant).
• Conditions of rebuttal (potential objections to an argument)
In a Toulmin argument, conditions of rebuttal are an essential part of a successful argument. The way you anticipate and respond to potential objections to your argument can not only bolster your ethos, but it can also give you a deeper appreciation for reasonable people who see the world differently than you.
Rogerian Arguments
The Rogerian style of argumentation is based off of the work of psychologist Carl Rogers. Rogers observed in his therapy sessions that people were motivated to change when they felt heard and understood. Rogers worked to create a communication style through which conflicting parties could respond to each other “fully, fairly, and even sympathetically.” Sensing the value of his work, scholars of rhetoric adapted the principles of non-confrontation, pioneered by Rogers, for use in persuasive arguments.
Rogerian arguments are based on the assumption that if a reader and a writer can establish common ground about a conflict of interest, they are more likely to find a solution to that problem.
Rogerian arguments are characterized by the following values:
• Building common ground
• Using neutral and respectful language
• Finding mutually beneficial solutions
Crafting a Rogerian Argument
A Rogerian argument is crafted using the following components:

o Introduction: Describe an issue, a problem, or a conflict that demonstrates that you fully understand and respect alternative positions.
o Context: Describe the conditions in which alternative positions may be valid.
o Your position: State your position about the issue and address why the alternative conditions you described earlier have not prevented or solved the problem you are addressing
o Why your position is valid: Use good reasons and evidence (evidence should be sufficient, accurate, relevant, and typical) to support your position on the issue.
o Objections to your position:Recognize where a reader might disagree with your claim and address her concern.
o Mutually beneficial solutions: Explain to opponents how they will benefit from adopting your position.
In a Rogerian argument you should only present your position after you have identified the problem in as non-threatening a way as possible and presented yourself as fair-minded by focusing on what you share in common with your audience.
You might think of your claim as an invitation rather than a confrontation. To create a more inviting stance, you can:

o Qualify your claim where necessary
o Maintain a position that is in the interest of all concerned parties
o Be intentional and careful about how emotionally charged you want your language to be
Avoiding Honorific and Pejorative Language
Rogers suggests that writer should adopt a neutral tone where possible. With this in mind, it may be helpful to discuss honorific and pejorative language. “Honorific language treats people and things respectfully whereas pejorative language disparages and downplays them. That is, honorific and pejorative language convey value judgments” (Selzer 55). It’s worth scanning your position argument to look for subtle or obvious uses of honorific or pejorative language.
In preparation for writing your position argument, you will most likely encounter sources that don’t always agree with you or with each other. Openly acknowledging these differences and allowing readers to make their own judgments about a source is important in academic writing.
As you evaluate your own position, consider the objections your readers might have and to respond to those counterarguments directly in your essay. Below are some valid reasons why a reader might not agree with you.
Your reader might resist your argument by pointing out:

o A problem with your reasoning;
o A different conclusion that could be drawn from the same facts;
o Practical drawbacks to what you propose;
o An alternative proposal that makes more sense than yours.
Once you have described an opposing position fairly, refute the opposing perspective.
You can refute a alternative perspective by:

o demonstrating how opposing views are limited or unsatisfactory;
o demonstrating that your solution will be more beneficial than alternatives;
o presenting additional information that is compelling;
o matching an appeal with a counter appeal (ethos for ethos / pathos for pathos);
o acknowledging the limitations of your own argument, buy restating its validity;
o showing that the alternative position is based on a rhetorical fallacy;
o answering your reader’s questions.
Here are some sample phrases that signal you are refuting a counterargument:

o “What this argument overlooks/fails to consider/does not take into account is…”
o “While this position is popular, it is not supported by facts/not logical/impractical…”
o “Although the core of this claim is valid, it suffers from a flaw in its reasoning/application/etc…”
Example: “While Auerbach’s claim seems initially plausible, and is backed by the copious evidence provided by his astonishing erudition, it is marred by an inconsistency that derives from an unsupportable and ultimately incoherent definition.”
Using Signal Phrases
In the position argument, it is important for readers to be able to distinguish between when you are expressing your own ideas about and issue and when you are citing an outside source’s opinions about an issue. This is especially true when you are introducing counterarguments. You don’t want readers to mistake a counterargument as your opinion.
Below are some signal phrases to use when you want to introduce or describe a counterargument directly; these phrases help cue readers to the transition between your ideas and those of an outside source:
“Someone might object here that….”
“It might seem that….”
“It’s true that…”
“Of course…”
“But how…?”
“But why…?”
“But isn’t this just…?”
“But if this is so, what about…?”
Placing the Counterargument
As with all writing and argumentation there is no prescribed “right” place to incorporate a counterargument. However, there are some common organizational patterns for including a counterargument.

o At the beginning, as a way of setting the stage. In this approach, you lay out the expected reaction or standard position before turning away to develop your own opposing claim. Initial objections to an issue are brought up in the introduction. The rest of the argument is then set-up to address or refute those objections. This approach may be helpful for issues that are deeply polarized or issues where your target audience does not agree with the key definitions or values that inform your position. It may also be useful if your position deviates from your audience’s expectations.
o As a quick move within any body paragraph, addressing counterarguments as they come up. This approach may be helpful if readers accept the premise of your argument, but disagree with the details of your position. This approach has the advantage of being able to potentially address and refute counterarguments immediately as your argument progresses.
o Just before the conclusion, where objections for your entire argument are addressed collectively. This approach lays out your argument and then addresses the main objections before concluding with your rebuttal.This approach may be helpful if there are objections to your ideas or argument as a whole. Objections can then be dealt with as a group in your rebuttal and conclusion.
Examples of Effective Counterarguments
Example One:
“Another objection to an agency like First Place is that the short-term stay does no long-term good for the student. However, in talking with Michael Siptroth, a teacher at First Place, I learned that the individual attention the students receive helps many of them catch up in school quite quickly. He reported that some students actually made a three-grade-level improvement in one year”….Also, the students at First Place are in desperate situations. For most, any help is better than no help…”
From “First Place: A Healing School for Homeless Children” by Marybeth Hamilton in Writing an Argument, pg 133.
Example Two:
“The main controversy our class debated was whether the family had a worthy purpose in killing the starlings….Some people might argue, as several of my classmates did, that starlings are not the same as rats because rats get everywhere in your home while starlings do not. Rats and mice crawl along pipes and air ducts through walls. They get into your food supply, and their droppings can contaminate surfaces that people touch, making it easy to spread disease. These classmates claimed that because the starlings are confined to the attic and won’t get into the family’s food supply, they are less harmful than rats and don’t belong in the category of dangerous pests that you are justified in killing. Therefore, the family should have waited until the baby birds grew up and flew away before they fixed the vent screen.
This view, which illustrates how gray the area of animal cruelty is, has merit. I agree that the starlings in the attic do not pose the same health risks as mice and rats do. I also agree the family could have waited until the baby birds grew up and left the attic. However, these arguments neglect the damage that starlings can do in the attic and everything stored in it as well as the psychological damage caused by the noise. Starlings are much noisier than rats, and loss of sleep caused by loud and obnoxious birds is a serious problem. If you are awakened a couple of hours early every morning and can’t go back to sleep, you become less efficient at work, grumbling around in a bad mood. So the family was justified in getting rid of the starlings, but they were obliged to do so in a humane way.” From Writing an Argument.
Example Three:
“Every day, car alarms harass thoughts of New Yorkers—rousing sleepers, disturbing readers, interrupting conversations and contributing quality of life concerns that propel many weary residents to abandon the city for the suburbs. According to the Census Bureau, more New Yorkers are now bothered by traffic noise, including car alarms, than by any other aspect of city life, including crime or the condition of schools.
So there must be a compelling reason for us to endure all of this aggravation, right? Amazingly, no. Many car manufacturers, criminologists and insurers agree that car alarms are ineffective. When the Highway Loss Data Institute surveyed insurance-claims data from 73 million vehicles nationwide in 1997, they concluded that cars with alarms ‘show no overall reduction in theft losses’ compared with cars without alarms.”
From “All That Noise for Nothing” by Aaron Friedman. New York Times. December 11, 2003.
Additional Resources (Links to an external site.)
Toulmin Infographic
Information Contained Within the Infographic

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