In-class Evaluation Task


Establishing Conditions of Rebuttal

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This quiz will help you:

  • Understand reasonable objections from people who hold a different opinion than you do
  • Detect possible weaknesses to your argument, in order to set up a defense for them

Using the Toulmin model of argumentation, you will now anticipate potential objections to your argument. State at least three views contrary to your own position in favorable words. By stating opposing positions in favorable words, you'll be better able to grasp the warrants at issue and the commonalties you share with other positions. Then devise strategies for dealing with these objections. Be sure to identify those objections that are most likely to come to your audience's minds.

We're still going to use the examples we've been doing. Notice I just add the potential rebuttals onto the end of what I already had. For the quiz, all you have to write are the rebuttals and responses for three reasons instead of all six. Since the opposite side to this argument would be that Luke is a more interesting character than Han Solo, I've got to put myself in the shoes of Luke's fans and anticipate what they might say to defend him.

Claim: In Star Wars: Episode IV, Han Solo is a much more interesting character than the actual lead, Luke Skywalker.

Audience: People who have seen Star Wars: Episode IV.

Reason 1: Han Solo is a complex character.

Grounds for Reason 1: Han Solo isn't all good or all bad. He has conflicting feelings, wayward tendencies, but a good heart. That makes him more complex than Luke who, on the other hand, is Mr. Virtue. Dressed all in white, he never seems conflicted.

Warrant for Reason 1: People with flaws are more complex that people who are all good or all bad.

Backing: Does everyone agree that people with flaws are more complex, or are there some people who feel like complexity has nothing to do with that? Perhaps some people even think I might be promoting "bad boys" over good. To back my warrant, I could talk about how flaws make characters human and unpredictable, and therefore more complex.

Conditions of Rebuttal: But Luke has flaws, too. Sometimes he acts immature.

Response to Rebuttal: It's true look has flaws, but they are so minor they can be dismissed. In fact, the flaw of "immaturity" shows how simple he is - he's too simple to be mature!

Reason 2: Han Solo is a dynamic character.

Grounds for Reason 2: Since a "dynamic" character is a character who changes, we can follow Han Solo from his beginning as a pure mercenary to the ending where he unselfishly comes back and helps the Rebels destroy the Death Star, saving Luke's life. He grows as a character. Luke is "static" or unchanging. He starts out as a pure-hearted hero and never changes.

Warrant for Reason 2: Characters who change are more interesting that characters that stay the same.

Backing?: Again, I have to ask myself, "Does everyone agree with this warrant?" Perhaps some people like it when characters are predictable and stay the same. I could expand on how we, the audience, can see the development of the character and almost grow with him.

Rebuttal: Luke changes, too. He gains maturity and becomes a Jedi Knight.

Response to Rebuttal: He doesn't become a Jedi Knight until The Empire Strikes Back, and my claim only involves Star Wars: Episode IV.

Reason 3: Han Solo has a sharp wit.

Grounds for Reason 3: Because Han Solo is always cracking funny caustic one-liners, the audience takes to him. For instance, Han keeps making fun of Princess Leia's arrogance by addressing her sarcastically as "Your Worshipfulness" and other similar mock expressions of respect.

Warrant for Reason 3: People think funny characters are interesting.

Backing?: I think, out of all my warrants, this would be the one that I really have to back. Some people might think that funny people are annoying, whereas serious people are the ones who are more interesting. Here is where I would explain that Han Solo is funny in a smart way, and that his jokes reveal the depth of his character and the character's mentality. I would have to work a little harder on this one, so I would have to write more on it.

Rebuttal: Luke cracks jokes, too. For instance, when C3PO asks Luke what planet they're on when they first meet, Luke jokes that "If there's a bright center to the universe, this is the planet that it's farthrest from."

Response to Rebuttal: Luke's jokes are few and far between, but what's more, he doesn't have that caustic side that is what's really appealing about Han's senes of humor. You can make a joke and still not have a "sharp wit."


Due Date: Monday, Sept. 16, at midnight

Worth 10 points


Adapted from M.W.Zoetewey


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