Writing Classical Argument
The classical pattern of argument was developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans and is still highly respected today as a way to organize the content of an argumentative paper.
Elements in the Classical Pattern for Written Argument:
1. The introduction sets the context and contains the position that is being argued in the essay. The position is, of course, the thesis statement and acts as the lighthouse for the rest of the paper. The thesis statement often appears at the end of the introduction.
2. Background information: gives the reader basic information needed for understanding the position being argued. Sometimes this information is part of the introductory paragraph.
3. Reasons or evidence: support the position being argued. This material is the core of the essay. Each type of evidence or reason usually consists of a general statement backed up with specific details or examples (usually found in your research). Depending on the length of the essay, one or two paragraphs are devoted to each reason or type of evidence.
4. Anticipation of likely objections and responses to them: mentions positions opposed to the one being argued and rebuts them briefly. In classical argument, this “refutation” appears in its own paragraph, immediately before the concluding paragraph. An alternate placement is immediately after the introductory paragraph, as a bridge to the rest of the essay; in such arrangements the essay’s thesis statement falls either at the end of the introductory paragraph or at the end of “refutation” paragraph.
5. Concluding paragraph: brings the essay to an end that flows logically and gracefully from the rest of the essay and ties back to the thesis. It does not cut off the reader abruptly.
Remember: You must use the MLA style of documentation in this paper, have at least five sources (two of which MUST come from the SLU databases), and no less than three parenthetical references (intext citations). The content of your paper counts 60%; MLA format counts 20%; and grammar and mechanics count 20%.