Argument Types

An argument is a reasoning that tries to propose, prove or deny a claim. It serves to suggest, prove or refute hypotheses and convince the interlocutor that the position being defended is valid.

There are several types of arguments and classifications according to various authors. This is a selection of the most common argument types with examples.

depending on the type of reasoning

Depending on the rational process used to reach the conclusion, the arguments can be:

Inductive arguments

They are arguments based on the observation of common characteristics or qualities in a subject or event. From these common elements a general conclusion is drawn.

Example:

“In my neighborhood, all the buildings are low. Probably, all the buildings in the city are also low.”

deductive arguments

In deductive arguments, the conclusion is drawn from the general premises raised. Therefore, the conclusion only serves to make explicit what the premises state.

Example:

“In the bag factory, all the employees wear white coats. Martha works in the same factory, so she wears a white coat, too.”

abductive arguments

In this type of argument, a fact is described to extract a hypothesis. That is, the description of the event generates the premises that will justify or explain the conclusion.

Example:

“I was given a dog with a white bandana tied around his neck. All the dogs at the animal shelter have that bandana, so my dog ​​must have come from there.”

According to its content

One way to classify arguments is according to the content of their premises. In this case, they are classified as:

arguments from authority

They are a type of argument proposed by the argumentation theorist Anthony Weston and the philosophers Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca. In this case, the ideas are justified and valued according to what is expressed by a person or institution of authority.

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Example:

“The World Health Organization suggests that the daily amount of water that a human being requires for human consumption is 50 liters per day.”

See also Argument from authority.

arguments of fact

Also called factual arguments, they are supported by verifiable evidence. That is, the facts shown are irrefutable and easily verifiable, therefore, there is no way to argue.

Example:

“Today was very hot. The maximum temperature was 32 degrees.”

Morality arguments

In this case, universal moral values ​​are used to defend an idea (equality, love, justice, respect, etc.). They tend to appeal to what is considered fair or correct.

Example:

“All people are equal, so we all have the same rights before the law.”

Tradition arguments

Justifies an idea based on customs and traditions. This type of argument can lead to false conclusions, since the fact that something is a tradition does not mean that it is true or correct.

Example:

“Women should stay at home. It has always been like this and that should not change.”

probabilistic arguments

As their name suggests, they are arguments that use probability to support an idea. They are subdivided into two types:

Quantitative arguments: use figures or percentages to support the main idea.

Example:

“42.5 million people are malnourished in Latin America, according to data from the United Nations.”

Qualitative arguments: uThey use adverbs of quantity instead of numerical data.

Example:

“Two thirds of my work team is made up of women.”

aesthetic arguments

This type of argument appeals to the existence (or not) of beauty in what it wants to justify. It is subjective and, therefore, not very verifiable, since the assessment of what is beautiful depends on the person, the culture, the historical moment, etc.

Example:

“For me, this house is the most beautiful in the neighborhood because it is the only one in yellow.”

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Arguments from personal experience

It is when we justify an idea based on our experience and this becomes a norm that is applied to other events. Given the subjective nature of this type of argument, their conclusions can often be wrong.

Example:

“I don’t recommend going to the corner restaurant because my food wasn’t that good.”

According to its purpose

The arguments may have the purpose of appealing to rationality or to the emotional. In that sense, they are classified as:

logical arguments

They are a class of argument that is characterized in that the conclusion is a rational consequence of what has been expressed in the premises. Some subtypes of logical arguments would be:

Arguments by exemplification: is a type of argument proposed in the models of Anthony Weston, Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca. They propose a generalization based on the enumeration of verifiable examples as a way to justify the central idea.

Example:

“The most developed countries are in Europe. There are France, Germany and Holland.”

Arguments of general principle or generalization: the conclusion is generated from a series of similar events that are taken as a generality. This type of argument is an expression of inductive reasoning par excellence.

Example:

“In winter I get sinusitis. It’s already winter, so I’m going to get sick.”

Analog arguments or by analogy: is another type of argument suggested by Weston, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca. This case raises similarities between subjects, events or ideas to later find something in common and draw a conclusion.

Example:

“Yoga helps to calm down. I do yoga and that’s why I’m always calm.”

Sign arguments:A sign is a known fact that can give clues about another event that is still unknown. Sign arguments use clues to justify an idea.

Example:

“When the children are quiet it is because they are doing some mischief.”

affective arguments

They use ideas that generate feelings of affection or rejection to provoke an emotional response in the interlocutor. The intention is to appeal to beliefs that are common to people so that it is easier for them to identify with the idea that is being argued.

Example:

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“If you are a mother, you know very well the joy you feel when your child looks at you for the first time.”

Depending on your persuasive ability

The persuasive power of an argument can convince (or not) about the validity of an idea. In this case, they are classified as:

Relevant arguments

In this case, the ideas that arise are related to what you want to argue. That is, if we want to defend the existence of social isolation, we will use arguments about social isolation.

Example:

“Young people between the ages of 12 and 25 spend more and more time alone. They spend an average of three hours a day consuming content on social networks.”

Valid arguments

They are arguments that, in addition to being relevant, have conclusions that follow directly from their premises.

Example:

“If my dog ​​has four legs, all dogs have four legs.”

irrefutable arguments

They are arguments that, due to their relevance and validity, cannot be refuted. Generally, they are backed by verifiable data.

Example:

“The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.”

according to its function

An argument serves to support an idea or to refute it. Depending on this, it is classified into:

arguments in favor

They support the conclusion to which you want to reach. For example, when in advertising they mention all the characteristics of a product to conclude that it is the best on the market.

Example:

“Refresh yourself with Orangewithout colorants, without added sugars, but with all the flavor.”

Refutation

It is a counterargument that shows that the premises of another argument are not valid. For example, if someone argues that climate change is false, the counterarguments (statistics, data, examples, etc.) would refute that idea.

Example:

“Heat has always done, we are in summer” (argument).
“Yes, but now the average temperature is higher than in recent years and heat waves are becoming more frequent” (rebuttal).

See also:

  • Plot
  • Argumentation.
  • Premise
  • Reasoning
  • Argument Examples
  • Examples of argumentative texts.