Part 7 out of 9
He trims one end neatly and passes his thumb thoughtfully over it to be
sure it is finished to his taste. He then cuts the other end of the stick
at an angle of about 45 deg., making a clean single cut. The sharp edge of
this is now cut off to make a mouthpiece. This is a delicate operation,
for the bark is apt to crush or split if the knife is dull, or the hand is
unskillful. The boy holds it up, inspecting his own work critically.
Sometimes he is dissatisfied and cuts again. If he makes a third cut and
is still unsuccessful he tosses the spoiled piece away. It is too short
now. A half dozen eager hands reach for the discarded stick, and the one
who gets it fondles it lovingly. I once had such a treasure and cherished
it until I learned the secret of the whistle-maker's art. He next places
the knife edge about half an inch back from the end of the mouthpiece and
cuts straight towards the center of the branch about one-fourth the way
through. A three-cornered piece is now cut out, and the chip falls to the
When this is finished the boy's eye runs along the stick with a
calculating squint. The knife edge is placed at the middle, then moved a
short distance towards the mouthpiece. With skillful hand he cuts through
the bark in a perfect circle round the stick. While we watch in fascinated
silence, he takes the knife by the blade and resting the unfinished
whistle on his knees he strikes firmly but gently the part of the stick
between the ring and the mouthpiece. Only the wooden part of the handle
touches the bark. He goes over and over it until every spot on its surface
has felt his light blow. Now he lays the knife aside, and grasping the
stick with a firm hand below the ring in the bark, with the right hand he
holds the pounded end. He tries it with a careful twist. It sticks. Back
to his knees it goes and the tap, tap, begins again. When he twists it
again it slips, and the bark comes off smoothly in one piece, while we
breathe a sigh of relief. How white the stick is under the bark! It shines
and looks slippery. Now the boy takes his knife again. He cuts towards the
straight jog where the chip was taken out, paring the wood away, sloping
up to within an inch of the end of the bark. Now he cuts a thin slice of
the wood between the edge of the vertical cut and the mouthpiece.
The whistle is nearly finished. We have all seen him make them before and
know what comes next. Our tongues seek over moist lips sympathetically,
for we know the taste of peeled willow. He puts the end of the stick into
his mouth and draws it in and out until it is thoroughly wet. Then he
lifts the carefully guarded section of bark and slips it back into place,
fitting the parts nicely together.
The willow whistle is finished. There remains but to try it. Will it go?
Does he dare blow into it and risk our jeers if it is dumb?
With all the fine certainty of the Pied Piper the boy lifts the humble
instrument to his lips. His eyes have a far-off look, his face changes;
while we strain eyes and ears, he takes his own time. The silence is
broken by a note, so soft, so tender, yet so weird and unlike other
sounds! Our hands quiver, our hearts beat faster. It is as if the spirit
of the willow tree had joined with the spirit of childhood in the natural
song of earth.
--Mary Rogers Miller: _The Brook Book_.
(Copyright, 1902, Doubleday, Page and Co.)
+Theme XCIV.+--_Write an exposition on one of the following
subjects, making use of particulars or details:_--
1. How ice cream is made.
2. The cultivation of rice.
3. Greek architecture.
4. How paper is made.
5. A tornado.
6. Description of a steam engine.
7. The circulatory system of a frog.
8. A western ranch.
9. Street furniture.
10. A street fair.
(Have you used particulars sufficient to make your meaning clear? Have you
used any unnecessary particulars? Why is the arrangement of your topics
easy in this theme?)
+169. Exposition by Cause and Effect.+--When our general statement is in
the form of a cause or causes, the question naturally arises in our mind
as to the effects resulting from those causes. In like manner, when the
general statement takes the form of an effect, we want to know what the
causes are that produce such an effect. From the very nature of exposition
we may expect to find much of this kind of discourse relating to causes
and effects. (See Section 49.)
Notice the following example:--
The effect of the polar whirls may be seen in the rapid rotation of water
in a pan or bowl. The centrifugal force throws the water away from the
center, where the surface becomes depressed, and piles it up around the
sides, where the surface becomes elevated. The water being deeper at the
sides than at the center, its pressure upon the bottom is proportionately
greater. A similar effect is produced by the whirl of the air around the
polar regions. It is thrown away from the polar regions and piled up
around the circumference of the whirl. There is less air above the polar
regions than above latitude 30 deg.-40 deg., and the atmospheric pressure is
correspondingly low at one place and high at the other. Thus the
centrifugal force of the polar whirl makes the pressure low in spite of
the low temperature. The position of the tropical belts of high pressure
is a resultant of the high temperature of the equatorial regions on one
side and the polar whirls on the other.
--Dryer: _Lessons in Physical Geography_.
+Theme XCV.+--_Write an expository theme using cause or effect._
1. The causes of the French Revolution.
2. How ravines are formed.
4. Effects of smoking.
5. Lack of exercise.
6. Volcanic eruptions.
(Did you find it necessary to make use of any other method of explanation?
Did you make use of description in any place?)
1. Exposition is that form of discourse the purpose of which is to
2. The essential characteristics of an exposition are--
_a._ That it possess unity because it contains only those facts
essential to its purpose.
_b._ That the facts used be arranged in a coherent order.
3. Exposition is concerned with (_a_) general terms or (_b_) general
4. The steps in the exposition of a term are--
_a._ Definition. This may be--
(1) By synonym (inexact).
(2) By use of the logical definition (exact).
_b._ Division. This may be--
(1) Complete (classification).
(2) Incomplete (partition).
The same principle of division should be followed throughout.
5. Exposition of a proposition may use any one of the
_a._ By repetition.
_b._ By giving examples.
_c._ By stating comparisons and contrasts.
_d._ By making obverse statements.
_e._ By relating particulars or details.
_f._ By stating cause or effect.
_g._ By any suitable combination of these methods.
+170. Difference between Argument and Exposition.+--Argument differs from
exposition in its purpose. By exposition we endeavor to make clear the
meaning of a proposition; by argument we attempt to prove its truth. If a
person does not understand what we mean, we explain; if, after he does
understand, he does not believe, we argue.
Often a simple explanation is sufficient to convince. As soon as the
reader understands the real meaning of a proposition, he accepts our view
of the case. A heated discussion may end with the statement, "Oh, if that
is what you mean, I agree with you." In Section 70, we have learned that
the first step in argument is explanation, by which we make clear the
meaning of the proposition the truth of which we wish to establish.
This explanation may include both the expounding of the terms in the
proposition and the explanation of the proposition as a whole.
There is another difference between exposition and argument. We cannot
argue about single terms, though we may explain them. We may explain what
is meant by the term _elective studies_, or _civil service;_ but an
argument requires a proposition such as, Pupils should be allowed to
choose their own studies, or, Civil Service should be established. Even
with such a topic as Expansion or Restricted Immigration, which seems to
be a subject of argument, there is really an implied proposition under
discussion; as, The United States should acquire control of territory
outside of its present boundaries; or, It should be the policy of our
government to restrict immigration. We may explain the meaning of
single terms or of propositions, but in order to argue, we must have a
proposition either expressed or implied.
+171. Proposition of Fact and Proposition of Theory.+--Some propositions
state facts and some propositions state theories. Every argument therefore
aims either to prove the occurrence of a fact or the truth of a theory.
The first would attempt to show the actual or probable truth of a specific
proposition; for example:--
Nero was guilty of burning Rome.
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
Barbara Frietchie actually existed.
Sheridan never made the ride from Winchester.
Homer was born at Chios.
The second would try to establish the probable truth of a general theory;
A college education is a profitable investment.
Light is caused by a wave motion of ether.
+172. Statement of the Proposition.+--The subject about which we argue may
be stated in any one of the three forms discussed in Section 74; that is,
as a declarative sentence, a resolution, or a question. The statement does
not necessarily appear first in the argument, but it must be clearly
formulated in the mind of the writer before he attempts to argue. Before
trying to convince others he must know exactly what he himself believes,
and the attempt to state his belief in the form of a proposition will
assist in making his own thought clear and definite.
If we are going to argue concerning elective studies, we should first of
all be sure that we understand the meaning of the term ourselves. Then
we must consider carefully what we believe about it, and state our
proposition so that it shall express exactly this belief. On first thought
we may believe the proposition that pupils should be allowed to choose
their own studies. But is this proposition true of pupils in the grades as
well as in the high schools? Or is it true only of the upper classes
in the high school or only of college students? Can you state this
proposition so that it will express your own belief on the subject?
_A_. Use the following terms in expressed propositions:--
2. Elevated railways.
3. American history.
4. Military training.
5. Single session.
_B_. Explain the following propositions:--
1. The United States should adopt a free-trade policy.
2. Is vivisection justifiable?
3. The author has greater influence than the orator.
4. The civil service system should be abolished.
5. The best is always cheapest.
_C_. Can you restate the following propositions so that
the meaning of each will be made more definite?
1. Athletics should be abolished. (Should _all_ athletic exercises be
2. Latin is better than algebra. (_Better_ for what purpose? _Better_ for
3. Training in domestic arts and sciences should be provided for high
school pupils. (Define domestic arts and sciences. Should they be
taught to _all_ high school pupils?)
4. Punctuality is more important than efficiency.
5. The commercial course is better than the classical course.
6. A city should control the transportation facilities within its limits.
+Theme XCVI.+--_Write out an argument favoring one of the propositions as
restated in Exercise C above._
(Before writing, make a brief as indicated in Section 77. Consider the
arrangement of your argument.)
+173. Clear Thinking Essential to Argument.+--Having clearly in mind the
proposition which we wish to prove, we next proceed to give arguments in
its support. The very fact that we argue at all assumes that there are two
sides to the question. If we hope to have another accept our view we must
present good reasons. We cannot convince another that a proposition is
true unless we can tell him why it is true; and certainly we cannot tell
him why until we know definitely our own reasons for believing the
statement. In order to present a good argument we must be clear logical
thinkers ourselves; that is, we must be able to state definite reasons for
our beliefs and to draw the correct conclusions.
+174. Inductive Reasoning.+--One of the best preparations for trying to
convince others is for us to consider carefully our own reasons for
believing as we do. Minds act in a similar manner, and what leads you and
me to believe certain truths will be likely to cause others to believe
them also. A brief consideration of how our belief in the truth of a
proposition has been established will indicate the way in which we should
present our material in order to cause others to believe the same
proposition. If you ask yourself the question, What leads me to believe as
I do? the answer will undoubtedly be effective in convincing others.
Are the following propositions true or false? Why do
you believe or refuse to believe each?
1. Maple trees shed their leaves in winter.
2. Dogs bark.
3. Kettles are made of iron.
4. Grasshoppers jump.
5. Giraffes have long necks.
6. Raccoons sleep in the daytime.
7. The sun will rise to-morrow.
8. Examinations are not fair tests of a pupil's knowledge.
9. Honest people are respected.
10. Water freezes at 32 deg. Fahrenheit.
11. Boys get higher standings in mathematics than girls do.
It is at once evident that we believe a proposition such as one of
these, because we have known of many examples. If we reject any of the
propositions it is because we know of exceptions (we have seen kettles not
made of iron), or because we do not know of instances (we may never have
seen a raccoon, and so not know what he does in the daytime). The greater
the number of cases which have occurred without presenting an exception,
the stronger our belief in the truth of the proposition (we expect the sun
to rise because it has never failed).
The process by which, from many individual cases, we establish the truth
of a proposition is called +inductive reasoning+.
+175. Establishing a General Theory.+--A general theory is established by
showing that for all known particular cases it will offer an acceptable
explanation. By investigation or experiment we note that a certain fact is
true in one particular instance, and, after a large number of individual
cases have been noted, and the same fact found to be true in each, we
assume that such is true of all like cases, and a general law is
established. This is the natural scientific method and is constantly being
made use of in pursuing scientific studies. By experiment, it was found
that one particular kind of acid turned blue litmus red. This, of course,
was not sufficient proof to establish a general law, but when, upon
further investigation, it was found to be true of all known acids,
scientists felt justified in stating the general law that acids turn blue
In establishing a new theory in science it is necessary to bring forward
many facts which seem to establish it, and the argument will consist in
pointing out these facts. Frequently the general principle is assumed to
be true, and the argument then consists in showing that it will apply to
and account for all the facts of a given kind. Theories which have been
for a time believed have, as the world progressed in learning, been found
unable to account for all of a given class of conditions. They have been
replaced, therefore, by other theories, just as the Copernican theory of
astronomy has displaced the Ptolemaic theory.
Our belief may be based upon the absence of facts proving the contrary as
well as upon the presence of facts proving the proposition. If A has never
told an untruth, that fact is an argument in favor of his truthfulness on
the present occasion. A man who has never been dishonest may point to this
as an argument in favor of placing him in a position of trust. Often the
strongest evidence that we can offer in favor of a proposition is the
absence of any fact that would support the negative conclusion.
The point of the whole matter is that from the observation of a large
number of cases, we may establish the _probable_ truth of a proposition,
but emphasis needs to be laid upon the probability. We cannot be sure. Not
all crows are black, though you may never have seen a white one. The sun
may not rise to-morrow, though it has never failed up to this time. Still
it is by this observation of many individual cases that the truth of the
propositions that men do believe has been established. We realize that our
inductions are often imperfect, but the general truths so established will
be found to underlie every process of reasoning, and will be either
directly or indirectly the basis upon which we build up all argument.
We may then redefine inductive reasoning as the process by which from
many individual cases we establish the _probable_ truth of a general
Notice in the following selections that the truth of the conclusion is
shown by giving particular examples:--
1. It is curious enough that _we always remember people by their worst
points_, and still more curious that _we always suppose that we ourselves
are remembered by our best_. I once knew a hunchback who had a well-shaped
hand, and was continually showing it. He never believed that anybody
noticed his hump, but lived and died in the conviction that the whole town
spoke of him no otherwise than as the man with the beautiful hand,
whereas, in fact, they only looked at his hump, and never so much as
noticed whether he had a hand at all. This young lady, so pretty and so
clever, is simply the girl who had that awkward history with So-and-so;
that man, who has some of the very greatest qualities, is nothing more
than the one who behaved so badly on such an occasion. It is a terrible
thing to think that we are all always at watch one upon the other, to
catch the false step in order that we may have the grateful satisfaction
of holding our neighbor for one who cannot walk straight. No regard is
paid to the better qualities and acts, however numerous; all the attention
is fixed upon the worst, however slight. If St. Peter were alive he would
be known as the man who denied his Master; St. Paul would be the man who
stoned Stephen; and St. Thomas would never be mentioned in any decent
society without allusions to that unfortunate request for further
evidence. Probably this may be the reason why we all have so much greater
a contempt for and distrust of each other than would be warranted by a
correct balance between the good and the evil that are in each.
--Thomas Gibson Bowles: _Flotsam and Jetsam_.
2. In the first place, 227 withered leaves of various kinds, mostly of
English plants, were pulled out of worm burrows in several places. Of
these, 181 had been drawn into the burrows by or near their tips, so that
the footstalk projected nearly upright from the mouth of the burrow; 20
had been drawn in by their bases, and in this case the tips projected from
the burrows; and 26 had been seized near the middle, so that these had
been drawn in transversely and were much crumpled. Therefore 80 per cent
(always using the nearest whole number) had been drawn in by the tip, 9
per cent by the base or footstalk, and 11 per cent transversely or by the
middle. This alone is almost sufficient to show that _chance does not
determine the manner in which leaves are dragged into the burrows_.
--Darwin: _Vegetable Mold and Earthworms_.
3. _The catastrophe of every play is caused always by the folly or fault
of a man; the redemption, if there be any, is by the wisdom and virtue of
a woman, and, failing that, there is none_. The catastrophe of King
Lear is owing to his own want of judgment, his impatient vanity, his
misunderstanding of his children; the virtue of his one true daughter
would have saved him from all the injuries of the others, unless he had
cast her away from him; as it is, she all but saves him. Of Othello, I
need not trace the tale; nor the one weakness of his so mighty love; nor
the inferiority of his perceptive intellect to that even of the second
woman character in the play, the Emilia who dies in wild testimony against
"Oh, murderous coxcomb! what should such a fool
Do with so good a wife?"
In _Romeo and Juliet_, the wise and brave stratagem of the wife is brought
to ruinous issue by the reckless impatience of her husband. In _The
Winter's Tale_, and in _Cymbeline_, the happiness and existence of two
princely households, lost through long years, and imperiled to the death
by the folly and obstinacy of the husbands, are redeemed at last by the
queenly patience and wisdom of the wives. In _Measure for Measure_, the
foul injustice of the judge, and the foul cowardice of the brother, are
opposed to the victorious truth and adamantine purity of a woman. In
_Coriolanus_, the mother's counsel, acted upon in time, would have saved
her son from all evil; his momentary forgetfulness of it is his ruin; her
prayer, at last, granted, saves him--not, indeed, from death, but from the
curse of living as the destroyer of his country.
--Ruskin: _Sesame and Lilies_.
_Bas. _So may the outward shows be least themselves;
_The world is still deceived with ornament_.
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
But, being season'd with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it and approve it with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts:
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules and frowning Mars,
Who, inward search'd, have livers white as milk;
And these assume but valor's excrement
To render them redoubted! Look on beauty,
And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it:
So are those crisped snaky golden locks
Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known
To be the dowry of a second head,
The skull that bred them in the sepulcher.
Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;
Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
'Tween man and man: but thou, though meager lead,
Which rather threatenest than dost promise aught,
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence;
And here choose I: joy be the consequence!
--Shakespeare: _The Merchant of Venice_.
+Theme XCVII.+--_Write a paragraph proving the truth of one of the
1. It is a distinct advantage to a large town to be connected with the
smaller towns by electric car lines.
2. Vertical penmanship should be taught in all elementary schools.
3. Examinations develop dishonesty.
4. Novel reading is a waste of time.
5. Tramps ought not to be fed.
(Make a brief. Consider the arrangement of your arguments. Read Section
+176. Errors of Induction.+--A common error is that of too hasty
generalization. We conclude that something is always so because it
happened to be so in the few cases that have come under our observation. A
broader experience frequently shows that the hastily made generalization
will not hold.
Some people are led to lose faith in all humanity because one or two of
their acquaintances have shown themselves unworthy of their trust. Others
are ready to pronounce a merchant dishonest because some article purchased
at his store has not proved to be so good as it was expected to be. There
are those who are superstitious concerning the wearing of opals, claiming
that these jewels bring the wearer ill luck, because they have heard of
some instances where misfortune seemed to follow the wearing of that
particular stone. What may seem to be causes and effects at first may,
upon further investigation or inquiry, prove to be merely chance
coincidences. In your work in argument, whether for the class room or
outside, be careful about this point. Remember that your induction will be
weak or even worthless if you draw conclusions from too few examples.
Often one example seems sufficient to cause belief. We might believe that
all giraffes have long necks, even though we had seen but one; but such a
belief would exist because, by many examples of other animals, we have
learned that a single specimen will fairly represent all other specimens
of the same class. On the other hand, if this one giraffe should possess
one brown eye and one white eye, we should not expect all other giraffes
to have such eyes, for our observation of many hundreds of animals teaches
us that the eyes of an animal are usually alike in color. In order to
establish a true generalization, the _essential_ characteristics must be
selected, and these cannot be determined by rule, but rather by common
+177. Deductive Reasoning.+--When once a general principle has been
established, we may demonstrate the truth of a specific proposition by
showing that the general principle applies to it. We see a gold ring and
say, "This ring is valuable," because we believe the general proposition,
"All articles made of gold are valuable." Expressed in full, the process
of reasoning would be--
_A._ All articles made of gold are valuable.
_B._ This ring is made of gold.
_C._ Therefore this ring is valuable.
A series of statements such as the above is called a syllogism. It
consists of a major premise (_A_), a minor premise (_B_), and a conclusion
Of course we shall not be called upon to prove so simple a proposition as
the one given, but with more difficult ones the method of reasoning is the
same. The process which applies a general proposition (_A_) to a specific
instance (_C_), is called deductive reasoning.
+178. Relation between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning.+--Deductive
reasoning is shorter and seems more convincing than inductive reasoning,
for if the premises are true and the statement is made in correct form,
the conclusions are irresistible. Each conclusion carries with it,
however, the weakness of the premises on which it is based, and as these
premises are general principles that have been themselves established by
inductive reasoning, the conclusions of deductive reasoning can be no more
_sure_ than those of inductive reasoning. Each may prove only that the
proposition is probably true rather than that it is surely true, though in
many cases this probability becomes almost a certainty.
+179. The Enthymeme.+--We seldom need to state our argument in the
syllogistic form. One of the premises is usually omitted, and we pass
directly from one premise to the conclusion. If we say, "Henry will not
succeed as an engineer," and when asked why he will not, we reply,
"Because he is not good in mathematics," we have omitted the premise, "A
knowledge of mathematics is necessary for success in engineering." A
shortened syllogism, that is, a syllogism with one premise omitted, is
called an enthymeme.
Thus in ordinary matters our thought turns at once to the conclusion in
connection with but one premise. We make a thousand statements which a
moment's thought will show that we believe because we believe some
unexpressed general principle. If I should say of my dog, "Fido will die
sometime," no sensible person would doubt the truth of the statement. If
asked to prove it, I would say, "Because he is a dog, and all dogs die
sometime." Thus I apply to a specific proposition, Fido will die, the
general one, All dogs die, a proposition about which there is no doubt.
Frequently the suppressed premise is not so well established as in this
case, and the belief or nonbelief of the proposition will be determined by
the individuals addressed, each in accordance with his experience. Suppose
that in reading we find the statement, "A boy of fourteen ought not to be
allowed to choose his own subjects of study, because he will choose all
the easy ones and avoid the more difficult though more valuable ones." The
omitted premise that all boys will choose easy studies, needs to be
established by induction. If a high school principal had noticed that out
of five hundred boys, four hundred elected the easy studies, he would
admit the truth of the omitted premise, and so of the conclusion. But if
only one hundred had chosen the easy subjects, he would reject the major
premise and likewise the conclusion.
It is evident that in order to be sure of the truth of a proposition we
must determine the truth of the premises upon which it is based. An
argument therefore is frequently given over wholly to establishing the
premises. If their truth can be demonstrated, the conclusion inevitably
_A._ Supply the missing premise for the following:--
1. John will succeed because he has a college education.
2. Henry is happy because he has plenty of money.
3. Candy is nutritious because it is made of sugar.
4. These biscuits will make me ill because they are heavy.
5. This dog must be angry because he is growling.
6. This fish can swim.
7. The plural of the German noun _der Garten_ is _die Gaerten_.
8. It will hurt to have this tooth filled.
_B._ Supply the reasons and complete the syllogism for each of the
1. This book should not be read.
2. This hammer is useful.
3. That dog will bite.
4. This greyhound can run rapidly.
5. The leaves have fallen from the trees.
6. That boy ought to be punished.
7. It is too early to go nutting.
8. This boy should not study.
9. You ought not to vote for this man for mayor.
+Theme XCVIII.+--_Write a paragraph proving the truth of one of the
1. Labor-saving machinery is of permanent advantage to mankind.
2. New Orleans will some day be a greater shipping port than New York.
3. Poetry has a greater influence on the morals of a nation than prose
4. Boycotting injures innocent persons and should never be employed.
5. Ireland should have Home Rule.
6. The President of the United States should be elected by the direct vote
of the people.
(Consider your argument with reference to the suppressed premises.)
+180. Errors of Deduction.+--The deductive method of reasoning, if
properly used, is effective, but much care needs to be taken to avoid
false conclusions. A complete exposition of the variations of the
syllogism is not necessary here, but it will be of value to consider
briefly three chief errors.
If the terms are not used with the same meaning throughout, the conclusion
is valueless. A person might agree with you that domestic arts should be
taught to girls in school, but if you continued by saying that scrubbing
the floor is a form of domestic art, therefore the girls should be taught
to scrub the floor, he would reject your conclusion because the meaning of
the term _domestic art_ as he understood it in the first statement, is not
that used in the second.
It will be noticed that each syllogism includes three terms. For example,
All hawks eat flesh;
This bird is a hawk;
Therefore this bird eats flesh,--
contains the three terms, _hawk, eats flesh, this bird_; of these but two
appear in the conclusion. The one which does not (in this case _hawk_) is
called the middle term. If the major premise does not make a statement
about every member of the class denoted by the middle term, the conclusion
may not be valid even though the premises are true. For example:--
All hawks are birds;
This chicken is a bird;
Therefore this chicken is a hawk.
In this case the middle term is _birds_, and the major premise, _All hawks
are birds_, does not make a statement which applies to all birds. The
conclusion is therefore untrue. Such an argument is a fallacy.
The validity of the conclusion is impaired if either premise is false. In
the enthymeme, "Henry is a coward; he dare not run away from school," the
suppressed premise, "All persons who will not run away from school, are
cowards," is not true, and so invalidates the conclusion. It is well to
test the validity of your own argument and that of your opponent by
seeking for the suppressed premise and stating it, for this may reveal a
fatal weakness in the thought.
Which of the following are incorrect?
1. The government should pay for the education of its people;
Travel is a form of education;
Therefore the government should pay the traveling expenses of the
2. All horses are useful;
This animal is useful;
Therefore this animal is a horse.
3. I ought not to study algebra because it is a very difficult subject.
4. Pupils ought not to write notes because note writing interferes with
the rights of others.
5. All fish can swim;
Charles can swim;
Therefore Charles is a fish.
6. Henry is a fool because he wears a white necktie.
7. All dogs bark;
This animal barks;
Therefore this animal is a dog.
+Theme XCIX.+--_Write a paragraph proving the truth of one of the
1. The government should establish a parcels post.
2. The laws of mind determine the forms of composition.
3. Training for citizenship should be given greater attention in the
4. The members of the school board should be appointed by the mayor of the
5. In the estimation of future ages ---- will be considered the greatest
President since Lincoln.
(State your premises. Have you shown that they are true?)
+181. Evidence.+--We may reach belief in the truth of a specific statement
by means of deductive reasoning. Commonly, however, when dealing with an
actual state or occurrence, we present other facts or circumstances that
show its existence. The facts presented may be those of experience, the
testimony of witnesses, the opinion of those considered as experts in the
subject, or a combination of circumstances known to have existed. To be of
any value as arguments, they must be true, and they must be related to the
fact that we are trying to prove. These true and pertinent facts we term
Evidence may be direct or indirect. If a man sees a boy steal a bag of
apples from the orchard across the way, his evidence is direct. If
instead, he only sees him with an empty bag and later with a full one, the
evidence will be indirect. If you testify that early in the evening you
saw a tramp enter a barn which later in the evening caught fire, your
testimony as regards the cause of the fire would be indirect evidence
against the tramp. If you can testify that you saw sparks fall from his
lighted pipe and ignite a pile of hay in the barn, the evidence which you
give will be direct.
Direct evidence has more weight than indirect, but often the latter is
nearly equal to the former and is sufficient to convince us. Even the
direct testimony of eye-witnesses must be carefully considered. Several
persons may see the same thing and yet make very different reports, even
though they may all desire to tell the truth. The weight that we shall
give to a person's testimony will depend upon his ability to observe and
to report accurately what he has experienced, and upon his desire to tell
Notice in the following selection what facts, specific instances, and
circumstances are advanced in support of the proposition. Assuming that
they are true, are they pertinent to the proposition?
Certain species of these army ants which inhabit tropical America, Mr.
Belt considered to be the most intelligent of all the insects of that part
of the world. On one occasion he noticed a wide column of them trying to
pass along a nearly perpendicular slope of crumbling earth, on which they
found great difficulty in obtaining a foothold. A number succeeded in
retaining their positions, and further strengthened them by laying hold of
their neighbors. They then remained in this position, and allowed the
column to march securely and easily over their bodies. On another occasion
a column was crossing a stream of water by a very narrow branch of a tree,
which only permitted them to go in single file. The ants widened the
bridge by a number clinging to the sides and to each other, and this
allowed the column to pass over three or four deep. These ants, having no
permanent nests, carry their larvae and pupae with them when marching. The
prey they capture is cut up and carried to the rear of the army to be
distributed as food.
--Robert Brown: _Science for All_.
+Theme C.+--_Present all the evidence you can either to prove or disprove
one of the following propositions:_--
Select some question of local interest as:--
1. The last fire in our town was of incendiary origin.
2. The football team from ---- indulged in "slugging" at the last game.
3. Our heating system is inadequate.
4. It rained last night.
If you prefer, choose one of the following subjects:--
1. The Stuart kings were arbitrary rulers.
2. The climate of our country is changing.
3. Gutenberg did not invent the printing press.
4. The American Indians have been unjustly treated by the whites.
5. Nations have their periods of rise and decay.
(Are the facts you use true? Are they pertinent? Do you know of facts
that would tend to show that your proposition is not true?)
+182. Number and Value of Reasons.+--Although a statement may be true and
pertinent it is seldom sufficient for proof. We need, as a rule, several
such statements. If you are trying to convince a friend that one kind of
automobile is superior to another, and can give only one reason for its
superiority, you no doubt will fail in your attempt. If, however, you can
give several reasons, you may succeed in convincing him. Suppose you go to
your principal and ask permission to take an extra study. You may give as
a reason the fact that your parents wish you to take it. He may not think
that is a sufficient reason for your doing so, but when he finds that with
your present studies you do not need to study evenings, that one of them
is a review, and that you have been standing well in all your studies, he
may be led to think that it will be wise for you to take the desired extra
While we must guard against insufficiency of reasons, we must not forget
that numbers alone do not convince. One good reason is more convincing
than several weak ones. Two or three good reasons, clearly and definitely
stated, will have much more weight than a large number of less important
_A._ Give a reason or two in addition to the reasons already given in each
of the following:--
1. It is better to attend a large college than a small one, because the
teachers are as a rule greater experts in their lines of work.
2. The school board ought to give us a field for athletics as the school
ground is not large enough for practice.
3. Gymnasium work ought to be made compulsory. Otherwise many who need
physical training will neglect it.
4. The game of basket ball is an injury to a school, since it detracts
from interest in studies.
5. Rudolph Horton will make a good class president because he has had
_B._ Be able to answer orally any two of the following:
1. Prove to a timid person that there is no more danger in riding in an
automobile than there is in riding in a carriage drawn by horses. Use but
one argument, but make it as strong as possible.
2. Give two good reasons why the superstition concerning Friday is absurd.
3. What, in your mind, is the strongest reason why you wish to graduate
from a high school? For your wishing to go into business after leaving the
high school? For your wishing to attend college?
4. What are two or three of the strong arguments in favor of woman
suffrage? Name two or three arguments in opposition to woman suffrage.
_C._ Name all the points that you can in favor of the following. Select
the one that you consider the most important.
1. Try to convince a friend that he ought to give up the practice of
2. Show that athletics in a high school ought to be under the management
of the faculty.
3. Show that athletics should be under the management of the pupils
4. Macbeth's ambition and not his wife was the cause of his ruin.
5. Macbeth's wife was the cause of his ruin.
+Theme CI.+--_Select one of the subjects in the exercise above, and write
out two or three of the strongest arguments in its favor._
(Consider the premises, especially those which are not expressed. Is
your argument deductive or inductive?)
+183. The Basis of Belief.+--If you ask yourself, Why do I believe this?
the answer will in many cases show that your belief in the particular case
under consideration arises because you believe some general principle or
theory which applies to it.
One person may believe that political economy should be taught in high
schools because he believes that it is the function of the high school to
train its pupils for citizenship, and that the study of political economy
will furnish this training. Another person may oppose the teaching of
political economy because he believes that pupils of high school age are
not sufficiently mature in judgment to discuss intelligently the
principles of political economy, and that the study of these principles at
that age does not furnish desirable training for citizenship. It is
evident that an argument between these two concerning the teaching of
political economy in any particular school would consist in a discussion
of the conflicting general theories which each believed to be true.
We have shown in Section 179 that one high school principal might believe
that boys should be allowed to choose their own studies because he
believed that they would not generally select the easy ones; while another
principal would oppose free electives because he believes that boys would
choose the less difficult studies. The proposition that "The United States
should retain its hold on the Philippines" involves conflicting theories
of the function of this government. So it will be found with many of our
beliefs that either consciously or unconsciously they are based on general
theories. It is important in argument to know what these theories are, and
especially to consider what may be the general theories of those whom we
wish to convince.
+184. Appeals to General Theory, Authority, and Maxims.+--A successful
argument in deductive form must be based upon principles and theories that
the audience believes. A minister in preaching to the members of his
church may with success proceed by deductive methods, because the members
believe the general principles upon which he bases his arguments. But in
addressing a mixed audience, many of whom are not church members, such an
argument might not be convincing, because his hearers might deny the
validity of the premises from which his conclusions were drawn. In such a
case he must either keep to general theories which his auditors do
believe, or by inductive methods seek to prove the truth of the general
If in support of our view we quote the opinion of some one whom we believe
competent to speak with weight and authority upon the question, we must
remember that it will have weight with our audience only if they too look
upon the person as an authority. It proves nothing to a body of teachers
to say that some educational expert believes as you do unless they have
confidence in him as a man of sound judgment. On the other hand, it may
count against a proposition to show that it has not been endorsed by any
one of importance or prominence.
In a similar way a maxim or proverb may be quoted in support of a
proposition. If a boy associates with bad company, we may offer the maxim,
"Birds of a feather flock together," in proof that he is probably bad too.
Such maxims or proverbs are brief statements of principles generally
believed, and the use of them in an argument is in effect the presentation
of a general theory in a form which appeals to the mind of the hearer and
causes him to believe our proposition.
+185. Argument by Inference.+--The statement of a fact may be introduced
into an argument, not because the fact itself applies directly to the
proposition we wish to prove, but because it by inference suggests a
general theory which does so apply. Though the reader may not be conscious
of it, the presence of this general theory may influence his decision even
more than the explicit statement of the general theory would.
An argument implies that there are two sides to a question. Which you
shall take depends on the way you look on it, that is, on what may be
called your mental point of view. Therefore any fact, allusion, maxim,
comparison, or other statement which may cause you to look at the question
in a different light or from a different point of view may be used as an
argument. In effect, it calls up a general theory whose presence affects
your decision. Notice how brief the argument is in the following selection
Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a
self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are
fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old
story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.
If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery,
they may indeed wait forever.
+186. Summary.+--To summarize the preceding paragraphs, the authority we
quote, the maxims we state, the facts we adduce become valuable because
they appeal to general theories already believed by the reader. Success in
argument demands, therefore, that we consider carefully what theories may
probably be in the mind of our audience, and that we present our argument
in such a way as to appeal to those theories.
+Theme CII.+--_Write a short argument, using one of the following:_--
1. A young boy is urging his father to permit him to attend an
entertainment. Give his reasons as he would give them to his father.
2. Suppose the father refuses the request. Write out his reasons.
3. Try to convince a companion just entering high school to take the
college preparatory course instead of the commercial course.
(Are your reasons true and pertinent? To what general theories have you
appealed? Consider the coherence of each paragraph.)
+187. Arrangement of Arguments.+--We have learned that in arguing we need
to consider how those whom we address arrive at the belief they hold, and
that it will assist us to this knowledge of others if we consider our own
beliefs and the manner of their establishing. We must present our material
in the order that convinces. Each case may differ so from every other that
no general rule can be followed, but the consideration of some general
principles of arrangement will be of assistance. It is the purpose of the
following paragraphs to point out in so far as possible the most effective
order of arrangement.
+188. Possibility, Probability, and Actuality.+--It has been stated, in
Section 175, that reasoning leads to probable truth, and that this
probability may become so strong as to be accepted as certainty. In common
speech this difference is borne in mind, and we distinguish a fact or
event that is only possible from one that is probable; and likewise one
that is only probable from one in which the probability approaches so near
to certainty as to convince us that it actually did exist or occur. Our
arguments may therefore be directed to proving possibility, probability,
If we believe that an event actually occurred, the belief implies both
possibility and probability. Therefore, if we wish a person to believe in
the actual occurrence of an event, we must first be sure that he does not
question the possibility of its existence, and then we must show him that
it probably did take place. Only when we have shown that an event is
extremely probable have we the right to say that we have shown its actual
A mother finding some damage done to one of the pictures on the wall could
not justly accuse her young son unless by the presence of a chair or
stepladder it had been possible for him to reach the picture. This
possibility, reenforced by a knowledge of his tendency to mischief, and by
the fact that he was in the house at the time the damage was done, would
lead to the belief that he probably was guilty. Proof that he was actually
responsible for the damage would still be lacking, and it might later be
discovered that the injury had been done accidentally by one of the
Possibility, probability, and actuality merge into one another so
gradually that no sharply defined distinctions can be observed. It is
impossible to say that a certain argument establishes possibility, another
probability, and a third the actuality of an event. One statement may do
all three, but any proof of actuality must include arguments showing both
possibility and probability. A person accused of murder attempts to
demonstrate his innocence by proving an _alibi;_ that is, he attempts to
show that he was at some other place at the time the murder was committed
and so cannot possibly be guilty. Such an alibi, established by reliable
witnesses, is positive proof of innocence, no matter how strong the
evidence pointing to probable guilt may be.
+189. Argument from Cause.+--We have learned, in Section 49, that the
relation of cause and effect is one which is ingrained in our nature. We
accept a proposition as plausible if a cause which we consider adequate
has been assigned. Our belief in a proposition often depends upon our
belief in some other proposition which may be accepted as a cause.
Thus, in the following statements, the truth of one proposition leads to
the belief that the other is also true:--
_a._ Henry has studied hard this year; therefore he will pass his college
_b._ The man has severed an artery; therefore he will probably bleed to
death before the physician arrives.
_c._ It will soon grow warmer, because the sun has risen.
_An argument from cause_ may be of itself conclusive evidence of the fact.
But, for the most part, such arguments merely establish the possibility or
probability of the proposition and so render it ready for proof. In our
arrangement of material, we therefore place such arguments _first_.
+190. Argument from Sign.+--Cause and effect are so closely united that
when an effect is observed we assume that there has been a cause, and we
direct our argument to proving what it is. An effect is so associated with
its cause that the existence of an effect is a sign of the existence of a
cause, and such an argument is called an _argument from sign_. Reasoning
from sign is very common in our daily life. The wild geese flying south
indicate the approach of cold weather. The baby's toys show that the baby
has been in the room. A man's hat found beside a rifled safe will convict
the man of the crime. A dog's track in the garden is proof that a dog has
If the effect observed is always associated with the same cause, the
argument is conclusive. If I observe as an effect that the river has
frozen over during the night, I have no doubt that it has been caused by a
lowering of the temperature.
If two or three possible causes exist, our argument becomes conclusive
only by considering them all and by showing that all but one did not
produce the observed effect. If the principal of a school knows that one
of three boys broke a window light, he may be able to prove which one did
it by finding out the two who did not. If a man is found shot to death,
the coroner's jury may prove that he was murdered by showing that he did
not commit suicide. If there are many possible causes, the method of
elimination becomes too tedious and must be abandoned. If you find that
your horse is lame, it would be difficult to prove which of the many
possible causes actually operated to produce the lameness, though the
attendant circumstances might point to some one cause and so lead you to
assume that it was the one.
Under _arguments from sign_ should be included also those cases when we
pass directly from one effect to another that arises from the same cause;
as, "I hear the windmill turning, it will be a good day to sail;" or,
"These beans are thrifty, therefore if I plant potatoes here I shall get a
good crop." In these sentences the wind and the fertile soil are not
mentioned, but we pass directly from one effect to another.
As used by rhetoricians, arguments from sign include also arguments from
attendant circumstances. If we have observed that two events have happened
near together in time, we accept the occurrence of one as a sign that the
other will follow. When we hear the factory whistle blow, we conclude that
in a few minutes the workmen will pass our window on their way home. Such
a conclusion is based upon a belief established by an inductive process.
The degree of probability that it gives depends upon the number of times
that it has been observed to act without failure. If we have seen two boys
frequently together, the presence of one is a sign of the probable
presence of the other. A camp fire would point to the recent presence of
some one who kindled it.
In using an argument from sign care must be taken not to confuse the
relation of cause and effect with that of contiguity in time or place. Do
not allege that which happened at the same time or near the same place as
a cause. If you do use an attendant circumstance, be sure that it adds
something to the probability.
+191. Argument from Example.+--It has been pointed out in the study of
inductive reasoning (Section 176) that a single example may suffice to
establish a general notion of a class. In dealing with objects of the
physical world, if essential and invariable qualities of the object are
considered, they may be asserted to be qualities of each member of the
class, and such an argument from an individual to all the members of the
class is convincing. They thus rank with arguments from sign as effective
in proving the certainty of a proposition.
In dealing with human actions, on the other hand, examples are seldom
proofs of fact. We cannot say that all men will act in a certain way under
given circumstances because one man has so acted. Nevertheless, arguments
by examples are frequently used and are especially powerful when we wish
not only to convince a man, but also to persuade him to action. This
persuasion to action must be based on conviction, and in such a case the
argument from sign that convinces the man of the truth of a proposition
should precede the example that urges him to action. After convincing a
friend that there are advantages to be derived from joining a society, we
may persuade him to join by naming those who have joined.
+192. Argument from Analogy.+--Analogy is very much relied upon in
practical life. Reasoning from analogy depends upon the recognition of
similarity in regard to some particulars followed by the inference that
the similarity extends to other particulars. As soon as it was known that
the atmospheric conditions of the planet Mars are similar to those of the
earth, it was argued by analogy that Mars must also, be inhabited.
An analogy is seldom conclusive and, though it is often effective in
argument, it must not be taken as proof of fact. The mind very readily
observes likenesses, and when directed toward the establishing of a
proposition easily overlooks the differences. In order to determine the
strength of an argument from analogy, attention should be given to the
differences existing between the two propositions considered. False
analogies are very common. We must guard against using them, and
especially against allowing ourselves to be convinced by them. Even when
the resemblance is so slight as to render analogy impossible, it may serve
to produce a metaphor that often has the effect of argument.
It is much easier to captivate the fancy with a pretty or striking figure
than to move the judgment with sound reason.... His (the speaker's)
picture appeals to the mind's visible sense, hence his power over us,
though his analogies are more apt to be false than true....
The use of metaphor, comparison, analogy, is twofold--to enliven and to
convince; to illustrate and enforce an accepted truth, and to press home
and clinch one in dispute. An apt figure may put a new face upon an old
and much worn truism, and a vital analogy may reach and move the reason.
Thus when Renan, referring to the decay of the old religious beliefs, says
that the people are no poorer for being robbed of false bank notes and
bogus shares, his comparison has a logical validity....
The accidental analogies or likenesses are limitless, and are the great
stock in trade of most writers and speakers. An ingenious mind finds types
everywhere, but real analogies are not so common. The likeness of one
thing to another may be valid and real, but the likeness of a thought with
a thing is often merely fanciful....
I recently have met with the same fallacy in a leading article in one of
the magazines. "The fact revealed by the spectroscope," says the writer,
"that the physical elements of the earth exist also in the stars, supports
the faith that a moral nature like our own inhabits the universe." A
tremendous leap--a leap from the physical to the moral. We know that
these earth elements are found in the stars by actual observation and
experience; but a moral nature like our own--this is assumed, and is not
supported by the analogy.
John Burroughs: _Analogy, True and False_.
Notice the use of analogy in the argument below.
There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquired freedom
produces; and that cure is freedom. When a prisoner first leaves his cell
he cannot bear the light of day: he is unable to discriminate colors, or
recognize faces. But the remedy is, not to remand him into his dungeon,
but to accustom him to the rays of the sun. The blaze of truth and liberty
may at first dazzle and bewilder nations which have become blind in the
house of bondage. But, let them gaze on, and they will soon be able to
bear it. In a few years men learn to reason. The extreme violence of
opinions subsides. Hostile theories correct each other. The scattered
elements of truth cease to contend and begin to coalesce, and at length a
system of justice and order is educed out of the chaos.
+193. Summary of Arrangement.+--The necessity of argument arises because
some one does not believe the truth of a proposition. To establish in his
mind a belief, we must present our arguments in an orderly and convincing
way. The order will usually be to show him first the possibility and then
the probability, and finally to lead him as near to certainty as we can.
We may say, therefore, that we should use arguments from cause, arguments
from sign, and arguments from example in the order named.
Another principle of arrangement is that inductive argument will usually
precede deductive argument. We naturally proceed by induction to establish
general truths which, when established, we may apply. If our audience
already believe the general theories, the inductive part may be omitted.
Both of these principles of arrangement should be considered with
reference to that of a third, namely, climax. Climax means nothing more
than the orderly progression of our argument to the point where it
convinces our hearer. We call that argument which finally convinces him
the strongest, and naturally this should be the end of the argument. Of
several proofs of equal grade, one that will attract the attention of the
hearer should come first, while the most convincing one should come last.
In arranging arguments attention needs also to be given to coherence. One
proof may be so related to another that the presentation of one naturally
suggests the other. Sometimes, for the sake of climax, the coherent order
must be abandoned. More often the climax is made more effective by
following the order which gives the greatest coherence.
+Theme CII.+--_Prove one of the following propositions:_
1. The Presidential term should be extended.
2. Bookkeeping is of greater practical value than any other high school
3. In cities all buildings should be restricted to three stories in
4. Sumptuary laws are never desirable.
5. No pupil should carry more than four studies.
6. This school should have a debating society.
(Have you proved possibility, probability, or actuality? Have you used
arguments from cause, sign, or example? Consider the arrangement of your
arguments. Consider the analogies you have used, if any. Can you shorten
your theme without weakening it?)
+194. The Brief.+--Arrangement is of very great importance in argument. In
fact, it is so important that much more care and attention needs to be
given to the outline in argument, and the outline itself may be more
definitely known to the hearer than in the other forms of discourse. In
description and narration especially, it detracts from the value of the
impressions if the reader becomes aware of the plan of composition. In
exposition a view of the framework may not hinder clear understanding, but
in argument it may be of distinct advantage to have the orderly
arrangements of our arguments definitely known to him whom we seek to
The brief not only assists us in making our own thought orderly and exact,
but enables us to exclude that which is trivial or untrue. An explanation
may fail to make every point clear and yet retain some valuable elements,
but an argument fails of its purpose if it does not establish a belief. A
single false argument or even a trivial one may so appeal to a mind
prejudiced against the proposition that all the valid proofs fail to
convince. This single weakness is at once used by our opponent to show
that our other arguments are false because this one is. A committee once
endeavored to persuade the governor of a state not to sign a certain bill,
but they defeated themselves because their opponents pointed out to the
governor that two of the ten reasons which they presented were false and
that the committee presenting them knew they were false. This cast a doubt
upon the honesty of the committee and the validity of their whole
argument, and the governor signed the bill.
The brief differs from the ordinary outline in that it is composed of
complete sentences rather than of topics.
Notice the following example.
+Term examinations should be abolished.+
I. There is no necessity for such examinations.
1. The teacher knows the pupil's standing from his daily recitations.
2. Monthly reviews or tests may be substituted if desirable.
II. The evils arising from examinations more than offset any advantages
that may be derived from them.
1. The best pupils are likely to work hardest, and to overtax their
2. Pupils often aim to pass rather than to know their subject.
3. A temptation to cheat is placed before them.
III. Examinations are not a fair test of a pupil's ability.
1. A pupil may know his subject as a whole and yet not be able to answer
one or two of the questions given him.
2. A pupil who has done poor work during the term may cram for an
examination and pass very creditably.
3. Pupils are likely to be tired out at the end of the term and often are
not able to do themselves justice.
If the writer should choose to defend the negative of the above
proposition, the brief might be as follows:--
I. Examinations are indispensable to school work.
1. In no other way can teachers find out so well what their pupils know
about their subjects, especially in large classes.
2. They are essential as an incentive to pupils who are inclined to let
their work lag.
II. As a rule they are fair tests of a pupil's ability.
1. Pupils who prepare the daily recitations well are almost sure to pass a
2. Pupils who cram are likely to write a hurried, faulty examination.
3. It seldom happens that many in a class are too worn out to take a term
III. They prepare the pupils for later examinations.
(1) For college entrance examinations.
(2) For examinations at college.
(3) For civil service examinations.
(4) For examinations for teachers' certificates.
_A._ Write out subordinate propositions proving the main subdivisions.
Also change the arrangement when you think it desirable to do so.
1. Two sessions are preferable to one in a high school.
(1) One long session is too fatiguing to both teachers and pupils.
(2) Boys and girls as a rule study better at school than they do at
(3) The time after school is long enough for recreation.
2. The pupils of this high school should be granted a holiday during the
street (county or state) fair.
(1) They will all go at least one day.
(2) It will cause less interruption in the school work if they all go
the same day.
3. Women should be allowed to vote.
(1) They are now taxed without representation.
(2) Whenever they have been allowed to take part in the affairs of the
government, it has been an advantage to that government.
(3) Many of them are much more intelligent than some men who vote.
_B._ Write out briefs for the following propositions (affirmative or
1. High school studies should be made elective in the last two years of
2. The government should own and control the railroads of our country.
3. The old building on the corner of ---- Street ought to be removed.
4. Latin should not be made a compulsory study.
5. Reading newspapers is unprofitable.
6. Laws should be made to prohibit all adulteration of foods.
7. We are all selfish.
8. A system of self-government should be introduced into our school.
+Theme CIV.+--_Write out the argument for one of the
(Examine the brief carefully before beginning to write.
Can you improve it? )
+Theme CV.+--_Write a theme proving one of the following propositions:_--
1. Immigration is detrimental to the United States.
2. The descriptions in _Ivanhoe_ are better than those in the _House of
the Seven Gables_.
3. Argument is of greater practical value than exposition.
4. The Mexican Indians were a civilized race when America was discovered.
5. The standing army of the United States should be increased.
6. All police officers should be controlled by the state and not by the
(Have you used arguments from cause, sign, or example? Are they arranged
with reference to the principles of arrangement? (Section 192.) Consider
each paragraph and the whole theme with reference to unity.)
+Theme CVI.+--_Write a debate on some question assigned by the teacher._
(To what points should you give attention in correcting your theme? Read
+195. Difference between Persuasion and Argument.+--Up to this point we
have considered argument as having for its aim the proof of the truth
of a proposition. If we consider the things about which we argue most
frequently, we shall find that in many cases we attempt to do more than
merely to convince the hearer. We wish to convince him in order to cause
him to act. We argue with him in order to persuade him to do something.
Such an argument tries to establish the wisdom of a course of action and
is termed _persuasion_. Persuasion differs from argument in its aim. In
argument by an appeal principally to the reason, we endeavor to convince;
in persuasion by an appeal mainly to the feelings, we endeavor to move to
+196. Importance of Persuasion.+--Persuasion deals with the practical
affairs of life, and for that reason the part that it performs is a large
and important one. All questions of advantage, privilege, and duty are
included in the sphere of persuasion. Since such questions are so directly
related to our business interests, to our happiness, and to our mode of
conduct and action, we are constantly making use of persuasion and quite
as constantly are being influenced by it. Our own welfare and happiness
depends to so great an extent upon the actions of others that our success
in life is often measured by our ability to persuade others to act in
accordance with our desires.
+197. Necessity of Persuasion.+--It is frequently not enough to convince
our hearer of the truth of a proposition. Often a person believes a
proposition, yet does not act. If we wish action, persuasion must be added
to argument. If we always acted at the time we were convinced, and in
accordance with our convictions, there would be no need of persuasion.
Strange as it seems, we often believe one thing and do just the opposite,
or we are indifferent and do nothing at all. We all know that disobedience
to the laws of health brings its punishment--yet how many of us act as if
we did not believe it at all! The indifferent pupil is positive that he
will fail if he does not study. He knows that he ought to apply himself
diligently to his work. There is no excuse for doing otherwise, yet he
neglects to act and failure is the result.
+198. Motive in Persuasion.+--The motive of persuasion depends upon the
nature of the question. The motives that we have in mind may be selfish,
or, on the other hand, they may be supremely unselfish. We may urge others
to act in order to bring about our own pleasure or profit; we may urge
them to act for their own self-interest or for the interest of others. We
may appeal to private or public interest, to social or religious duty.
When a boy urges his father to buy him a bicycle, he has his own pleasure
in mind. When we urge people to take care of their health, we have their
interest in view; and when we urge city improvements or reforms in
politics, we are thinking of the welfare of people in general.
+199. The Material of Persuasion.+--Persuasion aims to produce action and
may make use of any of the forms of discourse that will fit that purpose.
We may describe the beauty of the Adirondacks or narrate our experiences
there in order to persuade a friend to accompany us on a camping trip. We
may explain the workings of a new invention in order to persuade a
capitalist to invest money in its manufacture. Or we may by argument
demonstrate that there is a great opportunity for young men in New
Orleans, hoping to persuade an acquaintance to move there. When thus used,
description, narration, exposition, and argument may become persuasion;
but their effectiveness depends upon their appeal to some fundamental
belief or feeling in the person addressed. Our description and narration
would not bring to the Adirondacks a man who cared nothing for scenery and
who disliked camp life. The explanation of our invention would not
interest a capitalist unless he was seeking a profitable investment. Our
argument would not induce a man to move to New Orleans if his prejudice
against the South was greater than his desire for profit and position. In
each case there has been an appeal to some belief or sentiment or desire
of the person whom we seek to persuade.
+200. Appeal to the Feelings.+--Persuasion, therefore, in order to produce
action must appeal largely to the feelings. But all persons are not
affected in the same way. In order to bring about the same result we may
need to make a different appeal to different individuals. One person may
be led to act by an appeal made to his sense of justice, another by an
appeal made to his patriotism, while still another, unmoved by either of
these appeals, may be led to act by an appeal made to his pride or to his
love of power. If we would be successful in persuading others, we ought to
be able to understand what to appeal to in individual cases. Children may
be enticed by candy, and older persons may be quite as readily influenced
if we but choose the proper incentive. It is our duty to see that we are
persuaded only by the presentation of worthy motives, and that in our own
efforts to persuade others we do not appeal to envy, jealousy, religious
prejudices, race hatred, or lower motives.
Show how an appeal to the feelings could be made in the following. To what
particular feeling or feelings would you appeal in each case?
1. Try to gain your parents' permission to attend college.
2. Urge a friend to give up card playing.
3. Try to persuade your teachers not to give so long lessons.
4. Persuade others to aid an unfortunate family living in our community.
5. Induce the school board to give you a good gymnasium.
6. Persuade a tramp to give up his mode of life.
7. Try to get some one to buy your old bicycle.
8. Urge your country to act in behalf of some oppressed people.
9. Urge a resident of your town to give something for a public park.
+Theme CVII.+--_Write out one of the preceding._
(Consider what you have written with reference to coherence and climax.)
+201. Argument with Persuasion.+--In some cases we are sure that our
hearers are already convinced as to the truth of a proposition. Then there
is no need of argument and persuasion is used alone, but more frequently
both are used. Argument naturally precedes persuasion, but with few
exceptions the two are intermixed and even so blended as to be scarcely
distinguishable, the one from the other. A good example of the use of both
forms is found in the speech of Antony over the dead body of Caesar in
Shakespeare's _Julius Caesar_. Read the speech and note the argument and
persuasion given in it. What three arguments does Antony advance to prove
that Caesar was not ambitious? Does he draw conclusions or leave that for
his listeners to do? Where is there an appeal to their pity? To their
curiosity? To their gratitude? What is the result in each case of the
In the following examples note the argument and persuasion. Remember that
persuasion commences when we begin to urge to action. Notice what feelings
are appealed to in the persuasive parts of the speeches.
They tell us, Sir, that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an
adversary. But, when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or
the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed and when a British
guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by
irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual
resistance, by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive
phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir,
we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of
nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the
holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are
invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, Sir,
we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides
over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our
battles for us. The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the
vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we
were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the
contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery. Our chains
are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war
is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come!--It is
vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry peace, peace--but
there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps
from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our
brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here, idle? Is life so
dear, is peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and
slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take;
but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.
The pictures in the American newspapers of the starving reconcentrados are
true. They can all be duplicated by the thousands. I never before saw,
and please God, I may never again see, so deplorable a sight as the
reconcentrados in the suburbs of Matanzas. I can never forget to my dying
day the hopeless anguish in their despairing eyes. Huddled about their
little bark huts, they raised no voice of appeal to us for alms as we went
among them.... Men, women, and children stand silent, famishing with
hunger. Their only appeal comes from their sad eyes, through which one
looks as through an open window into their agonizing souls.
The Government of Spain has not appropriated and will not appropriate one
dollar to save these people. They are now being attended and nursed and
administered to by the charity of the United States. Think of the
spectacle! We are feeding the citizens of Spain; we are nursing their
sick; we are saving such as can be saved, and yet there are those who
still say it is right for us to send food, but we must keep hands off. I
say that the time has come when muskets ought to go with the food....
The time for action has, then, come. No greater reason for it can exist
to-morrow than exists to-day. Every hour's delay only adds another chapter
to the awful story of misery and death. Only one power can intervene--the
United States of America. Ours is the one great nation of the New World,
the mother of American republics. She holds a position of trust and
responsibility toward the peoples and the affairs of the whole Western
Mr. President, there is only one action possible, if any is taken--that
is, intervention for the independence of the island. But we cannot
intervene and save Cuba without the exercise of force, and force means
war; war means blood. The lowly Nazarene on the shores of Galilee preached
the divine doctrine of love, "Peace on earth, good will toward men." Not
peace on earth at the expense of liberty and humanity. Not good will
toward men who despoil, enslave, degrade, and starve to death their
fellow-men. I believe in the doctrine of Christ, I believe in the doctrine
of peace; but, Mr. President, men must have liberty before there can come
Intervention means force. Force means war. War means blood. But it will be
God's force. When has a battle for humanity and liberty ever been won
except by force? What barricade of wrong, injustice, and oppression has
ever been carried except by force? Force compelled the signature of
unwilling royalty to the great Magna Charta; force put life into
the Declaration of Independence and made effective the Emancipation
Proclamation; force beat with naked hands upon the iron gateway of the
Bastile and made reprisal in one awful hour for centuries of kingly crime;
force waved the flag of revolution over Bunker Hill and marked the snows
of Valley Forge with blood-stained feet; force held the broken line at
Shiloh, climbed the flame-swept hill at Chattanooga, and stormed the
clouds on Lookout heights; force marched with Sherman to the sea, rode
with Sheridan in the valley of Shenandoah, and gave Grant victory at
Appomattox; force saved the Union, kept the stars in the flag, made
Others may hesitate, others may procrastinate, others may plead for
further diplomatic negotiations, which means delay; but for me, I am ready
to act now, and for my action I am ready to answer to my conscience, my
country, and my God.
--John Mellen Thurston: _Speech in United States Senate_, March, 1898.
1. A young boy is trying to gain his father's permission to attend an
evening entertainment with some other boys. Make a list of his appeals to
his father's reason; to his father's feelings. Make a list of his father's
objections. Is there any appeal to his son's feelings?
2. Suppose you are about to address the voters of your city on the
question of granting saloon licenses. Make a list of appeals to their
reason; to their intellect. Remember that appeals to the feelings are made
more forcible by descriptive and narrative examples than by direct general
3. Urge your classmates to vote for some member of your class for
president. What qualifications should a good class president have?
+Theme CVIII.+--_Select one of the subjects, concerning which you have
written an argument; either add persuasion to the argument or intermix
(What part of your theme is argument and what part persuasion? Does the
introduction of persuasion affect the order of arrangement?)
+Theme CIX.+--_Select one of the subjects given on page 361 of which you
have not yet made use. Write a theme appealing to both feeling and
(Are your facts true and pertinent? Consider the arrangement.)
+Theme CX.+--_Write a letter to a friend who went to work instead of
entering the high school. Urge him to come to the high school._
(What arguments have you made? To what feelings have you appealed?)
+Theme CXI.+--_Use one of the following as a subject for a persuasive
1. Induce your friends not to play ball on Memorial Day.
2. Ask permission to be excused from writing your next essay.
3. Persuade one of your friends to play golf.
4. Induce your friends not to wear birds on their hats.
5. Write an address to young children, trying to persuade them not to be
cruel to the lower animals.
+202. Questions of Right and Questions of Expediency.+--Arguments that aim
to convince us of the wisdom of an action are very common. In our home
life and in our social and religious life these questions are always
arising. They may be classified into two kinds: (1) those which answer the
question, Is it right? and (2) those which answer the question, Is it
The moral element enters into questions of right. It is always wise for us
to do that which is morally right, but sometimes we are in doubt as to
what course of action is morally right. Opinions differ concerning what is
right, and for that reason we spend much time in defending our opinions or
in trying to make others believe as we do. In answering such a question
honestly, we must lose sight of all advantage or disadvantage to
ourselves. When asked to do something we should at once ask ourselves, Is
it right? and when once that is determined one line of action should be
An argument which aims to answer the question, Is it expedient?
presupposes that there are at least two lines of action each of which is
right. It aims to prove that one course of action will bring greater
advantages than any other. Taking all classes of people into consideration
we shall find that they are arguing more questions of expediency than of
any other kind. Every one is looking for advantages either to himself or
to those in whom he is interested. A question of expediency should never
be separated from the question of right. In determining either our own
course of action or that which we attempt to persuade another to follow,
we should never forget the presupposition of a question of expediency that
either course is right.
1. Name five questions the right or wrong of which you have been called
upon to decide.
2. Name five similar questions that are likely to arise in every one's
3. Name five questions of right concerning which opinions very often
4. Is an action that is right for one person ever wrong for another?
+Theme CXII.+--_Write out the reasons for or against one of the
1. Should two pupils ever study together?
2. Is a lie ever justifiable?
3. Was Shylock's punishment too severe?
4. Woman's suffrage should be established.
5. The regular party nominee should not always be supported.
Give reasons for or against the following:--
1. We should abolish class-day exercises.
2. The study of science is more beneficial than the study of language.
3. Foreign skilled laborers should be excluded from the United States.
4. Hypnotic entertainments should not be allowed.
5. The study of algebra should not be made compulsory in a high school.
6. _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ should be excluded from school libraries.
7. Physical training should be compulsory in public schools.
8. High school secret societies should not be allowed.
+Theme CXIII.+--_Write an argument of expediency using
one of the subjects named in the preceding exercise._
(What advantages have you made most prominent?
To what feelings have you appealed?)
+Theme CXIV.+--_Write a narration in which the hero is called upon to
decide whether some course of action is right or wrong_.
(Consider the theme as a narration. Does it fulfill the requirements of
Chapter IX? (See Summary.) Consider just the arguments used. Are the
arguments sufficient to bring conviction to the reader that the hero
+203. Refutation.+--No question is worth argument unless there are two
sides to it--unless there is a chance for some doubt in the mind of the
hearer as to which side seems most reasonable. Many questions are of such
a nature that in trying to convince our hearers of some truth, we often
find it necessary to show them, not only the truth of a proposition or the
expediency of a course of action, but also the falsity of some opposing
proposition or the inexpediency of the opposite course of action. This
tearing to pieces another's argument, is called refutation, or destructive
argument. A successful debater shows nearly if not equal skill in tearing
down his opponent's arguments as in building up his own.
Even in arguments in which no one takes the opposite side at the given
time, we must not forget that there are points on the opposite side which
are likely to arise in the minds of our hearers. Just as the skillful
teacher must know the difficulties that will arise in the minds of the
pupils even though they are not expressed, so must the skillful debater
consider the objections that his hearer will mentally set up against his
argument. It is well, however, for the debater to avoid overemphasizing
objections. Sometimes his discussion gives the objections a weight that
they would not otherwise have. It is not wise to set up "a man of straw"
for the purpose of knocking him down.
Notice the refutation in the following argument:--
In no respect is the difference of opinion as to the methods of fishing so
pronounced and disturbing among anglers as the diverse ones of fishing
"up" and "down" stream.
"Fishing up stream" has many advocates who assert that as trout always lie
with their heads up current, they are less likely to see the fisherman or
the glint of his rod when the casts are made; that the discomfort and
fatigue accompanying wading against strong rapids is amply repaid by the
increased scores secured; that the flies deftly thrown a foot or two above
the head of a feeding trout float more life-like down the current than
those drawn against it by the line, when they are apt to exhibit a
muscular power which in the live insect would be exaggerated and
On the other hand, the "down stream" fisherman is equally assertive as to
the value of his method. He feels the charm of gurgling waters around his
limbs, a down current that aids rather than retards or fatigues him in
each successive step of enjoyment in his pastime; as he casts his fifty or
more feet of line adown the stream, he is assured that he is beyond the
ken of the most keen-sighted and wary trout; that his artificial bugs,
under the tension of the current seaming it from right to left, reaches
every square inch of the "swim," as English rodsters term a likely water,
and coming naturally down stream, just the direction from whence a hungry
trout is awaiting it, are much more likely to be taken, than those thrown
against the current, with, doubtless, a foot or more of the leader
drooping and bagging before the nose of a trout, with a dead bug, soaked
and bedraggled, following slowly behind.
By wading "down stream" its advocates do not mean splashing and lifting
the feet above the surface, sending the water hither and yon on to the
banks, into the pools, with the soil of silt or mud or fine gravel from
the bottom, polluting the stream many yards ahead, and causing every fish
to scurry to the shelter of a hole in the bank or under a shelving rock.
They intend that the rodster shall enter the water quietly, and, after a
few preliminary casts to get the water gear in good working order to
proceed down stream by sliding rather than lifting his feet from the
bottom, noiselessly and cautiously approaching the most likely pools or
eddies behind the roots in mid stream, or still stretches close to the
banks, where the quiet reaches broaden down stream, where nine chances in
ten, on a good trout water, one or more fish will be seen lazily rising
Again, the down-stream angler contends that when a fish is fastened on a
hook, taking the lure in a current, that he is more likely to be well
hooked, hence more certain of capture when the line is tense, than when
rising to a floating bug at the end of a looping line and leader.
Certainly it is very difficult when casting against the current to keep
the line sufficiently taut to strike quickly and effectively a rising
trout, which as a rule ejects the artificial lure the instant he feels the
gritty impact of the steel.
In fishing down stream, the advocate of the principle that the greater the
surface commotion made by the flies used, the surer the rise and catch,
has an advantage over his brother who always fishes "fine" and with flies
that do not make a ripple. Drawing the artificial bugs across and slightly
up stream over the mirrored bosom of a pool is apt to leave a wake behind
them which may not inaptly be compared with the one created by a small
stern-wheel steamer; an unnatural condition of things, but of such is a
--W.C. HARRIS: _Fishing Up or Down Stream_.
+Theme CXV.+--_Persuade a friend, to choose some sport from one of the
1. Canoeing or sailing.
2. Bicycling or automobiling.
3. Golf or polo.
4. Basket ball or tennis.
5. Football or baseball.
+Theme CXVI.+--_Choose one side of a proposition. Name the probable points
on the other side and write out a refutation of them_.
+Theme CXVII.+--_State a proposition and write the direct argument._
+Theme CXVIII.+--_Exchange theme CXVII for one written by a classmate and
write the refutation of the arguments in the theme you receive._
(Theme CXVII and the corresponding Theme CXVIII should be read before the
1. Argument is that form of discourse which attempts to prove the truth of
2. Inductive reasoning is that process by which from many individual cases
we establish the probable truth of a general proposition.
3. The establishing of a general truth by induction requires--
_a._ That there be a large number of facts, circumstances, or specific
instances supporting it.
_b._ That these facts be true.
_c._ That they be pertinent.
_d._ That there be no facts proving the truth of the contrary
4. Deductive reasoning is that process which attempts to prove the truth
of a specific proposition by showing that a general theory applies to it.
5. The establishing of the truth of a specific proposition by deductive
_a._ A major premise that makes an affirmation about _all_ the members
of a class.
_b._ A minor premise that states that the individual under consideration
belongs to the class named.
_c._ A conclusion that states that the affirmation made about the class
applies to the individual. These three statements constitute a
6. An enthymeme is a syllogism with but one premise expressed.
7. Errors of deduction arise--
_a._ If terms are not used throughout with the same meaning.