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Argument and Explanation Review: Rationales are models we use to reveal the logical relationships underlying our reasoning. We call the process of identifying these rationales "rational reconstruction.
A rationale may contain multiple reasons and principles, but it has one and only one conclusion.
The simplest possible rationale looks like this. Note that the reason is positioned to the left of the conclusion and that the principle is indicated by an arrow pointing from left to right.
Always use exactly this format when constructing rationales. There are two kinds of rationale: Rational reconstruction depends critically on the ability to distinguish one from the other. The distinction is this: An argument is a rationale in which the reason functions as evidence in support of the conclusion.
Its purpose is to provide a rational basis for believing the conclusion to be true. An explanation is a rationale in which the conclusion represents an accepted fact and the reason represents a cause of that fact.
Its purpose is to help us understand how or why that Afraid explication english 102 occurs.
In the beginning the best way to remember the difference between arguments and explanations is to think of them as answering two different questions. An argument answers the question: How do you know?
An explanation answers the question: Why is that so? Butch must be afraid of clowns. Butch fled the theater when Bobo the clown appeared.
This example expresses the opinion that Butch is afraid of clowns, and gives us a reason to believe it: Butch ran away when a clown appeared.
Notice that the sentences in the boxes are not simply cut and pasted from the example. The word 'must' has been deleted from the conclusion, because the statement "Butch must be afraid of clowns" isn't what the speaker is arguing for.
We simplified the reason because the place and the name of the clown aren't needed to grasp the evidential relationship. When constructing rationales you should always simplify the reasons and conclusions by eliminating jargon and logically irrelevant information. Butch is afraid of clowns because he was attacked by one as a child.
This example informs us that Butch is afraid of clowns. It does not try to convince us of this; rather, it explains why this is the case: Butch was attacked by a clown as a child.
Notice that our rationale contains complete sentences and that the pronouns "one" and "he" have been replaced by the corresponding nouns.
This is essential for clarity. Every reason and conclusion should make sense on its own; specifically, we should not have to refer to the content of other boxes to find out what the statement means.
The United States invaded Iraq in order to seize control of Iraq's vast oil reserves. This example makes a claim that many people will disagree with. Because of this, it is tempting to characterize it as an unsubstantiated opinion, and therefore an argument. Some discipline is required here.
This is an explanation because the speaker identifies the well known fact that the United States invaded Iraq and then provides a possible cause. You may think that the causes identified in an explanation are hypothetical, speculative or completely erroneous.
It is important to understand that whether something is an explanation or an argument depends on what the author believes to be the case, not you. The reason the United States should not have invaded Iraq is that it had no clear plan for maintaining law and order once Sadaam Hussein's government had been toppled.
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