18 Rogerian Argument

In the world we live in there will always be opposing points of view. However, there will be times when the differences will have to be resolved to some extent in order to function as a society. This is commonly referred to as meeting in the middle or reaching some form of compromise. The Rogerian argument is one that seeks compromise and not confrontation. It is designed to demonstrate an understanding of more than just one point of view and seeks a solution that helps both sides equally. If one side gets everything they want-that is a Toulmin argument. Here, both sides must walk away with something but not everything.

The major differences between the Toulmin and Rogerian are the approach to the issue. The Rogerian argument works on understanding the different sides in a fair and unbiased manner recognizing not only their strengths but their weaknesses as well.
Next they find common areas which are points that BOTH sides can agree on. Once the realization of common ground has been established, the ability to use that common ground to build trust and the opportunity to work together to achieve something better can both sides moved forward.
Lastly a proposal is developed that suggests what should happen and why both sides should move forward with following the proposal.
In summing up the major differences:
  • When compared to the Toulmin argument which takes the position of I am right and you are wrong, this argument is much friendlier so to speak with very neutral and unbiased language.
  • Time and evidence is devoted to showing each side beliefs but also a part of each side that agrees with the other point(s) of view.
  • Evidence in general is more central or in the middle, rather than polarized or extremist.
  • The Toulmin begins with a claim/thesis, the Rogerian ENDS on a claim/thesis.

Due to limitations in paper length, in most cases you will only be able to write about 2 or 3 differing positions; however as we are all aware there can always be more positions involved.

SAMPLE OUTLINE OF ROGERIAN ARGUMENT

THE INTRODUCTION:

  1.  Grabber is to get the readers interest. A grabber should try to not give away the topic of the paper. The grabber begins with the title of the paper and continues into the first /second sentence.
  2.  Provide a basic overview of the controversy surrounding the issue. What is the problem? What are the differing views?
  3.   Develop a question that suggests the direction the paper will take but avoids giving a full thesis statement that suggests a course of action. Example: The differing points of view on abortion may be diverse but if the value of a human life affects everyone then why is it so hard to find common ground?  (Partial thesis of what and why we should care.)

POSITION 1.

This section will describe one of the positions. The writer will provide evidence for this position and also include a discussion with evidence on when this position would agree that other position would indeed be valid or correct.
General layout of support paragraph:
  • Topic sentence that correlates to the thesis statement.
  • Introduces your source (applies to Ethos).
  • Show the source support/evidence (applies to Logos).
  • Discuss how support/evidence supports topic (may apply to Pathos).
  • Make direct connection to greater purpose/warrant/why care aspect in introduction (applies to Pathos).

TRANSITION:

The transition is a simple statement to show a clear transition from one position to another. For example in a paper discussing cloning:
Most would agree that society should do everything in their power to improve the longevity and quality of all people (what was discussed in position 1) but it should not be at the expense of human life (what will be discussed in position 2).

POSITION 2:

Repeat the same purpose and layout as described for position 1. This section will describe one of the positions. The writer will provide evidence for this position and also include a discussion with evidence on when this position would agree that other position would indeed be valid or correct.

RECONCILIATION:

This is where we develop a sense of value/benefit of cooperation by examining what might be achieved by cooperation by using the strengths/points of agreement developed earlier.
Sample layout:
  •  Establishes a point that both sides can agree on (usually related to a warrant/assumption).
  •  Develop the strength of each position (go back to each point you developed in each position where both sides would agree).
  • Suggests “potential” of what might be achieved by using these strengths and working together. Key word here is potential…be vague and non specific. Remember that this is the last moment to build some more trust before we lay out our proposal.

Sample:
If both sides can agree that human life is precious and that the people should have the right to protect themselves, then both sides can come to a reconciliation. The strength of the gun control group’s argument is that America should enforce an excessive background check to keep the criminals, the mentally ill and the drug users from easily obtaining firearms. The strength of the gun advocate’s argument is that the law abiding citizen should have easy access to firearms in order to protect themselves. The potential of using the strengths from both sides and working together could lead to less means for mass shootings and other potential threats, which will help make a safer society.

 CONCLUSION:

  • Make the announcement (thesis statement/proposal) of what action should be taken to help resolve the issue.
  • What are the gains for both sides? Explain what each side will receive for following this course of action.
  • What does the future look like? Think about what may happen with both sides working together.

Sample: The Government will allow the law abiding citizens to have an easy access to firearms and to enforce stricter background checks to keep the firearms away from the mentally ill and the criminals thereby keeping America and its citizens safe. The gain for the gun control group is that they enforce certain laws that they believe will make America safer, by making it harder for the criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining firearms. The gain for the gun advocates is that the law abiding citizens are still able to easily access firearms, so that they are able to protect themselves and that the criminals will not be able to take advantage of the law abiding citizens. If both sides work together the future for America looks like a safer society and that the law abiding citizens can go on with their regular activities without worrying about the possibility of a shooting massacre.

Remember to check the assignment sheet from your instructor!

Examples

Example Paper: (may vary by instructor)

John Doe

Instructor:  John Soth

English 102 Section: XXXX

Rogerian Argument

16 March 2017

The Unrest of the American People

Introduction: Criminal activity has gotten out of hand. The people are disturbed and frankly scared of the recent trend that has happened in America. The problem at hand is that America is split on how to deal with the recent increase in the crime and murder rate . Gun control groups state that if they restrict the Second Amendment, there will be a decrease in the crime and murder rate. Gun advocates believe that restricting the Second Amendment will increase the crime and murder rate, stating that the law abiding citizens will have no way to protect themselves against criminals.  The differing points of view on gun control may be diverse, but if the value of safety and human life affects everyone then why is it so hard to find common ground?

Position 1:  One of the views on gun control is the gun advocates and constitutionalists who are against gun control. One aspect that gun advocates look at on gun control is the correlation between it and the crime and murder rate. The source information is from Mark Gius and John R. Lott Jr. Mark Gius is from the Department of Economics, Quinnipiac University, of Hamden and John R. Lott Jr. is regarded as one of the best analyst of statistics of gun control and has been formerly employed by multiple prestigious institutes, such as Yale University. The murder rate on related gun incidence in America is right around 3.44, but looking at states that have higher restrictions on the Second Amendment the rate is 10% higher and states that have a complete ban on assault weapons the rate is 19% higher (Gius 267). On the opposite side with states that have “shall issue” carry conceal laws have a 7.65% drop in murders and rape was down by 5% (Gius 266). The reality is that the 31 states that have “shall issue” carry conceal laws, have on average a 24 percent lower violent crime rate and a 39 percent lower robbery rate than those states that do not allow concealed weapons (Lott). These two sources suggest that very high restrictions on the Second Amendment does not decrease the crime and murder rate, but actually increase it. This is one main reason why the American should be concern because very low or moderate gun control actually helps in certain ways, but very high or extreme restrictions on the Second Amendment has an opposite effect thereby directly related to the safety and security of citizens of the United States.

Position 1:  Another aspect that gun advocates look at on gun control is the past incidences where countries have imposed a gun ban. The source information is from Justin King, who uses well known references for his information and draws upon other prestigious analysts such as Mustard and David Lampo in his work as a columnist for the Fifth Column of the Mint Press. In 1996 the United Kingdom enacted a gun ban. “Six years prior to the ban, the homicide rate fluctuated from 10.9 to 13 homicides per million.” The homicide rate trended up and peaked at 18.0 in 2003 after guns were banned. Ireland banned firearms in 1972. The homicide rate rose over one hundred percent for the next three years. Further, the Australians also banned guns in 1996. There was a small spike in murders directly after the ban. These findings suggest that a complete ban on guns does nothing but increases the loss of life. Many other countries that have had gun bans in the past are seeing these statistics. Some of these countries like Russia who has had a long time gun ban, are relaxing their firearm laws. Citizens are now able to carry a firearm such as smooth bore long barreled guns, pistols and many others with the exception of rifles. This source suggests that a complete ban on guns only increase the crime and murder rate. It seems that the American public should be concerned with a complete ban on the Second Amendment because countries that have had a complete ban on guns saw an increase in the murder rate affecting the safety and wellbeing of all concerned.

Position 1 (both sides agree):  The aspect that both sides can agree on this position is that the law abiding citizen should have the ability to protect themselves when they feel like their life is in danger. Ben Swann, a constitutional expert and professor at Harvard Law school examines the Second Amendment and gun control. In his article he states that, “…shows that the vast majority of Americans believe that they have the right to self protection.” In the 1980’s the militia part was ignored in the Second Amendment, so the government expanded the word militia to an individual. This allowed the law abiding citizens to have access to firearms without their freedom being infringed. The expanding of the word militia to an individual happened because the gun advocates and the gun control group agreed that the people should have the ability to protect themselves. These facts suggest that both sides agree that the law abiding citizen should have the right to use guns in self protection so that the American public should feel safer in that criminals will no longer be able to push around the weak and the innocent.

Transition: Most would agree that society should do everything in their power to allow law abiding citizens the ability to protect themselves, but for those who present a danger, there must be tougher restrictions in order to reduce the potential for a loss of life .

Position 2 : The other view on gun control is the gun control advocates who believe that there should be a restriction on the Second Amendment. One aspect that gun control advocates look at on gun control is that it restricts the ability of criminals and mentally ill people to easily obtain firearms. The source information is from Lee M. and Alexander Stingl, who are credible sources because Lee M. is an analyst for the Violence Policy Center that focuses on gun related incidences and Alexander Stingl is a researcher that focuses on world events. Gun control groups claim that more intense background checks will reduce crime. The idea of the background check is that it will allow the gun shop owners to look into the customers background making sure that they are not a criminal or mentally ill. They also state that by placing certain restrictions on the Second Amendment that the crime and murder rate will decrease. The statistics shows that states that enforce background checks and have a moderate to low amount of restrictions on the Second Amendment have one of the lowest murder and crime rates (M. and Stingl). For instance Iowa has a moderate amount of restrictions on the Second Amendment and enforces background checks (M. and Stingl). This has given Iowa one of the lowest homicide rates in America with 1.9 (M. and Stingl). South Dakota is another instance of a state that has low restrictions on the Second Amendment and enforces background checks (M. and Stingl). This has also given South Dakota a very low homicide rate, which is 2.0 (M. and Stingl). This source suggests that a moderate restriction on the Second Amendment actually reduces the crime and murder rate. The reason why the American public should care is that background checks and small restrictions on the Second Amendment, actually helps reduce the amount of crime and murder.

Position 2:  Another aspect that gun control groups look at on gun control is the amount of records that are becoming more available by the Department of Justice. This source is from the Accountability Office in Washington D.C., which is a credible source because this is a government program that focuses on recording background checks. When background checks were first proposed in Congress, the problem was that the Department of Justice could not enforce that rule because certain documents such as unlawful use of drugs and mentally ill records were not available to the state. This is why many people believe that background checks do not work because certain people who were mentally ill or were unlawfully using drugs were still able to obtain guns, while background checks were enforced. The Department of Justice has recently made great strides in making does documents available to the state. In 2011 the Department of Justice increased the availability of records in the United States by 150,000. The increase in available drug use, criminal and mental health records could be the reason in the increasing number of gun transactions that have been denied based on those records. According to the FBI data, the amount of gun transactions that were denied based on mental health records increased from 365 in 2004 to 2124 in 2011. This source suggests that background checks are improving because of recent strides made by the Department of Justice. The reason why the American public should care is that background checks help keep guns away from the criminals, the mentally ill and the drug users.

Position 2 (both sides agree):  The aspect that both sides would agree on this position would be that America should enforce background checks to keep firearms away from the criminals, the mentally ill and the drug users. This source is from Jonathan Gatehouse who is a credible source because he is a senior correspondent that has covered the topic of gun control. The evidence shows that background checks help decrease the crime and murder rate because it makes it harder for the criminals to obtain firearms. Both sides would agree that they should keep records and create a demographic on certain people, so that they are not able to obtain firearms. The evidence supports that background checks have reduced the crime and murder rate because the denied rate of gun transaction due to background checks have increased each year.  This source suggests that both sides agree that they most enforce this law, so that it keeps the power to possess a gun to only the law abiding citizens. The reason why the American public should care is that the criminals will have a harder time obtaining firearms, which will reduce the crime and murder rate.

Reconciliation: If both sides can agree that human life is precious and that the people should have the right to protect themselves, then both sides can come to a reconciliation.  The strength of the gun control group’s argument is that America should enforce an excessive background check to keep the criminals, the mentally ill and the drug users from easily obtaining firearms. The strength of the gun advocate’s argument is that the law abiding citizen should have easy access to firearms in order to protect themselves . The potential of using the strengths from both sides and working together could lead to less means for mass shootings and other potential threats, which will help make a safer society.

Conclusion:  The Government will allow the law abiding citizens to have an easy access to firearms and to enforce stricter background checks to keep the firearms away from the mentally ill and the criminals thereby keeping America and its citizens safe . The gain for the gun control group is that they enforce certain laws that they believe will make America safer, by making it harder for the criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining firearms. The gain for the gun advocates is that the law abiding citizens are still able to easily access firearms, so that they are able to protect themselves and that the criminals will not be able to take advantage of the law abiding citizens . If both sides work together the future for America looks like a safer society and that the law abiding citizens can go on with their regular activities without worrying about the possibility of a shooting massacre.

(Don’t forget your works cited list!)

 

 

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Writing and Rhetoric by Heather Hopkins Bowers, Anthony Ruggiero, and Jason Saphara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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