Communications as "Arguments"

The vast majority of communications that we receive attempt to lead us to a particular conclusion or point of view. This is true not only of scientific articles and presentations, but also of of many types of media including books, films, speeches, magazine articles, etc. The authors want us to accept and embrace their conclusions, beliefs, or their point of view. In a sense, all of these communications can be thought of as arguments with an assertion or conclusion and supporting elements consisting of evidence and reasons for interpreting the evidence in a way that moves you closer to the authors' conclusions.

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An ideal communication will do the following:

Nevertheless, many communications fail on one or more of these points. Consciously or unconsciously, the authors may lead us toward invalid conclusions by:

Key Questions