Your Definition Argument Outline

An outline of your Definition Argument using the Toulmin system is due Tuesday, October 13. Here is what such an outline would look like if you were writing about hog factories. In the following example, the student has generated a definition argument supported by four reasons. Notice that he expresses ONE reason per enthymeme and that, as a result, his outline will present four enthymemes. It's never to early to begin thinking about your title, either.

 John J. Student
ENG 101-064
Oct. 13, 1998
Ms. Thompson
Turning Kentucky Landscapes into Pig Sties: 
The Ecological Case Against Hog Factories 
Thesis: Hog factories are, by their very natures, cruel and environmentally- unsound farming practices because they damage the environment, they pose a threat to the safety of area wildlife, they pose a risk to human health, and they fail to provide intelligent animals with any quality of life.

Enthymeme:  Hog factories are environmentally unsound because they pollute the environment. 

  • Claim: Hog factories are environmentally unsound.
  • Reason: Hog factories pollute the environment.
  • Warrant: Farming practices that pollute the environment are environmentally unsound.
  • Backing: proof that farming practices that pollute the environment are unsound. I bet my audience will grant me this warrant because we share the underlying belief that polluting the environment is unsound. 
  • Grounds: all the evidence and proof that hog factories actually pollute the environment. Factories may contain as many as 5000 individual hogs (find source for this). That many large animals produces as much raw sewage in one building as a small town does over several miles, and without sewage treatment! I plan to research this reason further to produce more evidence.
  • Conditions of Rebuttal: To my warrant and backing, some opponents might claim that MANY farming practices leave residues in the environment (plowing, grazing, fertilizing, etc.) and that such residues aren't always pollution. In addition, they might not value the environment as much as they value a profit or jobs.  To my reason and grounds, opponents might say that hog factories use a minimal amount of land and thus are environmentally friendly. 
  • Qualifiers:  I think I might qualify my reason since hog factories might be made more ecologically sound in the future: As they are currently operated, hog factories damage the environment. I probably ought to qualify my warrant, too: In most cases, farming practices that damage the environment are environmentally unsound.
Repeat this procedure for each of your reasons, starting with the enthymeme and working your way to the qualifiers. 

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