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Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning

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A lot of the time when people argue, they just keep trying to speak over one another. In the audiobook course by David Zarefsky titled “Argumentation: The Study Of Effective Reasoning,” you will learn that having an argument does not need to turn into a shouting match. These lectures teach reasoning skills so that you can recognize fallacies, presumptions, and genuine evidence. Better yet, you will discover how to tailor your arguments to your audiences. Readers are also instructed on how to focus on and construct their own side while responding effectively to the other side. After all, the point is for both sides to learn and grow.


In his clear style, Zarefsky breaks down the theory and structures that may present in a debate. Whenever the instructor uses new terms, he always takes the time to define and explain them. For example, some structures detailed include convergent, or standalone, arguments versus series arguments that link up with one another. That little bit of jargon has an entire lecture dedicated to it to ensure full comprehension. He further discusses the backgrounds and shared knowledge that make up an argument. A recap at the end of each lecture helps with understanding as well.


In one of the lectures, Zarefsky gives the history of argumentation study as it began with Aristotle. In another, he presents the spectrum of arguments as going from strong to weak, not just two options of valid and invalid. If an argument goes astray, he also provides guidance on bringing it back to the intended topic. Many of the lectures focus on dissecting logical fallacies and what they may reveal about an argument. A big takeaway for readers is that they can argue with friends and family without losing their respect. Whatever your reason is for wanting to improve your debate skills, this course can help.

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