Inventing Arguments by John Mauk

A second semester rhetoric now in its fourth edition, Inventing Arguments teaches students how to develop sophisticated arguments with the basic elements of persuasion.

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” ~Paulo Freire

The Paulo Freire quotation serves as more than an epigraph for Inventing Arguments. It frames the content, the prompts, and purpose of the chapters. The idea throughout is that argumentative writing is not about expressing a personal opinion but building an idea that is sophisticated enough to attract good thinkers. Based on the same set of assumptions and practices as The Composition of Everyday Life, this book teaches students to build arguments from the ground up—from the real material in their lives. After walking through the basic ingredients of argument (claims, support, opposition, values and assumptions), the chapters show students how to analyze the persuasive elements in texts.