The Aristotelian or classical argument is a style of argument developed by the famous Greek philosopher and rhetorician, Aristotle. In this style of argument, your goal as a writer is to convince your audience of something. The goal is to use a series of strategies to persuade your audience to adopt your side of the issue. Although ethos, pathos, and logos play a role in any argument, this style of argument utilizes them in the most persuasive ways possible.
Of course, your professor may require some variations, but here is the basic format for an Aristotelian, or classical, argumentative essay:
- Introduce your issue. At the end of your introduction, most professors will ask you to present your thesis. The idea is to present your readers with your main point and then dig into it.
- Present your case by explaining the issue in detail and why something must be done or a way of thinking is not working. This will take place over several paragraphs.
- Address the opposition. Use a few paragraphs to explain the other side. Refute the opposition one point at a time.
- Provide your proof. After you address the other side, you’ll want to provide clear evidence that your side is the best side.
- Present your conclusion. In your conclusion, you should remind your readers of your main point or thesis and summarize the key points of your argument. If you are arguing for some kind of change, this is a good place to give your audience a call to action. Tell them what they could do to make a change.
For a visual representation of this type of argument, check out the Aristotelian infographic on the next page.