Logos: Claims, Reasons, and Assumptions (Lauren Poet)

Students will understand the power of claims, reasons, and assumptions by understanding what they are arguing and why they are arguing it. By working as a class, they will identify claims, reasons, and assumptions and how they make up an argument. The students will then be given different scenarios to identify claims, reasons, and assumptions. They will troubleshoot their own arguments through working claims, reasons, and assumptions/counterarguments with a handout/partner. (Learning outcome 1 and 3).

Teacher Prep:
Print out Claims Reason and Assumptions exercise
Pull up Netflix parks and rec – 7:08
Attendance and reading sheets

Student Prep:
Chapter 7 of MW

Prepare for Learning

FREE WRITE (7 minutes) – Donna the Deer lady – using the information you read in Chapter 7, determine the strengths and weaknesses of this woman’s logic. (link to video

In this argument, the woman’s logic is clearly faulty. She is an eloquent speaker, and she sounds like she can be trusted; however, her reasoning and argument make it so we cannot trust her. Today, we’re going to discuss how you can be different from this woman and write a compelling argument that people will trust.

LECTURE – Claims, Reasons, Assumptions (10 minutes)

What do you find persuasive in an argument?

Evidence, experience, opinions, things I believe, facts, data, ethos, details

The formula → Claims + reasons / assumptions


  • Substance – Humans cause climate change by burning fossil fuel. No cinnamon gum lasts longer than big red. Baseball is a religion.
  • Values – Animal abuse is bad. Cats are better than dogs. Cost of parking on campus is a scandal. This is better than that
  • Policy – Health care costs – require everyone to have health insurance. Inflated grades – certain number of As only?


  • Ask students about some of their op-ed topics/arguments? What are some of the reasons they have for it?


  • Review MW example of Paper = trees. What are the assumptions here? Ask students about some of their Op-ed topics/arguments. What are some assumptions they see in their argument?

Your Duty as a rhetor → your duty is not only to give solid, persuasive arguments, but also to understand and analyze the arguments of others.

Direct the Learning

Show the following slides and have students identify the Claims, reasons, and assumptions associated with each picture they see. The following are some things to help get ideas generated if the class is quiet:

  • Porn Kills Love
    • C – Porn Kills Love
    • R – It destroys relationships.
    • A – Romantic relationships are valuable.
  • Gillette Commercial
    • C – Men need to be better
    • R – because we can be better and there are children watching
    • A – Current standards for men are a problem
  • Make America Great Again
    • C – I should be your next president.
    • R – Because I will make America great again.
    • A – America isn’t great right now.
  • Parks and Rec
    • C – You don’t love your kids if you don’t build the park
    • R – Because she does not want to build a park
    • A – Parks are a sign of loving your children. Good parents like parks.

LECTURE: point out to students to be mindful of the claims/reasons and assumptions that they may be placing with their argument. I.e. Porn Kills Love, an assumption could be found that those who watch porn kill love, when really lots of people get trapped. You don’t want to alienate your audience with some assumptions. Don’t be afraid to throw the audience a bone every now and again.

Reinforce the learning

IN CLASS WORKSHEET (10 minutes )
Claims Reasons and Assumptions Worksheet

PEER REVIEW (5 minutes)
Talk with a partner about your claims, reasons, and assumptions – what do they have to say? discuss how it went, what might be lacking, and how to proceed from here.