argue that and argument

77Cat77

Senior Member
Chinese
At one time, ecologists believed that stability can be defined as simply lack of change.(1)
Dillon, however, defined stability as the speed with which an ecosystem returns to a particular form following a major disturbance, such as a fire. (2)
He argued that climax communities would be the most fragile and the least stable, since they can require hundreds of years to return to the climax state. (3)

Where should the following sentence be inserted? Place (1), (2), or (3)
This is an argument that contradicts the common view.

My question is, what does the "argument" mean? point of view, or the reason he gave?
How to understand "argue" in the collocation "to argue that"? Does it mean that "that+clause" is someone's view point, or the reason someone uses?
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    My question is, what does the "argument" mean? point of view, or the reason he gave?
    He argued that climax communities would be the most fragile and the least stable, since they can require hundreds of years to return to the climax state.
    The "argument" is the statement in red above.

    I don't know what you mean by "a point of view" or "a reason he gave". So I won't comment on your ideas.
     

    77Cat77

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    In WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019, the sixth sense of “argument” is “subject matter; theme.” I’m wondering if “an argument” can be seen as a viewpoint in an argumentation.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    This is an argument that contradicts the common view
    I think this matches the 4th meaning in that same place, whose example sentence is:
    This is a strong argument in favor of her theory.

    The definition is "a statement, reason, or fact for or against a point".
    -------
    I think the sixth definition ("subject matter; theme") normally has a possessive:
    - his argument is...
    - their argument is...
    - the central argument of this paper...

    But "a viewpoint" is a good synonym for that sixth meaning.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Where should the following sentence be inserted? Place (1), (2), or (3)
    This is an argument that contradicts the common view.
    To know which place is factually correct, you need to know what "the common view" really is.
    Each statement A, B, C can be seen as an argument that explains how an ecosystem works:
    At one point, ecologists believed A.
    Dillon, however, defined B.
    He argued that C.

    Most likely the correct answer, however, is (3). That's because "He argued that..." followed by "This is an argument that ..." fits well semantically and stylistically and it follows the usual pattern in such scientific writings where a person that is mentioned by name is the one that presents a new differing view that usually departs from "the" common view.
     

    77Cat77

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think the sixth definition ("subject matter; theme") normally has a possessive:
    - his argument is...
    - their argument is...
    - the central argument of this paper...

    But "a viewpoint" is a good synonym for that sixth meaning.
    Is this sixth meaning frequently used nowadays?
     
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