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ENGL17899GD Chapters 1 and 2

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Peter Grevstad

on 12 January 2014

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Transcript of ENGL17899GD Chapters 1 and 2

Chapter 1
The Well-Crafted Argument
Chapters 1 and 2 summaries

In the section entitled 'Considering the Disciplines',
the authors point out that there is a significant difference
between being argumentative and constructing well-thought out formal arguments. We achieve 'liberty' when we know the difference.
So, what is an argument?
Some say that everything is an argument, which is
true, in that everything communicated presents an individual point of view, sometimes compelling enough to convince an audience. Every argument must possess three basic ingredients: it must contain as much relevant information as possssible; it must present convincing evidence; and it must use a pattern of reasoning.
A formal definition of argument
An argument is a form of discourse
in which the writer or speaker tries to persuade
an audience to accept, reject, or think a certain way
about a problem that cannot be solved by scientific
or mathematical reasoning alone.
Further, a good argument not only presents
evidence to back up a claim, but also acknowledges
the existence of other claims about the issue before
committing to the claim that corresponds most
closely to the arguer's convictions.
What is an arguable thesis?
An arguable thesis characterizes the subject matter as a problem, is capable of being investigated, and is refutable (there are counter-arguments).
It's also important to remember that argumentative writing uses two kinds of evidence; indisputable (factual) and disputable evidence.
Consult Google, or a dictionary: summarise the following
terms: argument, debate, dispute, and quarrel. What are their similarities? Their differences? Do they overlap?
Academic Arguments
Remember that academic arguments use specialised,
precise language, that they are formal or semi-formal
in tone, that they use citations and referencing in a prescribed style (i.e. APA), that they discuss the contributions of experts in the field, and that they are intended for a scholarly audience.
Appeals in Argument
To argue effectively, we need more than just facts.
Facts need to be explained, and contextualised, and to have their importance validated. Writers of argument use strategies of persuasion, also known as appeals. There are three types. Does anyone know what they are??
From Aristotle's Rhetoric, we have the following three strategies for appeals. The ethical, also known as 'ethos', appeals to tradition, authority, and ethical and moral behaviour. The emotional, known as 'pathos', appeals to feelings and basic human needs like security, love, belonging, and health and well-being. This is also called 'pathos'. The third appeal is rational, appealing to logic and reason, and is called 'logos'.
See the sample texts on pages 16 and 17, by W.E.B Du Bois, and H.D. Thoreau, respectively.
To organise an argument...
At the most basic level, the argument writer
must introduce the topic, present the particulars
of the situation, and to conclude with an interpretation,
an assessment, and recommendations, where appropriate.
Three models of argument
The Classical, or Aristotelian, model has a
predetermined scheme of organisation. The introduction
states the problem and the thesis, then presents and analyses evidence and refutes opposing views, and then draws conclusions and presents recommendations.
The Toulmin model claims that truth is not absolute, but rather value-dependent. Logical content is scrutinised for underlying values (warrants), which are used to test the evidence. It is assumed there are no universal truths.
The third, or Rogerian, model focuses on shifting emphasis to the social act of negotiating difference(s) through argument. Truth is not just value based; it is negotiated cooperatively, if argument is to have any constructive social function.
Common problems with written arguments
1. The basis for the argument (the problem) has not be clearly or fully articulated. 2. The thesis is not sufficiently compelling or urgent. 3. The evidence is faulty or missing. 4. Appeals to emotion, logic, and/or authority are weak, and should be used to greater advantage.
Crafting the opening of an argument
There are many ways to do this: use an occasional (i.e. current) event; use a startling opening; use an anecdotal opening; or, use an analytical opening (a critical discussion of the issue).
Once you have obtained the textbook, please read the sections on drafting and revising/editing an argument paper on pp. 22-34, and read the essay which follows on page 35.
Using Visuals in Arguments. Consider the following images. Which are their thesis statements? Which kinds of appeals do they use?
Chapter 2
Good news! The bulk of this chapter
considers how to read and write effectively.
It encourages the student writer to become a
motivated reader, to read responsibly, to read to understand, and to read in order to compare ideas. It also encourages the writer to be broad-minded. See the critical thinking powerpoint...

Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated the prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies for the prosecution against the other (defects) and the other remains silent (cooperates), the defector goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?
The prisoner’s dilemma
Without critical thinking no learning is likely to happen, much less collaborative learning.
Collaborative ‘mis-learning’ includes gossip, indoctrination, the learning of social prejudices, and stereotyping.
Critical thinking in education, therefore, is one of the most important goals.
Collaborative learning
What is the purpose of a book/article?
What is an author trying to accomplish?
What issues or problems are raised?
What data, experience or evidence is given?
What concepts are used to organize the data or evidence?
How might the author think about the world? Is it justified?
How can we enter that perspective to appreciate it?
Questions to ask
Distinguishes between reasoning, and subjective reactions which may have no logical basis.
Has a role in communication skills, problem solving, creative thinking, collaborative learning, and self-esteem.
Plays a primary role when we have a problem to solve.
Is related to effective communication in reading, writing, listening and speaking, which are all modes of reasoning.
Critical thinking
Raise vital questions and problems, and formulate them.
Gather and assess relevant information, and use abstract ideas to reach well-reasoned conclusions.
Think with an open mind and consider alternatives.
Communicate effectively with others to figure out solutions to complex problems.
Critical thinkers
Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking.
We attempt to reason in a fair-minded way.
Through critical thinking we attempt to live rationally, reasonably and with empathy.
We also use critical thinking to develop intellectual integrity, humility, civility, a sense of justice, and confidence in reason.
We avoid irrationality, prejudice, bias, distortion, some accepted social rules, and self or vested interest.
It is composed of a set of information and belief generating and processing skills.
It uses these uses these skills to guide behaviour.
It is contrasted with acquiring and retaining information, the use of skills through repetition, and the use of skills without acceptance of results.
It is grounded in fairmindedness and integrity
Two Components
Structures are implicit in all reasoning.
We examine purpose, problem, questions at issue, our own assumptions, concepts, and empirical grounds.
We use reasoning to lead us to conclusions, look at implications and consequences, and consider objections from alternate viewpoints and frames of reference (i.e. society, culture, personal conviction).
It examines structures and elements
It is an intellectually disciplined process.
We learn to conceptualize, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information.
Information comes from observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication.
It is a guide to belief and action.
It is thinking that is clear, accurate, precise, consistent, and relevant.
It is based on sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth and fairness.
What is critical thinking?
Peter Grevstad
Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
Critical thinking
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