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Analytical Essays

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by

Jake Williams

on 14 September 2016

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Transcript of Analytical Essays

First, what to avoid:
Vagueness
Ambiguity
Vagueness: probably the most common form of unclear thinking or writing
A word or phrase is vague if the group of things to which it applies has borderline cases
bald
cruel and unusual punishment
reckless driving
Ambiguity: when a word or phrase has more than one meaning
I am renting my house
Interviewer: Why don't you support gay marriage
Edwards: Well, I guess it was the way I was brought up
Semantic Ambiguity: containing an ambiguous word or phrase
McFadden, the running back, always lines up the right side
Jessica is cold
My aunt never used glasses
Grouping Ambiguity: results when it is not clear whether a word is being used to refer to a group collectively or to members of the group individually
Secretaries make more money than physicians do
Collectively, there are more secretaries than physicians
A few years ago, federal taxes were increased, and opponents of the change referred to it as "the biggest tax increase in history." If true, that makes the increase sound pretty radical, doesn't it? And it was true, if you looked at the total tax revenue that was brought in by the increase.
But this result was largely due to the number of people and the circumstances to which the increase applied. If we look at the percentage increase paid by individual taxpayers, this was not the biggest increase in history.
Other kinds of ambiguity...
I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever
I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine
You can bring the sauce separately, and I'll put it on myself
Generality
Syntactic Ambiguity:
when a claim is open to two or more interpretations because of its structure (syntax)
You will need a birth certificate or a driver's license and other photo ID.
[
You will need a birth certificate or a driver's license
]
and
[
other photo ID.
]
[
You will need a birth certificate
]
or
[
a driver's license and other photo ID.
]
Generality:
the less detail a claim provides, the more general it is
Moore has a pet
vs. Moore has a dog
vs.
Moore has a Doberman
Definitions & Their Purpose...
1) Lexical
2) Stipulative
3) Precising
4) Persuasive/Rhetorical
Lexical:
telling us what the word ordinarily means
Stipulative:
a new or currently-existing term is given a specific meaning for the purposes of argument or discussion in a given context
Precising:
to reduce/eliminate vagueness, generality, and ambiguity
Rhetorical/Persuasive:
to persuade. It isn't clear that we should think of them as "real" definitions as their intent isn't to provide agreed upon or ordinary understandings of meaning
Rhetorical continued...
Emotive meaning/Rhetorical force:
the meaning consists of the positive or negative associations of the word(ing) used
Support the troops and bring them home
vs. cut and run
Full transcript