Day 2 - Tuesday

Day 2 - Tuesday

I. Housekeeping

  • names and sign-in sheet
  • course packets? Did you get them? How was the reading? Tough/easy? Entertaining? Always read with a pen in hand.

II. Argument Background

A. Our goal today: argument anatomy and physiology

We break things down for ease of understanding and memorization

B. Brainstorming re: intuitions about and cultural attitudes toward argument

On a scratch sheet, note words we use to describe:

  • when someone wins an argument
  • when someone resists an argument (of someone else's making)
  • when someone uses evidence in an argument

We tend to understand argument as warfareŠ hard, dirty, painful ground warfare, in particular. How does this attitude shape the way we argue?

  • two sides only; a right and a wrong
  • no compromise
  • winning is better than truth
  • lack of respect for opponent; to blow him/her away is best

C. Academic argument is different

What are the goals of argument in the academy (at universities)?

  • to increase readers'/thinkers' understanding of a subject
  • to gain attention/appreciation for a subject
  • to put forth new views

What are the ramifications of these different goals on the way academicians execute their arguments?

  • academic writers compromise
  • academic writers respect their opponents and acknowledge their strengths
  • academic writers search for truth but recognize that the truth is likely to be complex, comprised of a variety of facets, etc.
  • Academic argument, in other words, is DIALOGIC. Academic argument resembles a conversation, not a war. We're a discourse community.

III. So let's converse

You've read some material for today; let's discuss it and make some academic arguments about it. From our conversation, we'll glean the parts of argument; we'll work backwards from our discussion to determine the anatomy of our argument.

Possible questions:

  • How would you characterize the creator?
  • What do the similarities amongst these creation stories suggest about the way humans conceive of creation?
  • How do these creation stories applicable to artistic creation? How do they help us understand the process of making art?


IV. The Parts of Argument

We discover them through the natural questions of intelligent conversation:

  • Claim: What do you think?
  • Reasons: What makes you think so?
  • Warrant: What's that (reason/evidence) got to do with it (claim/evidence)? Often a question of definition, often implied. eg: What does the fact that the creator can fling boulders have to do with his strength? Boulders are extremely heavy, and to be able to fling them is, therefore, to have strength.
  • Evidence: How do you know?
  • A/R: But what aboutŠ?

Homework: Read the rest of the creation stories. Construct a skeletal argument (brief, parts labeled) re: the most compelling creation story.