Classical Argument

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If necessary and productive, a conclusion which adds new insight or dimension to the argument, and a re-articulation of the thesis in terms made more complex and refined by the execution of I and II.

The advancing of an argument by logical persuasion is the goal of your essay.

We have moved from concrete description, which required “no structure,” to the structure of a memory recalled, to the analysis of a literary text, and now it is time to address more abstract issues, while still retaining all the concrete specificity you mastered in first two papers, and combining it with the critical acumen you began to acquire in essay three.

Beyond the realm of “I assert that two and two make four” we contrive to offer judgments of the world in the form of statements that are conditional: “Pleasant weather, isn’t it?” or “Einstein’s failure to reconcile Quantum mechanics with General Relativity had something to do with the causes of World War II.” Conditional statements are subject to logical inquiry: “But isn’t all this dry weather liable to ruin the cabbage crop?” or “How might a Unified Field Theory have mitigated global war?”

You are prepared to use language to logically persuade because you have been, wittingly or not, investigating the logic structures of language itself. So here’s the task.Choose a subject or issue that you have strong personal feelings about. Using the structure of a classical argument, write an essay of 1000 words or more in MLA format that is logical, convincing, objective, and antithetical to your own subjective position.

Note: We have reached that point in the semester where you must regard your papers as sacred objects, as glittering gems. Thus, you are obliged to make sure that the first time I see your revered and polished essay, all of the words are properly spelled, the grammar checks out, the syntax works, the passive voice is avoided, clarity and economy of expression are evident. I will no longer mark papers as a copy editor, but as a reader, and I will, I repeat, will mark points off for careless writing. Note the following from the syllabus addendum:

Since a few of you have expressed some confusions about essay submissions, allow me to clarify. As the syllabus states, your completed final essays (not drafts, not fragments, not anything but the finished product) are due at the beginning of the class hour on the due dates listed on the syllabus. They must be in MLA format, and stapled. If you must be absent on a due date, you are responsible for 1.) emailing me a copy through iCollege as an MS Word document before the class begins on that due date, and 2.) following up with a hard copy by the next class meeting. Essays emailed after the beginning of the class hour on the due date will not be accepted. Being absent does not grant you extra time to write that other students do not get. That’s not fair.

For the same reason, if you are late to class on a due date I will not accept your essay. If your essay is not in MLA format I will not accept it. If your essay is not stapled I will not accept it. Going forward no exceptions to this policy will be made.

Essays are eligible for revision if and only if they meet the following criteria: 1.) you have formatted your essay in proper MLA format; 2.) your essay reaches the minimum length requirement; 3.) your original submission was turned in on time (see above); and 4.) you received a grade below 70. Again, this is a matter of fairness to all. Revisions in all cases are due one week from the day originals are returned to the class. If you happen to be absent on the day I return essays, you are responsible for turning revisions in along with the others. You must provide me with the original, graded essay when you submit a revision. That way I can see what improvements you have made. Revisions without originals cannot be accepted.

The Structure of a Classical Argument

  • Articulation of the problem or argument and the formation of a restricted thesis.
  • Examination and refutation of evidence contrary to the thesis.
  • Presentation of evidence in support of the thesis.

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