arguments helps us verify H u m a n i t i e s

arguments helps us verify H u m a n i t i e s

The objective:

One of the most important uses of critical thinking is in critical analysis of others’ ideas. This is how we measure the truth and understanding within another’s ideas, which allows us to compare our own. Finding strengths in another’s ideas helps us adapt our own while finding flaws in another’s arguments helps us verify our own stances. Therefore, consider carefully the topic you choose for this project. Because, if it is difficult to find and criticize weaknesses within a particular argument, the understanding we can gain from that discussion is likely to be far more valuable and interesting.

The premise:

This scenario is a little more straightforward because it is not hypothetical. You are in an English class that is focused on critical thinking. We have discussed and practiced a variety of concepts related to making persuasive arguments including: thesis, evidence, reasoning, research, credibility, counterarguments, audience awareness, voice, word choice, and structure, just to name a few. Also, we have been discussing and practicing concepts for critical analysis of arguments including: premises and conclusions (both stated or unstated/implied), validity and soundness, knowledge and opinion, deductive and inductive logic, evaluation of truth in premises/conclusions, and logical fallacies. Now, we will be practicing these together in a real-world application to analyze and deconstruct a relevant argument for its weaknesses, and I am your audience.

The task:

First, find and choose a (preferably single) “text” in any form (written, video, podcast, etc.) with a relatively effective argument. This might be challenging because you should select an argument you think is generally persuasive, or at least one that many would find (or already have found) effective. In other words, be careful not to base your thesis around a straw man argument. Otherwise, what use is the analysis to either of us? You do not have to personally agree or disagree with the author or the author’s conclusions.

Next, you will deconstruct it, analyzing the argument for its strengths and, especially and most importantly, its weaknesses. With the main focus on critical thinking, your purpose is to convince me that you have thoroughly analyzed the arguments, and convince me that the author needs to critically rethink, refine, amend, or abandon their arguments.

The requirements:

  • Length: appropriate detail to convince your audience
  • Sources: appropriate use to convince your audience
  • MLA formatting (or APA)
    • This includes font, spacing, margins, page number, title info, etc.
  • MLA (or APA) Citations
    • In-text citations
    • Works Cited

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