explore opposing arguments related W r i t i n g

explore opposing arguments related W r i t i n g

Exploring a Controversy over Justice

For the final paper, you will explore opposing arguments related to a public controversy that you select yourself. As in the previous papers, you can take a stand on the controversy, or develop a claim that offers some insight into some aspect of the controversy without taking a stand in the debate yourself.

This final paper is also an opportunity for you to practice argumentation in the tradition of controversia, the tradition that still forms the foundation of legal reasoning. Keep the core principles of this tradition in mind as you think about your approach to the third paper:

  • Argument deals with probabilities but does not preclude our ability to defend one position as stronger than others.
  • All opening positions are partial in the dual sense that they are biased in favor of their own presumptions and they do not represent all that may be said about the subject.
  • If we accept our partiality, we must also accept the possibility that exchange with others could prompt us to change our minds.
  • If we accept our partiality, we should be inclined to suspend judgment until all positions have been addressed.
  • The ground rules for judgment in the context of probability do not depend upon formal standards of logical certainty, but on the principles at play in the exchange between the parties engaged in conflict – in the evolving ‘epistemic standards of the audience.

Audience: As you mow over the topic for your final paper, think about the audience you are addressing. What are the concerns and values of this audience? What tone do you want to adopt in addressing the audience? Do you want to be humorous? Ironic? Serious? What will be the most effective way of developing your claim, or your theme? Do you want to include personal experience?

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