english course

Purpose: To effectively present an argument of one of the following types: evaluative, proposal or causal.

Mission: Pick an issue you’re passionate about. It can be abstract and philosophical (“Martin Heidegger’s influence on Sartre’s existentialism”) or ordinary and every day (“Why shopping at Wal-Mart is good-times”). Then, argue the issue.

So, what’s evaluative? Simple: an evaluation. Judging. Sizing-up. This type of argument evaluates some particular issue, according to some standard of good or bad, strong or weak. You can evaluate the strength of Hilary Clinton’s platform. You can evaluate the effect the athletic expansion is going to have for MSU Athletics and MSU as a whole. You can evaluate the extent to which Sartre mis/understands Heideggerian phenomenology. You can evaluate the impact of Indian casinos on Oklahoma.

What’s a proposal? Simple: should do X. Hilary Clinton should take a tougher stance on immigration. The OSU athletic director should funnel more money into practice fields than housing. Disciples of Sartre should recognize the extent to which his philosophy is closer to nihilism than true existentialism. Lawmakers should pass a bill so that casinos can’t condemn private property adjacent to their resorts.

What’s a causal argument? Simple: X caused Y. Y is a result of X. Hilary’s husband is the cause of her current standing in the polls. Ranking 10th of 12 in the Big 12 in terms of facilities is what caused this recent initiative behind the athletic village. Sartre’s philosophy is the result of Heidegger’s popularity in French intellectual circles in the 1930s. Casino revenues have increased state funding for education by 30 percent.

Pick a topic, focus on a current debate surrounding that topic, and take a position. THEN, I want you to find three other sources/viewpoints. Important here is that you choose an issue that’s not too broad, not too narrow. Note: I want a variety of perspectives; I do not want you to find three that all conveniently agree with each other (and you).

Formal Grading Criteria: You should be able to demonstrate the ability to do the following:

•Summarize and define the stakes of a particular argumentative issue

•Write a dynamic thesis which proposes a position on that argument

•Use effective and well-paragraphed evidence to support that position and to address and respond to the concerns of the opposition.

•Artfully integrate and embed quoted material into your essay

•Avoid common argumentative pitfalls—i.e. fallacies

•Make use of ethos, pathos and logos when forming your argument. You are, after all, trying to convince me (the reader, in this case) that your position is the right one.

Word Count: 1800