Lesson One: Why We Argue


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Lesson One: Why We Argue

  1. 1. Lesson One Why We Argue Neijiang Normal University - Instructor: Brent A. Simoneaux
  2. 2. Our main focus for this semester will be on writing essays. Particularly, we will focus on argumentative essays. We will cover chapters 5, 6, and 8 in our text. Semester O bjective
  3. 3. <ul><li>By the end of this lesson, you should know: </li></ul><ul><li>What argument is </li></ul><ul><li>Why we argue </li></ul><ul><li>How culture might create obstacles when writing argument </li></ul>Today’s O bjectives
  4. 4. Take 5 minutes to write a definition and an example to illustrate. Do not use your dictionary. argument
  5. 5. “ The aim or purpose of argument is to use logic (both inductive and deductive) to create reasoned communication of ideas, insights, and experiences to some audience so as to produce a new understanding of some issue for that audience.” So, what is argument? {argument}
  6. 6. {argument} What argument is not : 1. Argument is not confrontation .
  7. 7. {argument} What argument is not : 2. Argument is not opinion.
  8. 8. {argument} What argument is not : 3. Argument is not disagreement about fact.
  9. 9. {argument} What argument is not : 4. Argument is not synonymous with formal or classic logic.
  10. 10. A question of degree {argument} exposition argumentation persuasion Purpose: informative Purpose: interpretive and informative Purpose: less informative more persuasive Spectrum of Writing Purposes
  11. 11. A question of degree {argument} Spectrum of Content exposition argumentation persuasion facts facts + analysis emotional / irrational grocery lists manuals business letters academic essays political writing advertising
  12. 12. A question of degree {argument} <ul><li>The spectrum of writing illustrates two useful concepts: </li></ul><ul><li>As the writer’s purpose moves from pure exposition toward persuasion, it incorporates many of the elements of the types of writing that precedes it. </li></ul>
  13. 13. A question of degree {argument} The spectrum of writing illustrates two useful concepts: 2. One type of writing may fall in different classifications along the spectrum because classification is determined by the purpose of the writer and the needs of the audience. (ie: scientific paper)
  14. 14. {argument} It is important to remember that argumentative essays involve the use of logic and teach much more than research of a subject.
  15. 15. {argument} This is where it becomes difficult for students, especially Eastern students. Given what you now know about argument, what do you think are some cultural obstacles that you might encounter when writing argumentative essays?
  16. 16. {argument} The Biggest Cultural Obstacle Logic is essentially a western construct.
  17. 17. “… The most striking difference between the traditions at the two ends of the civilized world is in the destiny of logic. For the West, logic has been central and the thread of transmission has never snapped…” -Philosopher Angus Graham {argument}
  18. 18. <ul><li>Independent </li></ul>{argument} L o gic Aristotle The Greeks thought of themselves as:
  19. 19. 2. Individuals with distinctive properties {argument} L o gic Aristotle The Greeks thought of themselves as:
  20. 20. 3. Units separate from others in society {argument} L o gic Aristotle The Greeks thought of themselves as:
  21. 21. 4. In control of their own destinies {argument} L o gic Aristotle The Greeks thought of themselves as:
  22. 22. Similarly, Greek philosophy regarded the object in isolation as the proper focus of attention and analysis. {argument} L o gic
  23. 23. This led to a move toward abstraction and distrust of the senses. {argument} L o gic
  24. 24. For example, Aristotle thought of attributes as having a reality distinct from their concrete embodiments. {argument} L o gic
  25. 25. In other words, it was meaningful for Aristotle to speak not just of a solid object, but of attributes in the abstract and to have theories about these abstractions. {argument} L o gic
  26. 26. <ul><li>Woodenness </li></ul><ul><li>Brownness </li></ul><ul><li>Sturdiness </li></ul><ul><li>Solidness </li></ul>{argument} L o gic
  27. 27. Aristotle would then analyze these attributes and create theories about them. {argument}
  28. 28. The world, then, is in principle simple and knowable. {argument} L o gic
  29. 29. All one has to do is understand an object’s distinctive attributes so as to identify its relevant categories and then apply a certain theory to the category. {argument} L o gic
  30. 30. {argument} L o gic Think about the implications of all of this: We have this entire culture of people who (1) believe that the world is in principle simple and knowable; (2) love abstract ideas and theories; and (3) think of themselves as individual and separate.
  31. 31. {argument} L o gic debate
  32. 32. {argument} L o gic Argument was used in debate to communicate ideas, insights, and experiences to the audience so as to produce new understanding. Logic was developed as one of the main tools of debate.
  33. 33. {argument} L o gic <ul><li>Debate is still a very important element of Western culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Politics </li></ul>
  34. 34. {argument} L o gic
  35. 35. {argument} L o gic <ul><li>Debate is still a very important element of Western culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Politics </li></ul><ul><li>Academia </li></ul><ul><li>Daily life </li></ul>
  36. 36. {argument} L o gic What about Chinese philosophy and culture?
  37. 37. {argument} L o gic <ul><li>There were two short-lived movements of little influence in the East that had a similar spirit of logical inquiry as the West: </li></ul><ul><li>Ming jia </li></ul><ul><li>Mohists </li></ul>
  38. 38. {argument} L o gic
  39. 39. Chinese social life was interdependent and characterized by harmony. (Taoists: Man & nature) (Confucians: Man & Man) {argument} L o gic
  40. 40. Similarly, the Way, and not the discovery of truth, was the goal of philosophy. Thought that gave no guidance to action was considered fruitless. {argument} L o gic
  41. 41. The world was complicated, events were interrelated, and objects (and people) were connected not as pieces of a pie, but as ropes in a net. {argument} L o gic
  42. 42. Complexity and interrelation meant for the Chinese that any attempt to understand something without appreciation of its context was doomed. {argument} L o gic
  43. 43. {argument} L o gic “ The aim of the Chinese classical education has always been the cultivation of the reasonable man as the model of education. An educated man should, above all, be a reasonable being, who is always characterized by his common sense, his love of moderation and restraint, and his hatred of abstract theories and logical extremes.” -Literary critic Lin Yutang
  44. 44. {argument} L o gic This semester, we are going to be learning how to think as well as write.
  45. 45. {argument} L o gic Why do we argue? To create a dialogue in an effort to discover truth.
  46. 46. Homew o rk Think about an argumentative essay topic that you are interested in and curious about. Write down your general topic and bring it to class next week. We’ll work on making it more specific later.
  47. 47. Homew o rk Choose any object that you use in your daily life (look in your pockets, dorm room, purse, wallet, etc.) Study this object; look at it very closely. Now, write one paragraph to describe it in detail. Use your imagination. Use your Writing Notebook. Due: next week.
  48. 48. Next Week : Invention