This project consists of a two-part essay:
Part 1: An approx. 2,500-word Research Essay focused on the past, present, and future of the civic controversy.
Your task is to examine in detail its key arguments using your own research and the theoretical and methodological vocabulary gleaned from the “Why We Argue” and “How Arguments Work” portions of the course lectures. Basically, this is a kind of companion piece for your Argumentative Essay. You are to “step back” for a minute and analyze the controversy as a rhetorical phenomenon above all else so that you can become a better advocate for your position. Part 1 should have two (2) primary sections:
Contexts of Controversy
• What are the key moments – events, historical periods, etc. – in the history of the controversy?
• Who are the key advocates – groups, individuals, etc. – on different sides of the controversy?
• Which people are most impacted by this controversy? And how are some impacted differently?
• In what ways and to what degree has the controversy been “resolved” historically, recently, and, perhaps, in the future?
• In what primary “spheres” of argument has the controversy taken form over time? And how does the character of these spheres shape the movement of the controversy across space and time?
• What is the range of media in which the controversy has emerged?
Means of Argumentation
• How do advocates adapt their argumentation to the values and preferences of the audiences they address?
• How do advocates use “premises of the real” to establish facts?
• How do advocates use “premises of the preferable” to give weight to certain values?
• How do advocates use “loci of the preferable” to create hierarchies of value?
• How do advocates give “presence” to certain aspects of the controversy?
• What are the key identifications and divisions (in Perelman’s language liaisons and dissociations) advocates establish?
• How do advocates use “quasi-logical” forms of argument to make certain propositions seem self-evident or necessary?
• What major fallacies do advocates use most often?
Part 2: An approx. 1,000 Argumentative Essay in which you advocate for a particular position, policy, or outcome relevant to some aspect of the broader controversy itself. The essay must include a short preface in which you describe the audience you are addressing. The audience should be imagined as neither friendly nor hostile to your advocacy. Follow the basics outlined in “What is an Argumentative Essay?” https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
Key Questions to Consider
• What specific aspect of the controversy are you arguing about?
• How do you need to adapt your argument to move your audience?
• What exactly are you asking your audience to do or think?
• Why is your argument important to your audience?
• Why is this the right time to make your argument?
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