Lesson 10

The Goal:

In this lesson you will be introduced to the concept of antithetical writing, or analyzing and explaining alternative (or even opposite) positions to those of your own. All good arguments own up to their own weaknesses and good writers are able to examine their own ideas honestly.

What is a good argument anyways? Classical argumentation is a topic that could take up an entire semester or two. In fact, many freshman composition courses cover only the form of the argument. This week you should begin to think about and notice the differences between good arguments and bad. Traditionally, an argument tends to follow this structure:

  1. Introduction and Background (Get the audience up to speed.)
  2. Summary of the Argument (Tell them what you’re going to tell them.)
  3. Proof (Support for your argument and the bulk of your paper)
  4. Refutation (Counter-arguments and weaknesses in your own argument)
  5. Conclusion (Make the reader remember what you have to say.)

You probably recognize that structure if you were ever taught the “5 Paragraph’ formula for essays. The 5 Paragraph Essay has it’s roots in classical rhetorical arguments. Pay attention to your reading assignments this week to understand what makes a good argument.

What to Read:

  1. Finding the Good Argument OR Why Bother With Logic?‘ by Rebecca Jones in  Writing Spaces, Vol 2.  
  2.  *”Killing Wolves” by Sherry Simpson
  3. Section A-2 in A Writer’s Reference (pp. 78-91). Pay special attention to the student essay located within.  

Essay 3

Paper 3 should be a formal “Argument.’ For more information see “Paper 3 Requirements‘


This is your last week of discussion:  Discussion #10


Submission Checklist:

  • 2-paragraph contribution to the Discussion page. (30 points)
  • Paper 3 (100 points)

with Megan Bush