Chapter 1 Hamnes

Chapter 1: Why Do We Argue

What's the point of writing in college?

  • Higher education has two interrelated functions:
  • to communicate and
  • to create knowledge
  • You get to learn how to write from professionals, (your professor).
  • You'll use the skills, knowledge, and habits that you learn as an apprentice scholar throughout college and in your personal and professional life.
  • Your apprenticeship will teach you how to think like a well-educated person:
    • Make decisions carefully and take your time.
    • Carefully explain and support their conclusions for others to scrutinize.
    • Know that everyone's perspective, including your own, is limited.

What do arguments achieve?

  • Writing and arguing are active, and they can even be fun.
  • People who are well-educated about how arguments work can craft logically sound, persuasive cases that benefit them personally and professionally.
  • For example, citizens rely on their critical thinking skills when they spot the tricks that politicians use to get their vote or that advertisers use to entice consumers to buy things they don't really need.
  • Scholarly arguments have real purposes based in problems that interest the participants, address a specific audience
  • Scholarly arguments belong to larger conversations, histories, and contexts that determine the rules for what counts as a good argument.

How can we use writing to improve our lives?

  • Writing can be empowering: it gives us a voice and an opportunity to say something meaningful and significant.
  • When faced with a writing task, we have the potential to change the world in some small way, even if it's just to inspire or pester or provoke one reader, and to change our own minds about something.

How and what do scholars write?

  • Scholars typically follow a more recursive process-that is, they move back and forth among the stages, oftentimes repeating steps multiple times and at different points in their process
  • Although they typically do some planning before they begin, scholars also allow drafting, revision, and peer feedback to reshape their ideas.
  • Experienced scholars not only consider who would care about their argument but also why it matters in the first place.
  • Scholars read and write arguments to investigate three basic questions:
    • How do we know what we know?
    • Why do we know what we know?
    • How can we improve what we know and believe?

How should apprentice scholars approach writing in college?

  • To develop your writing ability, you only need four things:
    • knowledge,
    • practice,
    • feedback, and, most important,
    • motivation
  • Experienced writers don't write the same way every time, and neither should you.
  • Writing process:
    • Discovery
    • Drafting
    • Revision
    • Editing
  • If you only write one draft, you lose the opportunity to revise and expand you thinking.
  • Pay careful attention not just to the content of what you read but also to the author and his audience and purpose.
  • Important to know your target audience, secondary audience, and tertiary audience.
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