Chapter 1 Why Do We Argue

Higher education has two interrelated functions:

  1. to communicate and
  2. to create knowledge
  • Importance of learning as an apprentice scholar: use skills, knowledge, and habits in personal and professional life
  • Developing the skills and habits scholars use can give you the ability to notice what others overlook, solve problems creatively, and make decisions independently

Well-Educated People

  • Make decisions carefully and take their time (gathering information before rushing to judgment)
  • Understand that they must carefully explain and support their conclusions for others to scrutinize
  • Know that everyone's perspective, including their own, is limited

Experience vs. Inexperienced Writers

  • Inexperienced writers' formula: chose topic, research for sources create outline, write first draft
    • Believe good writing happens magically for the lucky few with little effort
  • Experienced writers' formula (recursive process): move back and forth among the stages, allowing drafting, revision, and peer feedback to reshape their ideas â—¦
    • Effective writing is not a magical or natural talent; it can be explained and learned
    • Four Things to Develop Writing Ability: Knowledge, Practice, Feedback, Motivation

First Writing Process Lesson

  • Adapt your writing process to fit the particular writing situation (experienced writers don't write the same way every time)
  • Four Parts of the Writing Process:
  1. Discovery - includes tasks such as choosing a topic, identifying the right questions to ask, finding and processing outside sources, organizing ideas
  2. Drafting
  3. Revision - add, delete, or rearrange chunks of text or content
  4. Editing

Practicing Argument
Everyday Argument Elements:

  1. Have real purposes based in problems that interest the participants
  2. Address a specific audience
  3. Belong to larger conversations, histories, and contexts that determine the rules for what counts as a good argument
  4. Pursue ideal purposes

Scholarly Argument Elements:

  1. Pursue ideal purposes (seek truth and justify discoveries)
  2. Address sophisticated, demanding audiences
  • Rhetoric - the investigation of how persuasion and communication work (careful attention not just to the content of what you read but also to the author and his audience and purpose) â—¦Rhetorical Situation: writer, audience, and context (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How)

Writing With Purpose

  • Showcase knowledge and understanding of subject matter while also using critical and creative thinking to develop some fresh understanding
    • Analyze
    • Evaluate/Critique
    • Interpret
  • Purpose depends on audience (target, secondary, tertiary)

So What?

  • Scholars read and write arguments to investigate three basic questions:
  1. How do we know what we know?
  2. Why do we believe what we believe?
  3. How can we improve what we know and believe?
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