Argument Analysis Assignment

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Students are required to select an editorial or opinion piece to analyze, requirements are listed below.

1) State the conclusion that the author is trying to support (only one sentence) [5 points] This should only be one sentence.

2) What are all of the premises and supporting evidence that the author uses to support the conclusion? (at least 250-300 words) [20 points] Make sure that you identify ALL of the premises and supporting evidence that the author uses. Putting the arugment into standard form is highly recommended. If you have any questions about standard form, be sure to ask!

3) For each of the premises you identified above, answer the following: is the premise factually warranted by the evidence presented? Why or why not? (at least 300-350 words) [20 points] That is, you’ll need to address each premise separately, one by one, and answer this question for each of them. And remember: this is not a question regarding whether you agree with the author; rather it is a question of whether the author has provided (good) evidence for their view. If the author has relied on an assumption instead of evidence, be sure to state the assumption.

4) Are there any fallacies in the argument? What are they and how might they influence the audience? Or, if you cannot identify any fallacies in the argument, what are the 2 weakest premises in the argument and why might the audience find them weak? (at least 300-350 words) [20 points] Make sure that you look thoroughly for these fallacies—many arguments contain at least one! 

5) Imagine that you had a different perspective from that of the author. What kind of argument and evidence might you use to get them to see your point of view? (at least 250-300 words) [20 points] You can either present an argument here, or you can explain the kind of argument and evidence that would be appropriate here.

6) How has your own “web of belief” influenced how you have analyzed and evaluated the author’s argument? (at least 300-350 words) [20 points] Make sure that you reflect throughly on this question, and relate it to the specific argument you chose to analyze—after all, we all have this “web” that influences our thinking!

 

the author should be trying to convince the reader of his/her conclusion, so editorial and opinion pieces are the most suitable for this assignment. Straightforward news items would not be suitable.

Sources: On-line newspapers and magazines are the most obvious choices. If you have any questions regarding the appropriateness of a piece,

 

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