Essay 3: Exploring Formal Argument
Purpose: This assignment should help you to solidify your skills with formal arguments.
Assignment: Find an issue that has more than one side to it and write an argument where you persuade your readers to either adopt a particular position or to undertake a certain course of action. A well-rounded argument will consider opposing viewpoints and attempt to refute them.
Ways to Proceed: Almost every issue has more than one side. Consider the designated hitter rule in baseball for instance. The American League allows designated hitters, but the National League does not. You could write an argumentative essay on whether the designated hitter rule is a good practice for baseball. Or what about such hot topics as immigration, physician-assisted suicide, right to die laws, abortion, the death penalty, homeland security, the patriot act, the death penalty, the government's foreign policy, prayer in school, or even corporatizing the American political system. All of these issues have more than one side to them. First, do some prewriting to figure out what YOUR position is. Define all sides of the argument: for, against, in the middle. Lay out arguments for your position. Next, lay out those arguments against your position. You have to be able to understand opposing viewpoints if you plan to neutralize their arguments. Finally, craft an essay where you persuade readers that your opinion or course of action is the most reasonable position on this issue. Such an essay will naturally try to dissuade readers from dissenting opinions. To such ends, you need to make use of refutation / rebuttal in your essay. To refute opposing arguments means to neutralize them, to find the flaws in their argument (via fallacies or the fact that such stated positions are clearly not reasonable). A well-rounded and thoughtful essay will make your position seem the most reasonable through the use of well-crafted arguments as well as the neutralization of opposing arguments via refutation / rebuttal.
Criteria for Evaluation: Your essay should be approximately six pages in length (your Annotated Works Cited page can count for AT MOST two pages in your final page count), typed, double-spaced, with one inch margins. Use 12 point font: nothing smaller than Times New Roman; nothing larger than Courier New. Your essay should be MLA formatted.
You will be expected to develop a thesis driven essay that focuses on a single-perspective persuasive argument. It should convince the reader that your position / course of action is the most reasonable. It should effectively negate opposing arguments through the use of refutation/rebuttal.
Your essay should make use of at least two (2) outside sources, one supporting your position, and one supporting an opposing viewpoint. Proper MLA citation and documentation-including parenthetical citations in the text of the paper and an "Annotated Works Cited" page-is an absolute necessity for this paper. Good luck on this assignment.