Fall, 2017 Argumentation Paper

Worth 20% of semester grade.

"Every issue has (at least) two sides to it!"

Assignment may be changed or updated any time before official assignment. 

*In class review of drafts Thurs./Friday, Nov. 21/22*

Paper due by Tues/Wed., Nov. 28/29, 2017 at the beginning of class.

Assignment: Five-paragraph ISARC-style argument. Choose either option 1, 2 or 3 below (only one).  Assignment options may be changed any time before being officially assigned.

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY: You may also submit one or two extra argument papers for extra credit if you wish, based on the other options you did not choose for the main paper. If you decide to do this, clearly mark your extra papers "extra credit."  Each extra paper can be worth up to five points extra credit on your final grade. The requirements, grading and due date for extra credit papers are the same as for the main assignment.

Option 1: First of all, find out what your own religion, faith tradition, saints, prophets, scriptures, religious leaders, political ideology, philosophy or ethical traditions say about war, particularly the use of nuclear weapons in war. For (optional) example, if you wish to see what the Catholic Church really teaches about war, read items 2314 and 2315 of the Catholic Catechism, plus this recent article from National Catholic Reporter. After you have done this, in rich five-part ISARC format persuade the rest of the class to agree with what your own religion, moral teachings that you follow, or political or ethical tradition that you identify with says about the possession and threats of nuclear weapons today (2017).  In your essay clearly label the five paragraphs of your argument, I,S,A,R and C, according to the ISARC format. In your Introduction paragraph you MUST quote from  your own religion's or ethical tradition's specific documents and teachings on war in your standpoint.  This is required. However, remember that not all of your audience will respect the same teachings or follow the same faith or ethical guidelines, so in your Statement be sure to use some arguments that will also persuade non-believers or those who disagree to agree with you! Pay particular attention to the Antithesis and Refutation in your argument. Note: In this essay you must use first person plural (we and us) when referring to your faith group, ethical tradition or ideology. Do not use "I" and "me." Use "you" only if directly addressing your readers.  If you do not follow any particular religion, ethical tradition, moral leader, teacher, scriptures, political ideology or philosophical school, please choose a different option for this paper--do not simply argue from your own personal opinions on war or nuclear weapons. Note: This assignment is about nuclear weapons today--do not focus on the moral question of the use of nuclear bombs in World War II. 


Option 2: Carefully re-read the article, "Dynamic for Democracy," (High Points, April, 1942, pps. 36-46), by Molendyk and Edwards, from week 6 of this course. This article has provoked considerable controversy over the years. If you choose this option, use a rich five-part ISARC format argument to persuade the rest of the class to agree with you on your own personal opinion about the following question: In school, should today's students (2017) be taught in class what Molendyk and Edwards describe as an "intelligent hatred" of racism, discrimination and fascism, as explained on page 39 to 41 of that article, or not? Why or why not?  Use a sophisticated argument carefully based on what the authors wrote; do not simply argue that "hatred just breeds more hatred" or "If you turn the other cheek to the racists they'll just end up cutting your throat," and stop there. Pay particular attention to the Antithesis and Refutation in your argument. Quote extensively from what Molendyk and Edwards wrote, but be sure to focus on today's world, NOT on the World War II era.  In your essay clearly label the five parts of your argument I, S, A, R and C.  If you choose this option you may not use first person (I, me, we or us) in your essay. Use "you" only if directly addressing your readers.


Option 3: Carefully read the 2017 "Call  to Action" from the group Refusefascism.org. Then write a rich five-part ISARC essay arguing whether or not a college student like yourself should agree with, and act on what the authors of this Call are arguing, carefully explaining why or why not. Use a sophisticated argument based closely on what the authors of the Call have written. Quote extensively from the Call. In your essay clearly label the five parts of your ISARC argument I, S, A, R and C.  Pay special attention to the Antithesis and Refutation in your argument. If you choose this option you must use first person (I, me, we and us) but you may not use second person (you) anywhere in your essay.  Do not use easy, trite arguments like "elections have consequences," or "people are fed up." 


Special instructions: This assignment may be done individually, or, if you prefer, in a group with one or two other classmates taking this same course. Assignment must be five good, rich paragraphs long. Since this class does not teach citation methods, correct APA or MLA citations will not be required. However, if you quote or use any text obtained online or from other outside sources you must put the text in quotes (" ") and then include a parenthetical reference to the  source where that text was found. No bibliography or list of sources at the end of your assignment is needed. Note: Do not use your essay primarily to attack some other group's beliefs! Instead, your main job is defend your own or your group's beliefs, though in your antithesis and refutation you must carefully address and refute opposing standpoints as well.

Important: Linked pages, articles and documents on this assignment represent the opinions of the respective authors, and are here offered for academic discussion and argument only. No endorsement of the content of any hyperlink on this page is offered or implied. O.W.


O.W.9/16 rev.8/17

For educational purposes only.

Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655
The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
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