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John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

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Critical Thinking and Argumentation  

2016-08-30 12:32:29|  分类: Book 4: Critical |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Critical Thinking and Argumentation 

Zaixin Zhang, English Department 

Class email address: argclass@126.com

Fall 2016

Course Objectives    

This course focuses on the writing process as an approach to teaching writing and aims to help you to exercise critical thinking and argumentation. You will learn to

1.   write valid and cogent arguments for different claims: claims of fact, value, and policy,

2.   consider the reader’s needs and values,

3.   analyze others’ arguments,

4.   evaluate evidence,

5.   recognize fallacies, half truths, problematic statistics in others’ writing and avoid them in your own.

Textbook

Zhang Zaixin, ed. English Composition: From Creative Thinking to Critical Thinking, Book 4: Critical Thinking and Argumentation, Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2011. (Xerox copies of the book available for a small fee at the photocopy room in the basement of the Student Center).

Optional Texts

Cavender, Nancy and Howard Kahane. Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life. 11th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2010.

Chesla, Elizabeth L. Critical Thinking and Logic Skills for College Students. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999.

Course Requirements

Write, write, write. Seven papers, including a SES (statement, elaboration, and specifics) and a final exam, and informal writing (peer evaluations and a quiz on fallacy analysis) will be assigned during the semester. A late paper will be scored one letter grade (10 points) lower and must be turned in within one week of the due date, or it will be recorded as a zero. (The printout of each essay is to be handed in to me at the end of the class of the due date and the e-version to be sent to the class email address listed above). All papers and informal writing must be submitted to receive course credit. The writing assignments are as follows:

Course Work, 60%:

l  One SES assignment (200 words), 10%

l  Claim of fact essay (500 words), 10%

l  Claim of Value Essay (500 words), 10%

l  Revised Claim of Value Essay (pair work for the peer-evaluation partners, 700 words), 5%

l  Claim of Policy Essay (500 words), 10%

l  Revised Claim of Policy Essay (pair work for the peer-evaluation partners, 700 words), 5%

l  Peer Evaluations (three PEs on the first drafts), 10%.

Examination, 30%:

l  Fallacy Analysis (Quiz), 10%

l  Final Exam, 20%

Class participation, 10%

For the claim of value and claim of policy assignments, you are required to write a first draft and a revised essay (pair work for the peer-evaluation partners):

l   First draft: claim with proof (argument, evidence, sources)

l   Revised essay: revising for content (argument and counterargument, evidence, sources), expression, organization, and mechanics (see the standards for evaluating argumentative essays on p. IX of the textbook)

Tentative Schedule                                            

Week

1 Diagnostic Test and Introduction

2 Unit 1   Logos, Ethos, Pathos and Needs

3 Unit 2   Fallacious Appeals to Emotion

4 Unit 3   Fallacies about People

   SES assignment (200 words) due (10%)

5 Unit 4   Claim of Fact

6 Unit 5   Fallacies about Arguments (I)

   Claim of fact essay (500 words) due (10%)

7 Unit 7   Claim of Value

8 Unit 6   Fallacies about Arguments (II)

   Claim of Value Essay (500 words) due (10%)

9 Unit 8   Fallacies about Analogy

10      Unit 9   Fallacies in Deduction and Induction

   Revised Claim of Value Essay (700 words) due (5%)

11      Unit 10   Claim of Policy

12      Unit 11   Statistics and Ambiguities

   Claim of Policy Essay (500 words) due (10%)

13      Unit 12   Arguments for Analysis: Putting It All Together

14      Arguments for Analysis (continued)

   Revised Claim of Policy Essay (700 words) due (5%)

15      Conferences on Fallacy Analysis

16      Fallacy Analysis (Quiz) (10%)

TBA: Peer Evaluations (three PEs on the first drafts), 10%.

TBA: Final Exam, 20%.

Essays and informal writing assignments are weighted as noted above. Class participation (discussions, fallacy analyses, etc.) will count 10%.

Academic Honesty

To plagiarize means “to take (words, ideas etc) from (someone else’s work) and use them in one’s own work without admitting one has done so. If you plagiarize at university in Britain or the US you may be refused a degree” (Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture). Any act of plagiarism in this class will be reported to the dean.


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