This final assignment is designed to involve all of the main skills that you have learned during this course. In particular, your paper should demonstrate the ability to construct a deductively valid or inductively strong argument, clearly and accurately explain your reasoning, use high-quality academic sources to support the premises of your argument, fairly and honestly evaluate contrary arguments and objections, and identify fallacies and biases that occur within the arguments or objections presented.
You will continue to build on the option you chose in your Week One Initial Argument Paper. You will need to research a minimum of three scholarly sources from the Ashford University Library. (For further information about discovering and including scholarly research, take a look at the FindIt@AU Tutorial instructional resource.)
In your paper
- Explain the topic you are addressing and your position on it. Provide a preview of your paper and a statement of your thesis in your opening paragraph. [Approximately 100 words]
- Present your main argument for your thesis in standard form, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line. Clearly indicate whether your argument is intended to be inductive or deductive. Follow up the presentation of your argument by clarifying the meaning of any premises that could use some explanation. [About 150 words]
- If your argument is deductive, then it should be valid (in the strict logical sense of the word); if it is inductive, then it should be strong. Make sure to avoid committing logical fallacies within your argument (e.g., begging the question). Additionally, the premises should be true, to the best of your knowledge. If one of your premises has a pretty obvious counter-example, then you should either fix the argument so that it does not have this flaw, or later, in your paper (steps three through five) you should address the apparent counter-example (showing that it does not really refute the truth of your premise). Arguments that are not valid, not very strong, commit fallacies, or that have counter-examples that are not adequately addressed will not receive full credit.
- Provide supporting evidence for the premises of your argument. [Approximately 350 words]
- Pay special attention to those premises that could be seen as controversial. Evidence may include academic research sources, supporting arguments (arguments whose conclusions are premises of the main argument), or other ways of demonstrating the truth of those premises. This section should include at least one scholarly research source.
- Explain a strong objection to your argument. [Approximately 250 words]
- Study what people on the other side of this question think about your reasoning and present the best possible objection that someone could have to your argument. Do not commit the straw man fallacy here. Reference at least one scholarlyresearch source. See the “Practicing Effective Criticism” section of Chapter 9 of the course text for more information.
- Defend your argument against the objection. [Approximately 200 words]
- Once you have presented the objection, indicate clearly how you might respond to it. It is acceptable to admit that reasonable people might disagree with you or that there might be an area in which your argument could be further strengthened, but you should do your best to explain why your argument is sound or cogent despite the objections.
- Provide an appropriate conclusion. [Approximately 75 words]
- For guidance about how to develop a conclusion see the Introductions and Conclusion resource from the Ashford Writing Center.
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