(For a more detailed discussion of this paper, click here:
Because proposals are usually
presented in a context of controversy, both your stance on the issue and
your proposed solutions will be targets counter arguments. The argument
you construct on behalf of your proposal, then, will be strengthened if
it anticipates potential counter arguments, objections, or criticisms and
takes them into account -- by accommodating those that are legitimate,
or by refuting the illegitimate. This assignment gives you the chance to
develop a refutation essay, which you should revise and incorporate into
your final proposal. For a review of how to anticipate counter arguments,
see St. Martin's, pp. 230, & 537-43. And for samples from your
colleagues, check out the following:
Select the argument(s) that
most challenge(s) your proposal. Write a 3 to 4 page essay which presents
that argument and your response to it.
Your essay should develop several points in the following general pattern:
Your paper should:
Clearly define the problem you're addressing. Then state your position
and your solution briefly.
Clearly state the counter argument and show what it puts at stake for your
Reasonably and fairly summarize the argument you are going to refute.
Weigh the argument against the facts. Does it misuse the facts? Does it
leave some facts out? Does it emphasize the wrong ones? Does it account
Show the weaknesses in the argument's logic. Is the value or meaning it
attributes to the facts debatable? Is it based on questionable assumptions?
Does it make unwarranted inferences? Does it draw irrelevant or unconnected
implications? Does it include any logical fallacies? (For a discussion
of "logical fallacies," see St. Martin's, pages 459-462)
1. Fairly present the issue and the counter argument.
2. Consistently maintain a reasonable tone in refuting the argument.
3. Carefully construct the whole refutation so that it actually enhances
your argument for your proposed solution.