Reading for 11/20 and Tips for Essay #3


There is very little reading for Tuesday, so please do it.  I know you have a paper due, but after it is done, the rest of the semester is much easier. It may also be fun for those who like fiction and writing stories.

For Tuesday, read the informational beginning on narrative argument in Chapter 9.  Also read the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula Le Guin. That’s it.  I suggest that you begin reading the stories in The Minority Report over the break, but we will go over that on Tuesday.


When constructing Essay #3, try to think about using one of the strategies in your text.  I often find that Aristotle’s arrangement pattern is the easiest and strongest, but the deductive syllogism has been good to me, as has the method of putting together a cohesive string of questions as invention and answering them for the actual text (more or less Cicero’s ideas in your text).

For starters, keep in mind the actual prompt in Essay #3 is to focus on a statement Kaku makes in his book Visions: “Ultimately society must make democratic decisions on whether or not to restrict certain kinds of technology.” So you must focus on that idea of “whether or not to restrict certain kinds of technology” based on your current understanding and research.

Say you want to deal with climate change.  Since we just watched Cool It, you might be inspired to use that source, along with some others, to write about restricting the use of fossil fuels.  A deductive syllogism might look something like this:

MP: Technology with catastrophic potential should be limited or eliminated.

mp: Fossil fuel-based tech has catastrophic potential.

C: Fossil fuel-based tech should be limited or eliminated.

Use that simple progression from general to specific to guide your writing throughout the paper.  You might begin with a stirring introduction that covers a tech-caused disaster; then, you can proceed to show your research that fossil fuel-based tech is leading to serious and avoidable problems; and lastly, you make the case that it should be limited or eliminated (which can be done in a number of ways–Lomborg’s big point was to make alternative energy more affordable).

An approach using Aristotle’s arrangement would follow a similar line (you can actually combine the two if you wish):

Introduction: Begin with a stirring tale of tech-caused disaster.

Statement of fact: Show your research into fossil fuel-based tech and its effects on the environment, society, and perhaps even the economy.

Statement of proof: Present your argument for limiting or eliminating fossil fuel-based tech.

Refutation of opposition: Clearly, there are those who would not want to get rid of or limit this tech.  Show that their arguments are flawed or unworthy of continued pursuit.

Conclusion: Remember, this is your last word with the reader(s). Make this section your knockout punch. Put forth writing that will emphasize your argument and stick in your audience’s mind.

If you like the question approach, come up with about 10 questions that relate to the subject and the prompt. That number is not fixed. You may use less; you may use more. But arrange the questions in a logical manner and proceed to answer them. Write flowing transitions between sections. You can put the questions into your writing, but avoid doing it too much.  Here are some questions that may come up for the subject I have above: What is a fossil-fuel? What harm does it cause? What is climate shift and why is it potentially catastrophic? Are there feasible alternatives to this technology? What are the drawbacks of not using it to the extent we are and how will we manage with less use?


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