Inductive Argumentative Essay
TOPIC: WHAT DO I THINK AND WHY DO I THINK IT?
It's time to write your first essay in this course. Your goal here is to write a 'cogent' essay on any debatable topic you may choose. I define cogent ( From the Latin cogent-, cogens, present participle of cogere to drive together ) as, reasoning from believable and justified assumptions and premises to a conclusion PROBABLY driven by those assumptions and premises
Since this course concerns HOW you reason and not WHAT you reason, then the topic is only important because it involves your interest and passion. This opportunity may be a new experience for some so take advantage of writing on a topic that excites your intellect.
Notice the word 'intellect' as opposed to the word 'feelings'. What you THINK, not what you FEEL is the point of this assignment. Consequently successful essays will avoid use of expressions such as 'I feel', and use expressions such as 'I think'.
With your success in Exam #1 and Exam #2 you now have a good understanding of what 'cogent' reasoning entails. You now know that logical reasoning happens when a conclusion claim is necessarily entailed by premise claims. Now you know that a valid argument is one where a necessary conclusion flows out of the stipulated premises. That is exactly how you are to argue this essay assignment. Stipulate a set of premises that, if factually true, would entail the conclusion by logical necessity. Then do the same for the opposite point of view. That's all there is to it. The sample essay reprinted below was written by a former student in this online course. While not perfect it does satisfy the necessary and sufficient conditions for writing a cogent essay in this assignment.
1. State your claim immediately and don't beat around the bush with a long history of the universe since the big-bang. Get to the point you wish to make in the first sentence.
Example: This paper will defend the view that all American citizens with no criminal history PROBABLY SHOULD be allowed to carry concealed weapons to protect their lives and the lives of their neighbors.
2. State the assumptions you think are believable and justified in formulating your reasoning.
Example: The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides and protects the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms.
3. State the premises that entail your stated conclusion.
4. State the principle argument AGAINST your claim and give reasons for rejecting that opposing view.
5. Make your essay no more than 1100 words double spaced APA format. It can be shorter in length as long as it satisfies the 5 necessary steps below.
6. No essay will be graded that has not been spell/grammar checked.
7. Avoid ALL informal fallacies.
8. Submit your essay, via email no later than the due date announced by class email.
Necessary Steps For Cogent Reasoning
Step 1. Choose any debatable topic of your interest and make a truth claim about that topic.
EXAMPLE: "All nations need to adopt a 'sustainable food' public policy before the year 2010."
Step 2. List the major reasons you think (not FEEL) this truth claim is both probable.
Step 3. Apply the following rule for a cogent argument is reasoning from believable and justified assumptions and premises to a conclusion PROBABLY driven by those assumptions and premises
Step 4. Now take the OPPOSITE view on the topic and list the major reasons for arriving at the opposite view by cogent.
Step 5. At the end of your essay summarize which side of the debatable issue has the better set of reasons for their conclusion and why.
That's all there is to it! Have fun. Here's a Sample Essay for you to emulate
Phil-111: Critical Thinking and Writing
Sample Essay # 1 from an online student in 2016
___________________________________________________________________________Running head: THE ETHICS OF EATING ANIMALS !1The Ethics of Eating Animals Dylan xxxxxx Santa Barbara City College The Ethics of Eating Animals This paper will defend the conclusion that for the vast majority of people living in developed countries today, it is probably more ethical to be vegetarian. For the purposes of this paper, let us define “vegetarian” as a diet that excludes consumption of any food that requires the intentional killing of an animal for that consumption. Thus, our definition of a vegetarian diet does not exclude the consumption of animals that have lived their full life and have died naturally, or animals that have been killed by mistake, such as roadkill; nor does it exclude the consumption of animals that have been intentionally killed for other reasons like protection, such as a tiger plaguing a rural village, whose corpse is simply used for food after it has been killed for a completely independent reason, in this example, protection. So, we will focus on the act of intentionally killing animals expressly for the consumption of their flesh. Also for this paper, we will define an “animal” as a non-human sentient organism of the kingdom Animalia, and we will define “sentient” as having the capacity to feel pain. So when we say animals, we are not talking about animals in comatose states that cannot feel any pain. Lastly, to define our ethical framework and what we mean by “ethical,” we will adopt a popular ethical theory, the hedonistic utilitarian approach, which states that given a choice between two acts, the more ethical act is the one that better maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain. (This is of course a greatly simplified definition of hedonistic utilitarianism as originally theorized by Jeremy Bentham, but will suffice for the purposes of this paper.) Our thesis applies itself to “the vast majority of people in developed countries today.” Let us assume that it is possible for vegetarians to be as healthy as non-vegetarians. Let us further assume that in a developed country, a vegetarian diet is not significantly more expensive or timeconsuming to have than a non-vegetarian diet, nor that understanding and adhering to vegetarian nutritional guidelines is significantly more challenging than doing so for non-vegetarian nutritional guidelines. And in a developed country, let us assume that shifting from a nonvegetarian diet to a vegetarian one requires minimal changes in a person’s routines and habits of acquiring and consuming food. Let us go on to assume that some people who live in developed countries suffer from unique biological conditions that require them to eat animals to be as healthy as a people without such conditions, and additionally that some people live in extraordinary geographic or sociological circumstances that would entail similar negative health consequences if they did not eat animals. We may assume that such people constitute an exceedingly small portion of developed countries’ populations. Let us assume that the vast majority of animals consumed in developed countries come from factory farms, and that these animals suffer great amounts of pain in their lives. And lastly, let us make the assumption that today, with current technology, in order for the consumption of animals to be cost effective and efficient enough to feed the populations of developed countries, such suffering of animals in factory farms is necessary. From these assumptions, it follows that the majority of people today in developed countries eat animals despite having any fiscal, nutritional, or practical reasons for doing so, and that this dietary behavior requires that animals suffer great amounts of pain. Indeed, it is likely that the reasons provided by non-vegetarians for eating animals are purely hedonistic ones—that eating animals is pleasurable. (“Meat tastes good.”) This allows us to make a calculation of the ethicality of eating animals with the hedonistic utilitarian framework defined previously, that is, that the more ethical act is the one that better maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain. So, in order for eating animals to be ethical, it must be shown that the pleasure gained from consuming animals minus the pleasure gained from eating a vegetarian meal is greater than the pain caused by consuming animals. From the assumptions given previously, we know that the vast majority of people today in developed countries would be able to maintain their health, routine, and finances if they had a vegetarian diet, and that they would only gain superficial gustatory and perhaps olfactory pleasure from eating animals. And, we know that animals raised for human consumption suffer immensely their whole lives in cramped factory farms, many times meeting extremely painful deaths. And, we may make one more assumption: eating a vegetarian meal is not dramatically less pleasurable than eating a non-vegetarian one. Thus, we may deduce that for majority people in developed countries, the pleasure gained from consuming animals minus the pleasure gained from eating a vegetarian meal is not greater than the pain caused by consuming animals. And thus, we may conclude that for the vast majority of people living in developed countries today, it is more ethical to be vegetarian. Those who contend this conclusion, even accepting all the definitions articulated at the beginning of this paper, put forth a key objection: that pain and pleasure experienced by nonhuman animals should not be considered as strongly as pain and pleasure experienced by humans. Proponents of this view argue that this is so for several reasons, but the most common is that it’s because humans are more intelligent than non-human animals. Thus, they say, the pleasure gained by humans in eating animals does in fact outweigh the pain suffered by animals being raised for consumption, and therefore, being vegetarian is no more ethical than being nonvegetarian. However, this is flawed reasoning. For the same reason that considering the rights of women, racial minorities, and destitute people to have less weight than those of propertied white men on the basis of such arbitrary characteristics as their sex, race, and wealth is sexist, racist, and classist, respectively, weighing a species’ capacity to feel pain and pleasure as less than that of the human species based on an arbitrary characteristic such as intelligence can be called “speciesist.” Indeed, in human society, we do not determine the ethics of our interactions based on the intelligence of the actors involved. Thus, this argument is flawed. To reiterate the conclusion, for the vast majority of people living in developed countries today, it is probably more ethical to be vegetarian. ______________________________