In this assessment task you’ll be constructing the basic ingredients for an argumentative essay. It won’t actually be an essay. Rather, it will be more like relatively complete components that you could use to build an essay around. The core of that hypothetical essay is an argument. In this exercise you’ll choose an overall conclusion that you want to defend. It can be on any topic. We have also provided some paradigms of AT4 for you to read and reflect on.
Remember – the point of this exercise is for you to build your own argument. It defeats the purpose if you go out looking for other people’s arguments to copy.
Answer each of the following questions in a numbered paragraph.
1. Briefly state the overall conclusion of your argument. Clarify it if necessary so that it is perfectly clear what you are arguing for and what you are not.
2. Who is the intended audience for your argument? What kinds of things will they already understand? What kinds of premises can you assume they’ll find uncontroversial starting points to argue from?
3. Give an original argument in favour of your conclusion. You may need sub-arguments in favour of some of the premises you use in your main argument if you think that your audience would be likely to find those premises controversial.
4. State an objection to your argument in step 3 – one that you anticipate your audience might raise.
5. How can you reply to that objection?
6. (Optional Bonus) Can you describe the structure of your own argument? Is it an argument by analogy? An inference to the best explanation?