Academic Writing

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Academic Writing. What distinguishes Good Writing from Bad Writing ? Let’s Read from Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance . Academic Writing. “Quality” - Pirsig (as Phaedrus) later becomes obsessed with this concept to the point of mental instability.
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Academic Writing
  • What distinguishes Good Writing from Bad Writing?
  • Let’s Read from Robert Pirsig’sZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Academic Writing
  • “Quality” - Pirsig (as Phaedrus) later becomes obsessed with this concept to the point of mental instability.
  • What’s the point here?
  • True writing is a sort of creative calling forth. It takes care and attention. There are no real tricks, shortcuts, or formulas.
  • You have to learn to look internally to evaluate your own work as you create it.
  • Academic Writing
  • Let’s come back to Earth. There are still practical techniques/ skills to master.
  • Let’s read “Writing in College”
  • “Writing in College”Answer the following, to be collected: What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as a writer? (Make a T-Chart)What, if anything, surprises you about this reading?Academic Writing
  • How confident are you in your ability to write successfully in college? Why? Relate your writing experience to the points made by Williams and McEnerney in the article.
  • Aristotelian Logic & Fashioning an ArgumentA Study of Deductive ReasoningWhy learn this stuff?
  • Logic = Reasoning
  • Basis of academic thought
  • Creation of argument
  • How do I demonstrate logic?
  • Make obvious, explicit connections between your major thoughts and ideas
  • You want someone to FOLLOW your train of thought.
  • Aristotle
  • Worked with syllogisms
  • Formal system of thought
  • Provides a method for connecting ideas together
  • Syllogism
  • Ex:
  • 1) Wood floats in water.2) Ships are made of wood3) Therefore ships float in water.Syllogisms
  • #1 and #2 are both a premise.
  • #3 is a conclusion
  • Syllogism Example Reiterated
  • Premise #1: Wood floats in water.
  • Premise #2: Ships are made of wood.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, ships float in water.
  • Syllogism Practice
  • If all humans are mortal,
  • and all Greeks are humans,
  • then all Greeks are mortal.
  • This type of logic isn’t perfect!
  • All chickens have two legs.
  • Aristotle has two legs.
  • Therefore, Aristotle is a chicken.
  • =flawedHowever, this isn’t the point!So?
  • When you write an essay, watch your premises. They should lead to a valid conclusion.
  • Examples – Fill in the missing component
  • All trees have root systems.
  • Therefore, All trees need nitrogen.
  • All root systems need nitrogen.
  • Examples – Fill in the missing component
  • All fruits grow on trees
  • Therefore, all oranges grow on trees
  • All oranges are fruits
  • Examples – Fill in the missing component
  • All bachelor's are single
  • Johnny is single,
  • Hence, Johnny is a bachelor
  • Ex: Logic w/o syllogism format
  • Everyday I go to work. This journey from my home to my office takes one hour. My office starts at eight o' clock in the morning. So, if I leave my home at seven o' clock in the morning, I will reach the office in time.
  • ArgumentValidity and SoundnessArgument: Validity
  • A deductive argument is said to be validif and only if it takes a form that makes it impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion nevertheless to be false. Otherwise, a deductive argument is said to be invalid.
  • Argument: Validity
  • Valid arguments do not require true premises.
  • Ex: Valid Argument – True premises
  • Either Elizabeth owns a Honda or she owns a Saturn.
  • Elizabeth does not own a Honda.
  • Therefore, Elizabeth owns a Saturn.
  • Ex: Valid Argument – False premises
  • All toasters are items made of gold.
  • All items made of gold are time-travel devices.
  • Therefore, all toasters are time-travel devices.
  • Argument - Soundness
  • A sound argument is one that is not only valid, but begins with premises that are actually true
  • Soundness
  • A deductive argument is sound if and only if
  • 1) it is both valid, and
  • 2) all of its premises are actually true.
  • Otherwise, a deductive argument is unsound.
  • Ex: Sound argument
  • No felons are eligible voters.
  • Some professional athletes are felons.
  • Therefore, some professional athletes are not eligible voters.
  • QUANTIFIERSPractice…
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