Final Project Directions
Writing Longer Argumentative Passages Introduction
The arguments we will construct in this section are longer and of more general interest than those in the previous section. The subject matter is provided by editorials that have been clipped from newspapers. These editorials serve as a limited source of facts and as a stimulus to the imagination for writing longer argumentative passages. In working the exercises that appear at the end of this section you should follow this six-step approach:
1. Read the selection at least twice.
2. Underline the most important claims the author makes.
3. Make a list of these claims.
4. Mentally massage these claims, expanding upon them and drawing inferences from them.
5. Evaluate the claims and inferences.
6. Write an argument supporting one of the conclusions posed prior to the selection.
The purpose of each editorial selection is to provide a springboard for argumentation. The editorials themselves fall short of being sustained arguments leading to a single conclusion. All of them contain arguments, but those arguments are mixed together with reports, explanations, expository passages and other nonargumentative forms of expression. However, they do provide sufficient information to get you started in writing a fairly long argumentative passage.
After reading the editorial selection and making a list of what you consider the most important points, you must think about these points, adding to them from your own deposit of experience and drawing implications from them. Here is where the task of critical reasoning begins. It ends with the evaluation of these claims and inferences. If you agree with the various claims and inferences, you can proceed to the sixth step and begin writing an argumentative passage that supports one of the designated conclusions. But if you disagree, you must make a list of counter claims and counter inferences that support one of the other designated conclusions.
“Perspective on the Work Force: Why Should Women Be Like Men?” by George Tunick is the essay you will write about to practice writing a longer argument. This essay URL address is: http://articles.latimes.com/1993-02-01/local/me-847_1_women-working-today.
After reading Tunick’s essay practice writing an argument that supports one of these conclusions:
(1) The conduct of modern business will improve if more high-level jobs are given to women.
(2) The conduct of modern business will not improve if more high-level jobs are given to women.
--------------------------------------------- Following the six-step approach outlined earlier, we begin by reading the selection twice and underlining the most important claims. Then we make a list of these claims:
Men and women operate according to different sets of rules.
Men know the rules of business without being taught.
Women have to be taught the rules of business.
Women tend to be more honest than men.
Women give more direct, frank answers to questions than men.
Women are less likely to "yes" an employer than men are.
Women are more trustworthy than men.
Women are more open about their feelings and ambitions than men.
Women are more vulnerable than men.
Women are more thorough and more detail-oriented than men.
Men are better in developing broad overviews than women.
Men are more willing to take chances and to gamble than women.
Men tend more often to shoot from the hip than women.
Men are more competitive than women.
Women are more thoughtful, cautious, and prudent than men.
Women are more concerned with finding fulfillment than men.
The fourth step is to mentally "massage" these claims. What do they amount to? What do they entail? How do they have a bearing on the conduct of business? Is there anything we can add to them? Well, if women are more honest than men, they are probably less interested in playing games, and this would suggest greater efficiency and less time wasted on posturing and pointless maneuvering. And if women tend to give more direct answers, their supervisors will be more likely to get the straight story and therefore less likely to adopt misdirected or futile courses of action. If women are more open about their feelings, they are probably less likely to grumble under their breath about such things as work conditions, and this may lead to improved conditions and greater efficiency.
However, if women are more vulnerable than men, they may lack the toughness needed for business, and they may therefore be less effective in conducting business transactions. Also, if they are less competitive than men, companies led by women may succumb in a market dominated by male-led companies. However, if women can work effectively with men, their vulnerability and diminished competitiveness may subside with time. Also, if these features result from the need to adapt to a set of rules produced by men, the rules themselves may change as women become more prominent in the world of business.
If women are more detail-oriented than men, their work will contain fewer "glitches," and as a result, projects and programs developed by women should run more smoothly. However, if men are better at developing broad overviews than women, women will be less effective than men in long range planning. Also, if men are more willing to take chances than women, and if success in business involves taking chances, then perhaps men should be given a free rein here. However, shooting from the hip often produces stray shots, so assigning part of the risk-taking role to women, who are more cautious and prudent, may save money in the end.
Finally, if women are more concerned about career fulfillment than men, they will probably seek and achieve this goal to a greater extent than men. Employees who find fulfillment in their work tend to be more stable and less interested in changing jobs than those who find no such fulfillment. Also, women in a managerial capacity should be more concerned that those under their supervision find such fulfillment. Thus, a work force in which women play a prominent role should be less troubled by job turnover and should run up fewer bills for hiring and training.
After mulling these points over in our minds we see that they suggest a business climate in which men and women play more equal roles, share equally in developing the rules of the game, and supplement one another's shortcomings. Men and women each have unique strengths, and their playing more equal roles would restore balance to a climate that has been tilted in favor of male values and male points of view. The fifth step is to evaluate these claims and inferences. Are the claims true? Do the inferences make sense? If your answer is "no," you should proceed to develop a list of counter claims and counter inferences: "Women are no more honest than men, and therefore their increased prominence in business will have no positive effect." Or perhaps, "Women are more honest than men, but honesty has no rightful place in business, so women should stay out of top level management." Or, "Women tend to shoot from the hip just as often as men do, so their taking charge of a business organization will save no money." Here is where critical reasoning comes to the fore.
However, let us assume for the sake of simplicity that we agree with our list of claims and the reasonableness of the inferences. We can then proceed to the sixth step: We select the first conclusion given at the beginning of the exercise, and we write an argumentative passage that supports it. A little organization yields the following:
The conduct of modern business will improve if more high-level jobs are given to women. The principal reason is that men and women each have their own unique strengths and abilities, and if those strengths and abilities are allowed to supplement and reinforce one another, any affected business organization will become more efficient and will run more smoothly.
For example, women appear to be more detail-oriented than men, while men appear to be better at developing broad overviews. Broad overviews are necessary for long range planning, but an attention to detail means that those plans will be more free of "glitches," so their implementation will proceed more smoothly. If men and women work together on long range planning, the result will be improved products and services delivered at a reduced cost.
Again, women appear to be more cautious and more prudent than men, while men are more inclined to take chances. Success in business requires taking chances, but men are inclined to shoot from the hip, while women are not. Shooting from the hip often produces stray shots, and stray shots mean lost profits. If women and men work together on deciding what chances to take, a greater number of shots will reach their target.
Another reason women should be given high-level jobs in management is because they will then be in a position to reshape the rules of the game. The present rules lack balance because they were set up by men, who have run big business from the time of its inception, and who ignored the values, behavioral patterns and points of view they associated with women. If women's values and perspectives are allowed to influence the way we conduct business, not only will profit margins increase, but the overall business climate will be richer and more satisfying to all its participants.
For example, women tend to be more open about their feelings than men. As women become supervisors themselves, they will expect greater openness from their subordinates. Everyone in the organization will be encouraged to come forward with their views, whether they be about unsatisfactory work conditions or any other matter that bothers them. This increased openness will lead to improved work conditions and greater efficiency overall.
Also, women tend to be more honest and direct in their answers to superiors. It is therefore to be expected that women supervisors will encourage their subordinates to be more honest and direct. Conversely, when those supervisors receive a straight story from their subordinates, they will be less likely to adopt futile or ill conceived courses of action in response.
Finally, women tend to be more concerned about career fulfillment than men. As supervisors, women will be more concerned that their subordinates find fulfillment in their jobs. The resulting work force will be more stable and less interested in moving on to greener pastures. Absenteeism will lessen, fewer employees will quit for better jobs, and less money will be spent hiring and training their replacements. All of this will lead to increased profits for the business organization and a more satisfying business climate.
This argumentative passage is about 500 words in length, and it does not even mention some of the points that were outlined prior to writing it. Most of the points mentioned could be elaborated further and reinforced by additional arguments, yielding a passage of at least 1000 words.
After reading “Perspective On Brazil: Suffer the Little Children” by S. Gregory Jones,
http://articles.latimes.com/1993-08-01/opinion/op-19580_1_street-children, write an argumentative passage drawing one of these conclusions:
(1) Latin American countries should provide free birth control devices (including/excluding abortion) to all its citizens.
(2) Latin American governments should adopt a policy of mandatory sterilization for its childbearing poor
(3) Latin American governments should raise taxes to provide for institutions that will care for street children.
(4) The affluent nations of the world should make funds available to Latin American countries that are earmarked for the care of street children.
This essay should be 3-4 pages (750-1000 words) (double spaced, exclusive of title and reference pages).