What is argumentation? What are its central elements, processes, forms, structures, techniques, goals? How does one create or imagine arguments? In this course, we will explore some of the central concepts in rhetoric and in argumentation theory, but the major focus will be on practicing argumentation, especially the inventing of arguments. We will use the study of rhetoric and argumentation to support that practice. You will gain a knowledge of some important concepts in rhetoric and argumentation theory, and you will gain skill in discovering the questions that drive controversies and the arguments that can be made on all the different sides of an issue. Be prepared to be called on in class, to think and speak on your feet, to work in groups, to participate in debate, and to learn by practicing and in part by trial and error.
The interdisciplinary minor in Writing, Public Speaking, and Critical Reasoning offers students a coherent program of courses that strengthen students' abilities to write well, to speak effectively in public, and to think critically. This minor is built on courses in English, Writing, and Philosophy and is taught by professors from English, Philosophy, and the Honors College.