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Week 3 Assignment – Conflicting Viewpoints Essay: Part 1

The assignment is divided into two parts: the prewriting paper (Part 1) due this week, and the essay (Part 2) due in Week 5.

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Overview

When looking for information about a particular issue, how often do you try to resist biases toward your own point of view?

This assignment asks you to engage in this aspect of critical thinking by playing the “Believing Game.” The Believing Game is about making the effort to “believe,” or at least consider, the reasons for an opposing view on an issue.

Instructions

  1. In the Week 2 Discussion, you examined the biases discussed in Chapter 2 of the webtext and reviewed one of the topics from Pros & Cons of Controversial Issues. You may use the same topic from this discussion or find another:
    • Select one of the topics from Pros & Cons of Controversial Issues, state your position on the issue, and identify three premises (reasons) listed under either the Pro or Con section—whichever section opposes your position.
    • For the three premises (reasons) that oppose your position on the issue, answer these “believing” questions suggested by Elbow:
      • What’s interesting or helpful in this view?
      • What would I notice if I believed this view?
      • In what sense or under what conditions might this idea be true?
  2. Read the excerpt about critical thinking processes: The Believing Game and How to Make Conflicting Opinions More Fruitful [PDF].
  3. Engage in prewriting to examine your thoughts.

The paper should follow guidelines for clear and organized writing:

  • Include an introductory paragraph and concluding paragraph.
  • Address the main ideas in body paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting sentences.
  • Adhere to standard rules of English grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.
  • This prewriting assignment has no page requirement.
  • There is no requirement at this time to include references in the assignment.