Your resident writing advisor, Jeff McMahon, will be giving a lecture entitled “Analytic Exposition of Argument” this Friday, October 7 at 1:30. It will be held in Kent 107, which is in the same building and on the same floor as that enormous hall we borrowed for the first Dante lecture, when Social Sciences 122 was unavailable.
Just what can you expect from Jeff’s talk?….
The lecture will be about identifying methods of argumentation–not just about making your own arguments, but more relevantly (given your most recent writing assignments) about recognizing and analyzing the arguments of others. The talk aims to explain just why you are assigned this very particular and often trying task–analytic exposition–and to put the assignments themselves into perspective alongside the rest of your graduate studies. Like a lot of the skills you have (and will) accumulate in your academic careers, analytic exposition is a valuable one to hone. And you do hone it, after a lot of practice; it’s not some special talent some people have and others don’t (like being-double jointed, or having hitchhiker’s thumb).
But even though the MAPH writing assignments are by no means the ultimate barometer for measuring your ability to do graduate work, they are still important and very practical exercises. So, be prepared for Jeff’s lecture on Friday. Your skills of argumentation and your ability to analyze the claims of others will be continuously tested and honed throughout the year, so often and unceremoniously, in fact, that you may not even know or find it altogether consequential while it’s happening. But it is! Try and prove me wrong and you have already started an argument…