Eco-Disciplinary Studies

Spring 2009

Writing Workshop II Y20 7503 New York University
Saturdays 2:00-4:30pm

Professor Julia Evergreen Keefer's home page:,, 212-734-1083

Print this syllabus to carry it around with you to review assignments, requirements, and basic lecture notes.

If you want the basics written very simply, clearly and boldly, go to the following Power Point presentations:

If you can handle syntax, go to Extended Lectures:
Sharpen Argumentation at: and, /argue1.html and /argue2.html, and /basic.html

This Writing Workshop will explore the timespace where ecology meets each of our disciplines: creative writing, literature, health science, anthropology, psychology, media studies, business, religion/philosophy, real estate, and political science/economics. How does our destruction and consequent mourning of Nature change the way we make decisions, the way we live, breathe, enjoy or hate our lives? We all abhor pollution and yet there seems no end to our greed, to our voracious consumerism. Are environmental activists another group of dreamy-eyed romantics oblivious of the real needs of economic development? How does our relationship to the environment affect our moods, cognitive geography, neuroses and psychoses? Can we create soothing environments to soothe our nerves? How is religious dogma twisted or untwisted to embrace a more generous view of Nature? Is Nature a new God for more and more people? Are alternative therapies (massage, herbal, exercise, mindbody, music, dance, acupuncture etc.) going back to an old view of nature (in the Chinese Five Elements) or weaving themselves around a new interpretation of wilderness without and within? Professor Keefer has developed a system of EvergreenEnergy with 13 energy centers. Are any of these bionic in some individuals? What does typical urban life do to the chakras? How can an ecoliterary approach to textual analysis help us get deeper into the time/place/purpose/style of great literature?

Choose a research topic related to your major, your interests, your objectives, that relates in some way to this ecodisciplinary theme. Go to the EvergreenEnergy journal to get ideas. Or surf around The Journal of Online Education, or Un-Clashing Civilizations.

Reading List:

MLA/APA handbook of your choice
Research Strategies book of your choice or shop online
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust, Dover edition
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
Norton anthology of nature writing latest edition
Best American Science and Nature Writing

Optional Literature Books (any edition is fine--look for bargains)
(Just pick two to help you with claims of value)
Akhenaten by Naguib Mahfouz
The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Heart of Darkness and/or Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
Garden in the Dunes by Leslie Marmon Silko--optional--Yellow Woman
and a Beauty of the Spirit

Snow by Orhan Pamuk
God Dies by the Nile by Nawal el Saadawi
Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
Read Parts II and III of How to Survive as an Adjunct Professor by Wrestling by Julia Keefer
Optional Argumentation Books (any edition is fine--look for bargains) If you want to go to law school start reading now!
Aristotle's Rhetoric
The Uses of Argument by Stephen Toulmin
The Realm of Rhetoric by Chaim Perelman
With Good Reason by S. Morris Engel
Fundamentals of Argumentation by Frans H. van Eemeren et al.
Encyclopedia of Rhetoric by Thomas Sloane

YOUR 3-PAGE BIBLIOGRAPHY of books, articles, audio-visual resources, interviews, web articles etc depends on the topic you choose, but you may add anything from the optional or required reading lists.


To complete a 15-20 page college research paper with a 3 page bibliography
To explore a personal methodology for creativity and research from brainstorming
To gather, organize and evaluate primary and secondary sources online, in the library, the community and through empirical research such as interviews and investigation
To engage in close and survey reading and to paraphrase, summarize, and integrate sources into personal research
To develop and refine a thesis
To structure the categories of an outline
To develop and refine critical and argumentative faculties
To establish credibility through research, audience analysis, (beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors), critical thinking, decision making and persuasive tactics
To learn the constructs of classical (Aristotle) and contemporary (Toulmin, Roger, Monroe, Boolean, Cyber) argumentation
To constructively question and defend a claim or syllogism, identifying logical fallacies
To practice debates in workshop (cooperative and adverarial) and improve oral communication skills
To understand advocacy through role playing and argumentative writing in the voice of alter ego
To analyze media, politics, law, current events, religion, philosophy, literature, science, history in terms of controversy, conflict and conversion
To improve writing skills through improvisational, poetic, and personal writing through formal and task-based exercises
To create a distinctive, original expository style, using MLA or APA parenthetical documentation
To increase knowledge and understanding of content theme
To introduce you to great literature
To publish excellent papers in the Online Journals


Weekly writing assignments 2-3 pages each (pass/fail)

Weekly attendance and participation: Points are deducted for absence or lateness. Do not miss more than one class if you want to get an A. If you miss more than three classes, you are in danger of failing. If you must be absent, do not email me personally. Submit assignments ahead of time, continue research and reading, contact study buddies. Individual attention is to help you with your writing and research, not to repeat what happened when you weren't there.

Midterm paper--7-10 pages, 1 full page of bibliography

Weekly writing is pass/fail--you are free to make mistakes, brainstorm, and take chances, but if you submit nothing, you fail. Other assignments have letter grades. Weekly writing can be in different genre and styles, but must relate to your research topic, and include the readings you are choosing for your 3 page bibliography.

A: Excellent
A-:Excellent effort, attendance, participation, original thinker, independent planner, excellent research skills, fully able to develop and refine thesis, work inductively and deductively, to identify and support claims, anticipate objections to arguments, to read closely and critically, using evidence to develop thesis, to use abstract and concrete language effectively with mastery of English language, with a strong, coherent voice and range of discourse.
B+, B, B-: Good control of the above criteria
C+, C, C-: Inconsistent control of the above criteria
D: Only fulfills minimum requirements
F: Unsatisfactory

Oral presentation has a letter grade. Length of presentation depends on student enrollment. Efforts will be made to include a team presentation of 2-4 people, depending on how the topics and class size break down.

Midterm and Final Papers have letter grades but are evaluated in the following way numerically by professor as well as by peers:

25% style--grammar, style, correct APA/MLA format, strong voice, use of abstract and concrete language, distinctive style

25% originality, independence, new insights into old problems, or new discoveries

25% depth and diversity of research sources and creative, critical use of such research

25% clarity, organization and argumentation (claims and counterclaims of fact, value, and policy)

The assignments are simple for this class: submit 2-3 pages of writing every week, based on class lecture and discussion, contributing to your final paper.  Write down a quote from one of the literary books each week. Otherwise, you choose your 3-page bibliography, which will be evaluated at the midterm, and developed throughout the semester. 

ONLINE PARTICIPATION: Whether it is through Epsilen, or a weekly listserv, or another online platform, students are required to submit at least one entry during the week, before 5pm Friday, describing their personal reading and research activities for the week, articulating problems, questions, and needs related to their final project. In addition, they must comment on at least one colleague's posting, analyzing material, helping with research, or commenting on their work in some constructive manner. We will break into small groups so that you have study buddies for the entire semester. We will also take a vote on which venues you prefer, such as forums, wikis, blogs, chat, the outside listserv, or even outside meetings at the museum, a school, a hospital, or a nature preserve.


Weekly Breakdown: This breakdown describes rhetorical topics and assignments. Depending on your research area, and the relevant literature books, you will each develop your own reading assignment breakdown, so that your weekly papers reflect the personal reading you are doing for your research paper. Summaries of lectures are on this syllabus, after the breakdown, so make sure you scroll through the entire site.

January 24: Introduce yourselves, your backgrounds, needs, expectations, and goals. Free writing on ecodisciplinary studies. Read and continue free writing for next week. Begin collecting research. Develop your own syllabus with research, theme, and technique bibliographies. Difference between descriptive, dramatic, narrative, expository, and argumentative writing. Diagnostic. In-class writing. Copy a few sentences from Proust, Woolf, or any of the ecoliterature books for each of your weekly writing assignments. Begin reading Gardens in the Dune at your leisure. For next week, brainstorm your research topic by writing about it in different styles.
January 31: Using Examples. Lecture on thesis development, deductive and inductive reasoning and cognitive domains. Brainstorm possible case studies or field research. Identify hypotheses leading to your claims of fact. Discuss problems related to the environment in every discipline. Bring in problems related to your topic in the weekly paper for next week. .
February 7: Lecture on Aristotle, Toulmin, claims and counterclaims,  and fallacies. In-class writing to develop your claims.
Division/Analysis. Lecture on critical thinking and use of different kinds of primary and secondary sources. Definitions. In-class writing to sharpen definitions and improve thesis development. Lecture on classification and how to expand your research. For next week, work on a hypothesis that weaves itself around the discussion of your problem and potential solutions.
February 14: Comparison/Contrast. Lecture on comparison/contrast. Develop hypotheses related to your claims of value. Bring in two opinionated, very different articles about your research topic to discuss. Word games and improvisational writing with a focus on redefining abstract terms and their opposites. Prepare midterm for next week. In-class writing on thesis refinement. Prepare midterm. Develop hypotheses related to your claims of policy.
February 21 Cause and effect. Lecture on developing your thesis to control wider, deeper research. Lecture on outlining.
February 28: Lecture and discussion on research strategies.
March 7: Midterm due. 7-10 pages on research topic, albeit imperfect. Cross-editing, discussion, and constructive criticism.  Analyze for clarity/argumentation/organization, writing style and documentation, depth and diversity of research sources, and originality. Bring in a rough outline for next week. Self-reflective criticism.
Review outlines.
March 14: Interviews and field research. Objective and Subjective.
March 28: Interviews and field research.Re-evaluate your claims of fact and problem/solution paradigm. Write the introduction to your final paper. Audience analysis.
April 4: Ecoliterary analysis for claims of value. Apply close textual analysis of your favorite literary sources to buttress the abstract definitions of your claims of value. Under social relativity as different cultures value different things at different times. Write your weekly paper on this and give an oral report.
April 11: Finish ecoliterary papers. Lecture on Argumentation. Bring in a critical analysis of the most articulate advocate of your counterclaim.
April 18: Debate claims of policy.Bring three copies, one for you, for me, and for your opponent. Class will play hostile audience.
April 23: Debate claims of policy.
May 2: Rough Drafts due. Cross-edit. Work meticulously on word choice, sentence structure, paragraph progression, definitions, bibliography.
May 9: Final papers due. Web design. Publication in online journals.

PLAGIARISM is a criminal offense, so practice good habits by avoiding it from the beginning. You can be sued for borrowing more than three words in a row from an author without citation; you can also be sued for stealing ideas, concepts, patents, formulas etc. As you collect your bibliography, note all your sources in correct order with index cards so you will have the bibliography ready to go. The point of this course is to help you develop YOUR writing style so put everything in your own words, and go back to your own hypotheses after analyzing all data. To help avoid plagiarism, we must see DRAFTS of the final paper throughout the semester with concomitant oral reports, and final papers will be published in the online journal of health, humanities, fitness, and the environment so that you can take responsiblity for your work. Trust your own ideas: you have paid a lot of money and invested a lot of time to develop them in a university setting. Originality is always 25% of the grade of the two graded papers.

Lecture Notes

What are your cognitive strengths and weaknesses?

Strength Endurance Coordination Focus Flexibility Speed Posture
The ability to identify, analyze, examine and lift a thought and defend its meaning against the resistance of argumentation. This skill is best developed through Aristotelian rhetoric. Mental endurance is required to sustain intellectual activity against boredom, lethargy, frustration, hyperactivity, overstimulation. Coordination is the organization of parts into an efficient, working whole, which involves changes in speed, dynamics, resistance, spatial patterning and points of view.

Focus is the ability to concentrate on one idea to the exclusion of others. A dancer focuses on a spot on the wall when executing pirouettes, a useful cognitive application when surfing.

Flexibility is the ability to see all sides of an issue, exceeding the limits of dogma, fear, and prejudice. Because of the vast amount of information we must get through, it is important to develop speed. Aerobic training can help increase our ability to read, write and think quickly.

Posture refers to the body's alignment in relation to gravity, space and motion. Mental posture establishes voice or presence.

Claims of Fact, Value, and Policy

Claims of Fact

Since your goal is to write an academic research paper with elements of controversy, conflict, and conversion, the claim of fact is a misnomer, because it is, in fact a problem. By the time you finish, you should have a position stance on this problem that could be debated with a counterclaim, but don't think of facts, like the sun is shining, Obama is the first Afro-american president of the United States, or the World Trade Center was destroyed on September 11, 2001, because these are indisputable facts. Instead, look at the data surrounding a condition or problem that you could eventually solve.

Claims of Value

Value claims assert a writer's sense of values, a writer's sense of right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust, the beautiful and the ugly. Value claims make judgments, and like all claims readers need to evaluate the evidence and assumptions supporting such claims. Value claims try to prove that some idea, action, or condition is good or bad, right or wrong, worthwhile or worthless.

Democracy offers the greatest chance for people to realize their full potential.
Others express our beliefs about beauty.

This bestselling novel is an aesthetic failure.
Value claims, as you can see, reveal much about a writer's personal beliefs. And so it is that many value claims are defended or attacked because different people have different sets of values: witness the abortion debate.

Value claims also rest upon some sense of a standard of justice, beauty, or goodness. They are also defended or attacked on the basis of differing standards between people. Some people, for example, feel that great literature must have a nobility of purpose, enduring significance, and creative use of language. Those are their standards by which they make value judgments about an author's work. By those standards, therefore, those people argue that writers like Danielle Steele or Stephen King will never be considered great writers. For others, the standard is different: if we consider how popular and how widely imitated a writer is, then Steele and King are important writers indeed.

Since we cannot be certain of the values of our readers, it is necessary for us as writers to be sensitive to, and anticipate the reactions of, different people with different sets of values. In that way, we are better able to see the issue from our readers' points of view and offer our readers evidence to support a different set of values or to adopt a new set of values — to see the world from another perspective, so to speak.

Much of the critical writing in literature, ethics, and even history, revolves around claims of value. Throughout the semester, copy down quotes from the literary books that might pertain to claims of value in your project. Feel free to write poetry, and look at it for unconscious values related to your topic.

Supporting a Value Claim
At first blush, it may seem impossible to convince another that your values are superior to the others. Certainly, too, it is natural to feel that your values are the "best" ones or the "right" ones. Nonetheless, we all know of times in our lives when we were effective at getting someone to do something (or not to do something) simply by persuasion alone. At those times we did succeed at changing another's values. At other times, it may have been us who had our attitudes changed about a subject.

Although it may seem impossible, it does happen, both on the small scale and on the large scale. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is testimony to the fact that large scale shifts in attitude does take place. As writers, if we are to have any chance of succeeding, we must give good reasons why we think one thing is better than another.

To achieve such a transformation, classical rhetoricians give the following advice:

Try to demonstrate that the values or principles you advocate should have priority on a scale that includes the reader's values. It is usually easier to have the reader reorganize priorities rather than adopt a completely new value system.
Demonstrate that the values you advocate have a desirable, beneficial outcome — an outcome that can not be achieved without your set of values.
Use specific examples that illustrate the values you advocate. Values are abstract notions and it is often easier to win another's assent if you couch those abstract ideals in concrete terms. For example, if I were to ask the average taxpayer if s/he would like to pay more taxes, s/he probably would say "No" without hesitation. But if I start by asking if s/he would like a strong nation defense, good schools for children, adequate health care for grandparents, and safe food and water, I probably would get general agreement that these are worthwhile goals. Now, if I add that these services can only maintained with a modest increase in taxes, say one half of one percent, and then ask if s/he would agree, I am much more likely to get that taxpayer to agree to pay more taxes!
Finally, use ethical appeal in the form of testimony or quotes from highly knowledgeable or highly regarded people who share your values.
The goal of the EvergreenEnergy journal is to be aware of the ecological setting of any analysis or argumentation, realizing that geography, culture, and history color the claims of value in any discussion. Imagine an alien landing in your territory. What would it think of your problem, your values, and your solution, and the society in which the problem occurs? One society's problem is often another's solution.

Claims of Policy

 Policy claims argue that a certain condition should exist. They express a writer's sense of obligation or necessity. Consequently, we can recognize policy claims fairly easily since a specific class of verbs, the modal verbs, convey the meanings of obligation or necessity. The modal verbs that convey a sense of obligation and necessity are should, must, need, ought to, got to, and have to. Some examples of policy claims are

We should legalize drugs. (See the example essay on the right.)
We ought to register and license guns the same way we do automobiles.
Drivers under the age of 25 with even the slightest amount of alcohol in their blood should have their licenses revoked for 5 years.
We need to tax alcohol and tobacco more heavily since the use of those products accounts for a disproportionately large fraction of medicare costs.
Supporting a policy claim can be very difficult. The writer must first convince the reader that current policy on some issue is not working, second convince the readers that the writer has a better policy, and finally move the readers to act on the writer's suggestion.

Supporting the Policy Claim
A writer's chances to persuade a reader that current policy has failed and that s/he has a better alternative improve dramatically if s/he
defines all terms and proposal clearly and precisely (the reader is more likely to agree if the reader know exactly what s/he is agreeing with), (claim of value)
establishes the need for a chance factually, (claims of fact) considers the opposing arguments and explains why his/her alternative is the best approach, (counterclaims) demonstrates to the reader that there are distinct advantages to accepting the writer's alternative, and supports the policy change not only with data (rational appeal) but also with evidence that appeals to the readers' need to feel that the change is the right thing to do (emotional appeal) and with evidence that makes the readers trust the writer (ethical appeal).In business debates on policy claims determine the success of the contract and product, which is one reason business thinking often jumps from fact to policy, without spending enough time analyzing claims of value. While a rigorous, detailed, methodical policy claim can insure success for a business, it must be buttressed by a thorough investigation of all the cultural, ethical, long-term implications of its adoption.
In this class, feel free to let your imagination go with utopian claims of policy, that may ignore the bottom line; however, make sure your claim is thoughtful, methodical, and comprehensive enough to solve your problem. Since this is a multidisplinary course, note that a claim of policy can be a theory you develop in philosophy, an interpretation you posit in literature, or a medical treatment, business plan, or education policy you advocate in more concrete disciplines. Re-examine your causality between fact and policy.

Thesis as Steering Wheel for your Research
To avoid datasmog, you must have a steering wheel to drive your car through the data. This is the purpose of the thesis. When students are askedwhat their thesis is, they usually cite a descriptive clause as an answer: "My thesis is how we are addicted to the internet" or "My thesis is abouthow Rastas are different" or "My thesis is about Dorian Gray" or "My thesis is about how prisoners are denied a true home." These are topics, not theses. A thesis should be a complete sentence that contains a question, a statement and a dilemma that is big enough to grow throughout your paper and specific enough to limit your study to avoid excessive generalization. Some of you do have a thesis but it does not develop throughout the paper. A good thesis must weave itself around your evidence, making everything relevant. To do this, you must keep refining your thesis.

Think of a thesis as a long complete sentence: the noun, object and verb describe an action that contains the question and statement designed to solve the problem; the "or" encompasses the dilemma-- the juxtaposition of thesis and antithesis; and the subordinate clauses qualify the study to mitigate the logical fallacies incurred from too much generalization. For example: Should NYU Writing Workshop II Adjunct Professors in 2008 set
high standards, seek to develop intellectual potential and demand rigorous, original work thereby risking bad evaluations, poor attendance, negative transferences to the professor, frustration, complaints to administration, and acting out or should they dumb down and pander to their adult degree students, reduce the complexity and ambiguity of the work and sell their courses like ice cream in order to be as popular as all the other products
of a mass culture? Make sure your thesis is not a question that can be irrevocably answered "yes."
In 2008, very few questions can be answered that way. Even the statement "all men are mortal" can be contested with cloning. Do not pick a thesis and topic that is entirely materialistic. That is the danger and challenge of the home sweet home sweet. Home must be a metaphor, a symbol for more abstract intellectual issues. You are doing academic writing, not business writing or journalism, even though you may be doing timely
interviews and field trips. Your thesis should contain words that are ideas that need defining, that must be interpreted.

Part of your introduction involves defining. In the example, "intellectual potential," "negative transferences," "rigorous, original work" and other phrases must be defined according to what the researcher means. The English language has a huge somewhat vague vocabulary and has been spoken by so many people for so
many years in so many places that defining is essential. You must also look at the implications of the sentence as an action of a subject performed on an object by a verb. Professors are doing something to students and students are doing something to professors.

This complete sentence implies a teaching problem . Students come to a course that demands painful intellectual growth. Adult degree students may not have the time, the background, the aptitude nor the inclination to work as hard as they should. That is the problem. The researcher offers two hypothetical solutions, preferably a thesis and an antithesis in order to clarify the argument, although there are usually more than two solutions.
At the end of the research a compromise, an entirely different solution, or a question could be the new answer. However, working with a hypothesis allows you to explore your problem with a sharp focus, build your arguments and organize your evidence. The adjectives and subordinate clauses of the sentence qualify the study. You must use adjectives to be specific: for example, we are talking about NYU WWII adjunct professors in 2009, not any writing professor anywhere at any time. Most of you forget dates, places and demographics. This does not mean you could not have a historical or conceptual discussion in your paper that encompasses different times and places in order to emphasize the importance of the problem; it just means that your specific research is confined to a specific place, time and group of people.

It would therefore be possible to have a discussion about the theory and history of education, citing Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, Dewey, contemporary cognitive scientists in order to give your problem depth and perspective. However, when you open up like that you must choose only the aspects of history and theory that relate to your thesis, that is what develops the most successful writing class. The purpose of limiting a study is not just to avoid fallacies but also to develop originality. In this age of recombinant and plagiarized internet culture, originality is increasingly important. We are not interested in how well you paraphrase and regurgitate the work of others-- we want to read about your original contribution to the field through experimental research in the social sciences, which could be qualitative or quantitative, empirical or more theorietical, or fresh interpretations of written material through close textual analysis. Therefore limit your study so that you can control the data, all the while being open to new knowledge and possibilities. In the example given, the researcher will obviously observe writing classes, interview students and professors, and record changes over a period of time, let's say 1995 to 2009.

You may also want to compare and contrast two or more studies, people, places, works of literature etc. in order to clarify and distinguish characteristics. In scientific drug studies researchers give one group the drug, another group the placebo and then they compare results. Many literary critics compare and contrast different works of literature. You may compare and contrast two or more nursing homes, prisons, hospitals.
In fact it is best if you do so. Likewise in the example, it would be more effective to compare writing classes in 2009 with writing classes in 1980 or writing classes in another country, or follow the same professor until 2014, which is what we will do in the example, all the while being solicitous of time, place and demographic limitations. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the comparison/contrast is the thesis however. For example, many literature majors say "My thesis is about how Keats differs from Shelley." This may be a good start but it is purely descriptive; it leads to a grocery list of categories, not the development of an argument with thesis and antithesis. If you don't control the comparison and contrast with a thesis, you will lose your focus as you collect more and more information. Remember that a thesis is a ribbon that must be wrapped around all your presents.

Once you get your thesis, you can then tailor it to wrap around claims of fact, value, and policy.

To understand the origin of claims: 25% of your grade is argumentation!

First of all, we must be able to distinguish arguments/propositions/claims from other sentences such as questions (Are suicide bombers ever afraid to die?), proposals (Let's kill them.), suggestions (We recommend that you workout every day.), commands (Don't shop at Shoprite.), and exclamations (The Middle East is a bloodbath!) An argument is a group of statements, one or more of which (the premises) are claimed to provide support for, or reasons to believe, one of the others (the conclusion.) So warnings, statements of belief or opinion, loosely associated statements, reports, expository passages, illustrations, conditional statements and explanations are not arguments by themselves although they may lead to arguments. For example, a conditional statement can form the major premise of a conditional or hypothetical syllogism, but it is not an argument on its own. "If cigarette companies publish warning labels, then smokers assume the risk of smoking. Cigarette companies do publish warning labels. Therefore, smokers assume the risk of smoking."

To find out if we really have an argument we should 1) rule out typical kinds of non-arguments, 2) examine indicators such as therefore, it follows that, because, since etc. and 3) most importantly, the presence of an inferential relationship between the statements. The purpose of logic is to allow us to develop methods and techniques to distinguish good arguments from bad. Here is an example: All crimes are violations of the law. Rape is a crime. Therefore rape is a violation of the law. Symbolically, it is stated as A equals B. C equals A. Therefore C equals B. But the following is bad: Some crimes are misdemeanors. Rape is a crime. Therefore rape is a misdemeanor. This is a valid form: All A are B. All B are C. Therefore, all A are C. This is invalid: All A are B. All C are B. Therefore all A are C. For example: All cats are animals. All dogs are animals. Therefore, all cats are dogs. Remember this again when we go into testing soundness of deductive arguments.

You must be able to distinguish premises or claimed evidence (Toulmin's data or grounds) from conclusion or what is claimed to follow from the evidence. An inference is the reasoning expressed in an argument. Some arguments have more than one conclusion or more than two premises and can be described syllogistically, horizontally, vertically, in clusters, symbolically as alphabetical letters or Venn diagrams. Once we have clearly recognized the argument, it is then important to categorize it into induction or deduction. While some people often generalize and say deduction moves from general to specific, and induction from specific to general, this is not always true.

A deductive argument is one in which the premises are claimed to support the conclusion in such a way that if they are assumed true, it is impossible for the conclusion to be false, so that the conclusion follows by necessity. An inductive argument is an argument in which the premises are claimed to support the conclusion in such a way that if they are assumed true, it is improbable that the conclusion is false. Five examples of arguments that are typically deductive are arguments based on math, arguments from definition, and categorical, hypothetical or conditional, and disjunctive syllogisms. Pure math is deductive but statistics are inductive. Toulmin's method is largely inductive because his system is a rebellion against the rigors of formal logic and his 6 part chain includes a qualifier.
A categorical syllogism is a syllogism in which each statement begins with one of the words "all, no, or some. "All cats are animals. Some cats are black and white. Therefore some animals are black and white." Or use the famous Socrates syllogism "All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal." Socrates falls into the "some" category. A categorical syllogism relates two classes or categories, denoted respectively by the subject term and predicate term, and the proposition asserts that either all or part of the class denoted by the subject term is included in or excluded from the class denoted by the predicate term. We have four forms: All S are P. No S are P. Some S are P. Some S are not P. A hypothetical or conditional syllogism is a syllogism having a conditional statement for one or both premises. A disjunctive syllogism is a syllogism having a disjunctive statement for one of its premises: "Either you are with the terrorists or you are with the US and its allies. You are not with the US and its allies. Therefore you must be with the terrorists." Then try to construct a conditional syllogism to determine how such rogue states might be punished. In everyday conversation it is hard to always detect the purity of syllogistic argument. An enthymeme is an argument missing a premise or conclusion, but usually the missing element is implied. "The corporate income tax should be abolished; it encourages waste and high prices." The missing element is whatever encourages waste and high prices.

In general, inductive arguments are such that the content of the conclusion is in some way intended to "go beyond" the content of the premises. Inductive arguments include predictions about the future, arguments from analogy, inductive generalizations, (because some beans from the bag are chocolate, it is likely they are all chocolate,) arguments from authority (he could be stupid or misinformed in spite of his rep!), argument based on signs (or coexistential), and causal inference which isn't exactly the same as a conditional statement or hypothetical or conditional syllogism. In science, the discovery of a law of nature is generally considered to be inductive, while its application is deductive, proceeding from a true, valid premise.

Once we categorize arguments, we must then analyze them. We need to look at two things: the claim that evidence exists, and what kind of evidence that is, and the claim that the alleged evidence actually supports that claim. Deductive arguments are analyzed as valid or invalid, sound, or unsound. To test the validity of an argument, we must examine whether the premises support the conclusion in such away that if they are assumed true, it is impossible for the conclusion to be false. Here is an example of an invalid argument having true premises and a true conclusion: "All banks are financial organizations. Wells Fargo is a financial organization. Therefore, Wells Fargo is a bank." Any deductive argument having true premises and a false conclusion is obviously invalid. But you can have a valid argument that is unsound such as: "All wines are soft drinks. Ginger ale is a wine. Therefore ginger ale is a soft drink."

A sound argument is a deductive argument that is valid and has all true premises.

Inductive arguments are evaluated as weak/strong or cogent/uncogent. Thus, a strong inductive argument is: "This barrel contains one hundred apples. 80 apples selected at random were found to be ripe. Therefore, probably all one hundred apples are ripe." A weaker version is as follows: "This barrel contains one hundred apples. Three apples selected at random were found to be ripe. Therefore, probably all one hundred apples are ripe." Hence, strength and weakness, unlike validity and soundness, relate to degrees. A cogent argument is an inductive argument that is strong and has all true premises, the inductive analogue of a sound deductive argument. Classically it is without qualification, but Toulmin added a qualifier to his reasoning chain. However for classical cogency, the premises must not only be true but also not overlook some important factor that outweighs the given evidence and requires a different conclusion.

When you are debating in a rush, keep asking these two questions: Do the premises (data, grounds) support the conclusion (claim)? Are all the premises true? As you write research papers or debate you will develop extended arguments such as: "American Doctors who attend elderly people in nursing homes in NY State in 2002 often prescribe tranquilizers to keep these people immobile. This practice is often unwarranted, and it often impairs the health of the patients. These tranquilizers often have damaging side effects in that they accentuate the symptoms of senility, and they increase the likelihood of a dangerous fall because they produce unsteadiness in walking. Furthermore, since these medications produce immobility, they increase the risk of bedsores. Doctors at the Center for Aging and Health say that physicians who care for the elderly are simply prescribing too much medication."
Often we get snowed under in our evidence and we drown instead of resurfacing to test the premises or data and use it to back up our claim or proposition.

To review: The Toulmin model--data, warrant, backing, qualifier, reservation and claim--is more flexible and field dependent than formal logic but there are some similarities. The data function like evidence and premises on which the argument is based. The claim is the conclusion. The warrant states the reasoning used to move from the data to the claim, and it functions like an inference. The backing consists of facts or information used to support the inference made in the warrant. The qualifier modifies the claim and indicates the rational strength the arguer attributes to it. The reservation states circumstances or conditions in which the claim would not be true. The Toulmin model often presents difficulties such as misidentifying unstated warrants, confusing the data and the warrant, confusing data and backing, and applying incorrect standards to diagrams of complex and subtle arguments.

To further your study of argumentation, comparing Aristotle to Toulmin.

In an age when we are submerged with information twenty four hours a day, the study of logic is essential-- not only traditional informal logic, but also simplified formal logic, so that we can evaluate the information we receive and create.The specific nature of web design with complementary graphics, bullets, different colors and fonts emphasizes lists and facts as opposed to linear connected thinking through traditional linguistic syntax has its own persuasive power, but like informal fallacies, it can also mislead and deceive. The hypertext links open up a multidisciplinary world which needs to be defined, limited and organized for purposes of research and understanding. Inter-, cross- and trans-disciplinary approaches can be clarified through Boolean logic and Venn diagrams.

Traditional logic first began with Aristotle (born 384 B.C.) who taught and wrote his treatises to explain his system of thinking and to refute the sophistry of emotional rhetoricians like Isocrates. A student of Plato and the son of a physician, Aristotle had a lifelong interest in empirically-based knowledge. He was a great categorizer and divided knowledge into 4 categories:1) theoretical, physics, math and theology, 2) practical, politics and ethics, 3) productive, arts, crafts and medicine, and 4) organa, or tools of methodology, logic and dialectic. He used his methodology to write the Poetics, the Physic, the Logic, the Metaphysic so that the content was multidisciplinary but his method of inquiry was similar. He divided rhetoric into three species: deliberative (future), judicial (past), and epideictic (not time bound but incite the audience to praise or blame.) Rhetoric was an indispensable part of public life in Athens and remained a potentiality, a way of constantly evaluating knowledge through dialectic, not dogmatic means. Rhetoric deals with probabilities and uses evidence and logic to convince.

Traditional Rhetoric began in a confined place and time-- Classical Athens with a specific audience of free men. Cyber rhetoric exists in perpetual time and malleable space with an unpredictable global audience. The only sure thing is that everyone is trying to sell something-- either a product or themselves or their way of doing things. However rhetoric is still judged in terms of Aristotle's qualities of correctness, clarity, ornamentation and propriety in order to prove, to delight, and to move. (Click here for synopsis and excerpts of Aristotle's work.)

The Syllogism (Deductive): All men are mortal. (the general principle)
Socrates is a man. (the case)
Therefore, Socrates is mortal. (the conclusion)
Premises must follow by NECESSITY, while in Inductive Syllogisms, they follow by PROBABILITY:
These candies come from that bag.
All the candies in that bag are chocolate.
Therefore, these candies are chocolate.

There are often fallacies in inductive syllogisms because that second clause cannot always be proven. One jumps from a case study to a general principle too quickly, as in many clinical medical trials with pharmaceutical sponsorship. As the world becomes more complex and invisible, deductive syllogisms are harder to prove.

Today we use rhetoric to sell our products and ourselves; Aristotle tried to use rhetoric to express logic which sincerely searched for the truth. Since truth in the twentieth century has been relative, to say the least, most leaders are really persuading people to worship the god of consumerism. Logical fallacies are exploited ruthlessly, as in courts of law. (Cases of O.J.Simpson, the Menendez brothers etc.)

Over the years rhetoric has become more complex. Authorities such as the Church, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung et al have had supreme persuasive abilities because of their institutional and/or personal power. "Do what I say because I say it." Rhetoric is also more directly connected to the manipulation of language.

In 1958 the British philosopher Stephen Toulmin realized that this form of argumentation is not what one encounters when listening to a public speech, arguing with a roommate about what music to listen to, or talking politics at a bar. Consequently, Toulmin developed his theory in order to explain how argumentation occurs in the natural process of everyday argument. Consequently, Toulmin wanted to explain how real people (not philosophers) argue. Although Toulmin's position on formal logic -- that formal rules of logic do not fit well with common practices of argument -- may seem obvious, one must remember the time period in which Toulmin developed his theory. Students of public speaking, rhetoric, and logic were only taught formal logic. Using a contemporary example to illustrate: Students were taught how to program a computer before they were taught how to click a mouse. When one recognizes the traditions of the time period, Toulmin's theory of argument seems even more revolutionary.

Toulmin developed his system of argumentation, in part to respond to twentieth century relativity, field specialization, and the need to attach data to every claim, especially in the areas of law and medicine. To understand the Toulmin model, think of the quck chain of reasoning you would need to make in an Emergency Room or a criminal trial, where you would move empirically from data to warrant to backing to qualifier to reservation to grounds to claim. An appropriate claim requires (a) initial grounds for the argument (b) a warrant that allows the speaker to move from grounds to claim (c) a qualifier that states the "strength" of the claim (d) reservations or rebuttals that state the exceptions to the claim. You can also reverse the order as follows:

The first element is the claim. The claim of the argument is the conclusion that someone is trying to justify in the argument.
The second element is the grounds . The grounds of an argument are the facts on which the argument is based.
The third element of the argument is the warrant. The warrant of the argument assesses whether or not the claim is legitimate based on the grounds.
The fourth element is the backing. The backing of the argument gives additional support for a warrant by answering different questions.
The modal qualifier is the fifth element of the argument. The modal qualifier indicates the strength of the leap from the data to the warrant.
The sixth and final element of the argument is the rebuttal. The rebuttal occurs when the leap from grounds to claim does not appear to be legitimate.

By creating this model for argument, Toulmin contradicted what philosophers have believed for centuries. For centuries, philosophers have believed that arguments can either be explained by relative means or by absolute means. Using either of these methods according to Toulmin is irrational to the modern argument. First of all, Toulmin claims that by using a relative method, no standards for the claims are made because the analyis of the argument is only relative to that particular argument. On the other hand, absolutism or foundationalism is irrelevant in the modern era according to Toulmin also. He claims absolutism is irrelevant for several reasons. First of if all is the fact that this absolute logic is based in mathematics and geometry. Therefore the concepts which are contained in them are field dependent. Because of this fact, Toulmin argues that there is no room for these viewpoints in other areas of logic.

Another problem that Toulmin has with absolutism has to do with the fact that answers are either correct or incorrect. Toulmin believes that there is a definite gray area in some arguments that doesn't allow for this absolutism. This gray area has also been developed quantitatively in fuzzy logic. The overall problem that Toulmin has with absolutism is that its rules are so strict that it just doesn't apply to modern reasoning.

Another important belief of Toulmin is his evolutionary theory of rationality. Toulmin believes that ideas are constantly being created. He believes that these ideas are also constantly being argued over and the person who wins the argument persuades others of his beliefs. In this way, new ideas are constantly being evolved. This concept is the most directly applicable theory to rhetoric that Toulmin has. After understanding this theory, it is no wonder why rhetoricians cherish the work of Stephen Toulmin. It is Toulmin's interpretive nature of his concepts coupled with his strong emphasis on persuasion that lend itself so well to rhetoric.. While this chain is still useful in many respects, the vast, unpredictable data of cyberspace, and its nonlinear spatial configuration and diverse global audience make the Toulmin method somewhat limited in the twenty first century. For more extensive study of Toulmin, click here.

Ideally you want to be familiar with Aristotle's more formal reasoning, Toulmin's chain of reasoning from data to claim, and contemporary theories and applications of cyberargumentation.

In cyberspace we can't rely on the pitch and resonance of our voices, the warmth of our facial expression, the impressives stature of our bodies and the expense of our wardrobe to convince people to believe us. We have to convince with the speed, frequency and prevalence of our messages and the hypnotic, timely and informative nature of our web sites.

25% of your grade is based on the depth and diversity of research sources.

Kinds of Research
Audiovisual sources such as film, television, radio, or audio recordings
Field Research
Maps, Atlases
Internet Sites

1) How relevant is this resource to your topic?
When and where was it published? Is it timely, out-of-date, or just useful for comparison and contrast?

3)What are the author’s qualifications, such as educational background, experience, biography, age, places lived?

4) Who is the publisher? What do they normally publish?

5) Who is the intended audience, general public, professionals, scholars, global, American, any specific age groups, ethnicities or political persuasions?

6) How much of the information is fact, opinion, propaganda?

7) Is the author’s intent to inform, express him or herself, to get attention, persuade, stimulate (to pity, lust, tears), or to refute or criticize previous knowledge?

If you are still considering this source, dig deeper:

  1. What are the author’s claims of fact, value, and policy?
  2. Does the author present one biased point of view, or multiple points of view?
  3. How much solid evidence is used to back the author’s claims? What kind of quantitative or qualitative research have they done?
  4. Is the work scholarly, with sources cited, technical vocabulary, standard formats, or is it professional or business with specialized language and specific points of view, or is it common interest for the general public, or sensational like tabloids? All these genre have their places, but your job is to evaluate the source for some kind of truth related to your topic.
  5.  How can the resource present counterclaims to strengthen your claims? In this case, you are encouraged to read and analyze writers who disagree with you.
  6. After examining each source, refine your claims in response to what you have learned from your sources.
  7. Quote your sources accurately with parenthetical documentation.
  8. Make sure all sources are alphabetized in correct MLA/APA format in your bibliography.
  9. Professor Keefer’s three international online journals publish scholarly, technical, creative, professional, general interest, and sensational material in all disciplines for a global audience, in an effort to make scholarship more accessible, and to analyze and understand the vast amount of sensational material that controls our various cultures.
  10. Review your bibliography to make sure you have multiple points of view, sources from all genre, so that you can be evaluated for both depth and diversity of research.

Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources
by Esther Grassian, UCLA College Library
The World Wide Web has a lot to offer, but not all sources are equally valuable or reliable. Here are some points to consider. For additional points regarding Web sites for subject disciplines, see Thinking Critically about Discipline-Based World Wide Web Resources.
Content & Evaluation
Who is the audience?
What is the purpose of the Web Page & what does it contain?
How complete and accurate are the information and the links provided?
What is the relative value of the Web site in comparison to the range of information resources available on this topic? (Note:
Be sure to check with a librarian.)
What other resources (print & non-print) are available in this area?
What are the date(s) of coverage of the site and site-specific documents?
How comprehensive is this site?
What are the link selection criteria if any?
Are the links relevant and appropriate for the site?
Is the site inward-focused, pointing outward, or both?
Is there an appropriate balance between inward-pointing links ("inlinks" i.e., within the same site)&
outward-pointing links ("outlinks" i.e., to other sites)?
Are the links comprehensive or do they just provide a sampler?
What do the links offer that is not easily available in other sources?
Are the links evaluated in any way?
Is there an appropriate range of Internet resources -- e.g., links to gophers?
Is multimedia appropriately incorporated?
How valuable is the information provided in the Web Page (intrinsic value)?
Source & Date
Who is the author or producer?
What is the authority or expertise of the individual or group that created this site?
How knowledgeable is the individual or group on the subject matter of the site?
Is the site sponsored or co-sponsored by an individual or group that has created other Web sites?
Is any sort of bias evident?
When was the Web item produced?
When was the Web item mounted?
When was the Web item last revised?
How up to date are the links?
How reliable are the links; are there blind links, or references to sites which have moved?
Is contact information for the author or producer included in the document?
Does the document follow good graphic design principles?
Do the graphics and art serve a function or are they decorative?
Do the icons clearly represent what is intended?
Does the text follow basic rules of grammar, spelling and literary composition?
Is there an element of creativity, and does it add to or detract from the document itself?
Can the text stand alone for use in line-mode (text only) Web browsers as well as multimedia browsers, or is there an option
for line-mode browsers?
Is attention paid to the needs of the disabled -- e.g., large print and graphics options; audio; alternative text for graphics?
Are links provided to Web "subject trees" or directories -- lists of subject-arranged Web sources?
How usable is the site? Can visitors get the information they need within a reasonable number of links (preferably 3 or fewer
Is appropriate interactivity available?
When it is necessary to send confidential information out over the Internet, is encryption (i.e., a secure coding system)
available? How secure is it?
Are there links to search engines or is a search engine attached to (embedded in) the Web site?

Lecture on interviewing

Describe location, person, and interview techniques. Is interviewee reserved, talkative, shy, in pain, hysterical, a friend or stranger, a slick politician you must cut through, an expert you must impress or what? Record it if possible. Follow-up with email and phone. What is the final transcription?You can use the full interview as an appendix, but must integrate quotes around your thesis. How does the person differ from you in terms of experience and beliefs about your topic? Ideally, you are doing many interviews, so pick people for and against you. How can you get the most out of them? You are NOT representing NYU, but yourself. As an excellent global university, NYU wants you to engage in rigorous scholarship, but also have the courage to question critically, to have the courage to go against the tide, to risk positing unpopular theories, but then to present your findings in a linguistically correct style that still reflects your unique voice and point of view. In other words, if you really challenge yourselves, work critically and creatively, then both NYU and the professor should be pleased. Your goal however is never to please, admire, respect, or worship the professor but to develop your mind and advance scholarship in the field. Obviously you must come to class and fulfill requirements, but controversy, conflict, and conversion are part of most academic reseach papers. Agree to disagree with me, the people you interview, your preconceived notions, and your peers. Integration: Where does it go in your outline? Prepare interview and field research.

25% of your grade is originality.
Ways to be More Original:

    In the Brain Gymnasium, we work on mindbody conditioning, assessing and understanding our cognitive domains, and changing our cerebral grooves for more potent creativity.
    Creativity has three stages: 1) Childlike play and wonder where we become as free and careless as a child playing;
    2) Working in our cognitive domain with the appropriate combination of logical and translogical thinking such as homospatial and Janusian processes, (which can lead to frustration, and angst as repressed unconscious drives are uncovered,) and designing our structure with right and left brain synchronicity;
    3) Completing and presenting our work to an audience which can necessitate courage and fearlessness if the work is truly creative because it would go against the status quo. Creativity is closely related to destruction and therefore the mind must be constantly erased through meditation and cognitive colonics.


    An outline just helps you organize your research, the way empty drawers would help you do housework. It should be more like a Matryoshka doll than a grocery list. The outline is an organization of the topic paragraphs, with the thesis refined and developed in I, II, III, IV, and V. For example:
    I.  Introduction: State thesis as a complex, compound sentence

    II. Claim of Fact--Restate thesis around major problem
    A. Description of specific time, place, demographics, etc of your study
    B. Counterclaim to your claim of fact

    III. Claim of Value--Refine thesis in terms of values, what certain groups of people, religion, culture deem better or worse.
    A. Description of your angle on the claim of value.
    B. One or more counterclaims to your claim of value.


    IV. Claim of policy-- Develop thesis in terms of potential solutions to your problem.
    A. Present a methodical plan to solve your problem.
    B. Counterclaim(s) to your policy claim. For example, I may present a therapeutic model to solve back pain, and the counterclaims might be what other therapists do in their rehab centers.

    V. Conclusion
    A. Summarizing and evaluating your evidence.
    B. Identifying unsolved problems and giving suggestions for future research.

    Note that this model is rather rigid, and therefore should not be a writing model. You should write as creatively as possible, but you need some kind of structure that organizes your data and develops your argumentation. As you gather more information, you will then be able to evaluate it in terms of the thesis you are developing.

    Everyone should feel free to submit outlines in the listserv as well as interview questions so we can evaluate them. I should also make clear that a professor is different from a boss. My job is to stimulate you, challenge you, at times confuse you, and still give you As if you disagree with me. You are paid to agree with your bosses. You can also do an outline like the above, as well as your own creative outline, in any form you want.

    For next week, draw up a new outline for final paper, and rewrite your claims of fact with more specificity, yourclaims of value, using at least five literary quotes from the optional literature list, and your claims of policy with a utopian eye, just to test what is possible.

    MLA Documentation: Use parenthetical documentation (23) after the quotes: Descartes wrote "I think therefore I am." (23) Then in the bibliography, (make sure it is alphabetized), put in full publication or production details.

    How the Internet Changes the Way We Think
    Technical Writing and the Internet



    Keefer's Cyber-Logic Boot Camp

    1)Inductive/deductive accordion
    2) Pirouettes:Keeping your spot in a nonlinear world, developing speed and focus
    3)Weaving: propositional logic through all evidence, refining and developing thesis
    4)Searching for the Big 3 fallacies of ambiguity, presumption and relevance
    5)Using Boolean logic and Venn diagrams to limit, expand and organize specific areas of research, especially online
    6)Analysing the Persuasive Power of Images, including the homospatial imagery of collages
    7)Using hypertext to make the surfer follow Your waves


    :In the second half of the semester, we must make the descriptions and analyses of the claims of fact more potent, sharpen the definitions in the claims of value, strengthen the claims of policy and the causal relationship between fact and policy. This means you must strengthen your counterclaims, debate each other, by finding fallacies wherever you can.

    The following is inspired by the book With Good Reason by S. Morris Engel.

    Fallacies of Ambiguity

    Equivocation: An ambiguity caused by a shift between two legitimate meanings of a term. "If you believe in the miracles of science, you should also believe in the miracles of the Bible."
    Amphiboly: An ambiguity caused by faulty sentence structure. "SLOW CHILDREN CROSSING!"
    Accent: A statement that is ambiguous because 1)its intended tone of voice is uncertain; 2) its stress is unclear; or 3) it is quoted out of context "President Clinton really knows how to wag his dog."
    Hypostatization: The treatment of abstract terms like concrete ones, sometimes even the ascription of humanlike properties to them (similar to personification) "Even when he was home, the job would call to him seductively, asserting its dominance, luring him back to itembrace."
    Division: The assumption that what is true of 1) the whole or 2) the group must be true of the parts or members. "This is the snobbiest eating club on campus; John, who is a member of it, must therefore be a terrible snob."
    Composition: The assumption that what is true of 1) a part of a whole or 2) a member of a group must be true of the whole or the group. "By the year 3500 the human race will be extinct because we know that all of us now living will be dead."

    Fallacies of Presumption

    Sweeping Generalization: Applying a generalization to an exceptional case by ignoring the particularities of the case. "Since step aerobics is good for the heart, they should make it mandatory in nursing homes."
    Hasty Generalization: Using insufficient evidence or an isolated example as the basis for a widely general conclusion. "I was raped by a black man, therefore all black men are potential rapists." (This fallacy is often the basis for racism.)
    Bifurcation: Considering a distinction or classification exclusive or exhaustive when other alternatives exist. "You're either for me or against me!"
    Begging the Question: 1) Offering, as a premise, a simple restatement of the desired conclusion. "Immortality is impossible because when we die that's it." 2) A circular argument. "I'm always right." Why/" "Because I'm your mother and I say so." "How do we know that mothers are always right?" "Because I'm your mother and..." 3) (Wider generalization) "He must be depressed: he's an existentialist!"
    Question-Begging Epithets: Using strongly emotional language to force an otherwise unsupported conclusion. "Democrats are amoral, lustful, greedy politicians who don't care about foetuses and family values."
    Special Pleading: Applying a double standard that is exemplified in the choice of words "Horses sweat, men perspire, women glow."
    False Analogy: Reaching a conclusion by likening or comparing two significantly incomparable cases. "How can you tell your children no to take money from others when the government they live under does it all the time?"
    False Cause: Inferring a causal link between two events when no such causal connection has been established. "The only reason crime went down was because Agosto became mayor." (Crime also went down in every other city.)
    Slippery Slope: Assuming, unjustifiably, that a proposed step will set off an undesirable and uncontrollable chain of events. "Today it's Kevorkian, tomorrow everyone over 65 will be euthanized, and by 2001 we'll have a BRAVE NEW WORLD!"
    Irrelevant Thesis: Seeking, perhaps succeeding, to prove a conclusion not at issue. "Hunting isn't cruel because it makes so many people happy and well-employed.

    Fallacies of Relevance

    Genetic Fallacy: Attacking a thesis, institution, or idea by condemning its background or origin. "Classical Greek philosophy is anachronistic because it was created by Dead White Males."
    Abusive ad Hominem: Attacking the character of the opposing speaker rather his or her thesis. "We shouldn't elect her because she's a lesbian."
    Circumstantial ad Hominem: Attacking the opposing speaker by implying vested interests.
    Tu Quoque: Attempting to show that an opponent does not act in accord with his or her thesis. "How can my father tell me to stop drinking when I know he's an alcoholic?"
    Poisoning the Well: Attempting to preclude discussion by attacking the credibility of an opponent. "President Clinton lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky therefore he must be lying about social security, education and the environment as well."
    Mob Appeal: Using emotion-laden terminology to sway people en masse. "Stand up for Afro-american civil rights! Acquit O.J.Simpson of murder!"
    Appeal to Pity: Seeking to persuade not by presenting evidence but by arousing pity. "Don't send the Menendez brothers to the gas chamber because their father abused them."
    Appeal to Authority: Seeking to persuade not by giving evidence but merely by citing an authority, in the form of an: 1) appeal to the one, 2) appeal to the many, 3) appeal to the select few, 4)appeal to tradition. "Use this mouthwash because Madonna uses it." "Everybody owns a car so buy one soon." "If you use this perfume, you will be set apart from the crowd." Marriage is sacred because it's been around for ages.
    Appeal to Ignorance: Emphasizing not the evidence for a thesis, but the lack of evidence against it. "There must be an afterlife because no one has proven for sure that there isn't."
    Appeal to Fear: Seeking to persuade through fear. "Fuzzy, if you don't stop meowing, Mommy won't give you any yum yum."

    25% of your grade is language and style, your eloquent, unique writing style framed in correct parenthetical documentation. Proofread meticulously. Consult a thesaurus for synonyms. Work on sentence structure and paragraph progression.

    MLA Documentation: Use parenthetical documentation (23) after the quotes: Descartes wrote "I think therefore I am." (23) Then in the bibliography, (make sure it is alphabetized) put in full publication or production details.
    Tannen, Deborah. The Argument Culture: Moving from Debate to Dialogue. New York: Random, 1998.
    Kaplan, Robert D. "History Moving North." Atlantic Monthly Feb. 1997: 21+.
    Cheuse, Alan. "Narrative Painting and Pictorial Fiction." Antioch Review 55 (1997): 277-91.
    France, Peter. "His Own Biggest Hero." Rev of Victor Hugo, by Graham Robb. New York Times Book Review 15 Jan. 1998:7.
    Spanoudis, Steve, Bob Blair, and Nelson Miller. Poets' Corner. 7 June 1999. 13 June 1999 <>.
    Blue Note Records . 9 June 1999. Blue Note Records. 9 June 1999 <>.
    Coontz, Stephanie. "Family Myths, Family Realities." Salon 12 Dec. 1997. 3 Feb.2000 <>.
    Schubert, Josephine. "Re: Culture Shock." E-mail to the author. 14 Mar. 2000.
    The English Patient. dir. Anthony Minghella. Perf. Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, and Kristin Scott Thomas. Miramax, 1996.
    TV: Primates. Wild Discovery. Discovery Channel. 23 Mar. 1998.

    Use APA documentation for health and social sciences. Consult your style book for exceptions.

    Click here to visit ANDREW BAKSH's horticultural therapy project

    Click here to enter the Boolean circle of the Language group investigating how environment affects communication...

    Click here to enter the Boolean circle of the Socioeconomic group investigating how environment affects social and economic power struggles among humans.

    Click here to enter the Boolean circle of the Health/Disease group investigating how environment affects mental, physical and/or spiritual health.


    Leslie L'Heureux McNeill: HISTORICAL HOMES
    Linda Paule:REIKI THERAPY
    Mary Shipp: GINGKO BILOBA
    David Zaga

    Summer 2000
    (Copyright 1999 Professor Julia Keefer)

    Cyberperformance 9: August 9, 2000

    Debate: Development versus Environmentalism: A 21ST CENTURY DEBATE

    Click Here for Audio Files of the Following Oral Presentations arranged by date recorded.








    Believe it or not, this is a photo of the zoo in Central Park, taken by Prof. Keefer. Wilderness is everywhere---without and within, in city and country, brain and ecosphere.