Argument Deconstruction

Now that you have practiced an argument deconstruction you will have a second go and a chance for some peer review and feedback. Learning to be part of a critical thinking community is one of the goals of the class and we will be doing that in the discussion and through these peer review assignments. Most of your grade for this assignment is in the peer review.

Step 1 Choose a recent controversial or suspect argument from the media, preferably one from the proximal 2-3 weeks. The media source can be anything including video, blog, news feed but be sure the argument has premises that can tested and a conclusion that can be validated. Then deconstruct the argument stating and verifying or refuting the premises (remember you need sources for verifying the truth), checking for validity and soundness. You will post your deconstruction and a copy or link to the media source by the deadline posted on Canvas.
Step 2 You will be assigned a peer’s post to review the day after the due date and you will have until this module closes to do the peer review. The review has 3 parts for you to focus on:
1) Read, WATCH or listen to the media piece and verify the premises and conclusion of the argument to be sure your evaluatee has the structure correct and then verify the deconstruction. If the structure seems different to you state the structure as you see it with evidence to support your claim.
2) Are the premises evaluated properly? Is there supporting evidence with cited sources to refute or support each premise? Did your evaluatee convince you that the premises were either true or false based upon their evidence and citations? If there is a weakness in this part state it, and if you found something well done be sure to state that as well!
3) Is the diagnosis of validity and soundness correct? Remember all premises must be proven true for an argument to be both valid and sound. If you agree with your evaluatee’s deconstruction congratulate them and maybe share something you learned from their work, if you do not, state your case with proof as to why you think it might be otherwise. It might be that you can learn to balance both positive and critical comments in all cases.

Reminder: One of the goals of this class is to improve your sophistication in being part of a critical thinking community. Your ability to deconstruct arguments and detect fallacies and then form excellent arguments is part of that, but equally IMPORTANT is how to be collegial, positive and polite even when in full opposition to another person?s position. In an online environment this is referred to as ?netiquette? and there are a set of rules you should adhere to in all cases. You can refer to the core rules from Colorado State University here (Links to an external site.).
To take this one step further we will maintain a culture of civility, equanimity and inclusivity in this class. All opinions and points of view are welcome in this class and no one will be criticized for their perspective. In discussions and peer reviews you will be asked to deconstruct and evaluate other peoples arguments and critiques and you must remember to focus on the arguments not the person making it. We will have no personal attacks or comments in any discussion forum.

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