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Essay 1: Analyzing Arguments OR Providing Fresh Takes
**For this essay, you will have two options. You can either:
Use what you’ve learned about Cognitive Distortions this week to analyze common “hot button” issues [ OR ]
Research a historic or well-known figure and provide a “fresh take” perspective about their life, contributions, etc.
Option A: Cognitive Distortions & Hot Button IssuesThis essay choice is guided by the course materials related to cognitive distortions. These distortions, when thought of in the context of arguments or social topics, are also known as Logical Fallacies (see more on Logical Fallacies Download more on Logical Fallacieshere). For this essay choice, you are going to take a popular argument that exists in our society today, and you’re going to break it down into its opposing stances and lines of argument. The trick with this essay is to state the ‘sides’ of an issue without stating a personal claim or stake in the issue. It is NOT about what you personally think or feel about the issue, but it’s about the arguments that are made about it, and how those arguments rely on or center on fallacious thinking. If it’s helpful, you might imagine that you are at a large meeting, similar to a UN meeting. Represented there are diplomats or leaders of several different countries. They each have their own values, systems, and beliefs, and yet, they are present at this meeting in order to voice their concerns or opinions and to be heard. In your paper, you are going to make a space for all the ‘voices’ that might exist on your particular hot button topic and “analyze” them for logical fallacies. See the grading criteria here Download See the grading criteria here.
Option B: Historic Figures & Fresh TakesThis essay choice is guided and inspired by the George Orwell’s, “Reflections on Gandhi”. Download George Orwell’s, “Reflections on Gandhi”.In reading this piece, you may learn some background about Gandhi that you didn’t know or didn’t realize. In learning this, we are forced to confront what misconceptions, assumptions, or biases we held or maintained about him, his life, or his character in the face of this ‘new’ information, or ‘fresh take’. You will conduct credible library and web research to learn facets and details of this person’s life in order to complicate your own perspective of this person. Keep in mind that a strong profile narrates the story of a person and works to employ interesting details and information that is not commonly known in order to provide a fresh understanding or a “fresh take” of its subject. This “fresh take” becomes your thesis statement.You should keep in mind that a profile should not merely restate easy-to-find biographical information. If it’s helpful, you might consider following this template as you develop a working thesis idea: “When thinking of Keanu Reeves, most people know that he’s an actor from Canada who has won several awards and who has contributed greatly to film or media. What many people might not know, however, is that Reeves has suffered great personal hardships which has impacted the way he lives his life…”. You might also listen to a few episodes of the Smartless Podcast where the hosts do something similar–in interviewing their guests, lesser known information about their life comes up. Your goal is to dig past what is most obvious, widely known, or already obvious about your figure to offer something unique and new.See the grading criteria here Download See the grading criteria here.