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Assignment 1.1: Conflicting Viewpoints Essay – Part

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Assignment 1.1: Conflicting Viewpoints Essay – Part I

Preparation and Pre-writing
Due Week 2 and worth 30 points

When looking for information about a particular issue, how often do you try to resist confirmation bias by seeking out sources that might contradict your own point of view? This assignment asks you to engage in this aspect of critical thinking. As author E.M. Forster said, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”

The assignment is divided into two (2) parts.

In Part I of the assignment (due Week 2), you will first read a book excerpt about critical thinking processes Next, you will review the Procon.org Website in order to gather information. Then, you engage in pre-writing to examine your thoughts.

[Note: In Part II of the assignment (due Week 4), you will write an essay geared towards synthesizing your ideas.]

Part I – Preparation and Pre-writing

Write a one to two (1-2) page paper in which you:

1. Summarize in four to five (4-5) sentences Peter Elbow’s explanation of the “Believing Game” and the “Doubting Game” from the book excerpt “The Believing Game and How to Make Conflicting Opinions More Fruitful” at http://www.procon.org/sourcefiles/believinggame.pdf.

2. Select one (1) of the approved topics from the www.procon.org Website, state your position on the issue, and explain why you chose that topic.

3. From the Procon.org Website, identify three (3) premises (reasons) listed under the Pro section and three (3) premises listed under the Con section for your topic.

4. The Believing Game is “believing” what you don’t believe – in other words, trying to agree on some aspect of a view that you disagree with or oppose. For each of the three (3) premises you chose from the www.procon.org Website that disagree with your position on the issue, answer these “believing” questions suggested by Elbow:

What’s interesting or helpful about this view?
What would I notice if I believed this view?
In what sense or under what conditions might this idea be true?”

5. The Doubting Game is “doubting” what you do believe – in other words, trying to disagree with some aspect of a view that you agree with. For each of the three (3) premises you chose from the www.procon.org Website that agree with your position on the issue, answer the “doubting” questions suggested by Elbow, such as the journalistic questions:

who, what, when, where, why, how?

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