Analytical Essay

| April 7, 2015

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You will be comparing a human moral practice between different times/cultures, and making a decisive choice about the rightness/wrongness of that practice.

Choose a human moral practice. This can be anything at all. Be really creative here. Do not just choose something we have dissected. If you do choose something we have touched on provide a new angle on it.

In your essay

1) Compare this human moral practice within our modern times and a different time/different culture (satisfy both conditions & different times and different cultures)

2) Argue why one or both of these practices is morally right/wrong using at least 2 concepts we have learned so far. Example, you could argue that one is right, or neither are right. Provide your reasoning in a well structured manner, and use examples to support your arguments.

 

 

Dr. Vadim Keyser

Writing a Short Analytical Essay

Writing an analytical essay may different from other writings. In an analytical essay you are going to

provide a supporting argument for your position on the topic. Below are some characteristics of the

analytical essay and some suggestions to help outline and write your paper.

1. Introduction/Strategy

Your introduction needs to clearly state your main thesis and be concise. You are then to outline the

order of your discussion–i.e. what will you be doing and exactly in what order? Make sure you keep

the two writing strategies in mind (The Military Strategy and the Bank Robbery Strategy).

The military strategy is a way to keep your audience sign-posted at every step: Tell them what you’re

going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them. This structure of sign-posting

corresponds to the intro, body, and conclusion. The purpose is to intercept the fact that your reader

may not be fully focused on every move you make in the article. So you constantly have to inform the

reader where they are and what point they should be understanding and in what way.

The Bank Robbery strategy is for the purpose of simplicity: Get in, get the money, get out. Stay away

from long sentences, stay away from trite phrases, stay away from repetition, and keep things as

simple as possible both in the intro and throughout the rest of your essay.

Something important to note is that when people argue, sometimes they just end up repeating the

same claim in different ways, and never really making the argument. Keep an eye on that when

you’re developing the intro. The rest of the essay should expand on the intro rather than just repeat

it.

2. Reasons for your argument

For 2-4 page essays only one argument should be offered to support your thesis. The rest of the content

consists of support for that argument in the form of empirical evidence, thought experiment,

illustration, and/or description. (For 5-10 page essays, two arguments should be offered. We won’t be

doing any in this class, but this is a good rule to use.)

Perform a self-check: is my argument clear and detailed and allows the reader to clearly see the

reasoning of my argument? For example, if I were to write an essay about why self-reflection is

important, I’d make a practical argument: Self-reflection helps us to avoid pitfalls of ignorance. I’d then

support my argument with examples like the Dunning-Kruger effect, Heuristics and Misrepresentation,

and the Threshold Effect. These would be examples that support my line of argument.

3. One Objection to your argument and responses

To write an appropriate essay, you must consider the objections to your reasoning. For 2-3 pages

consider 1 objection. This should be included in your body paragraphs (not the conclusion). It should

also be dealt with/responded to.

Perform a self-check: what is controversial in your assumptions to a reasonable person? Include the

most important objection to your argument, and then respond in careful way to the objection.

4. Conclusion.

Wrap up your argument by summarizing exactly what you have argued and how you have responded to

counter arguments. Think of this as an introduction that is stated in the form of what you have

accomplished. Then, answer the most important question of all: Who cares? You’ve just spent all of this

time writing about a topic that people wouldn’t take a second to consider. Why does it matter? Why is it

important? Then, you just end. One of the difficulties of writing (as well as talking) is to figure out when

to just cut the thread. This is a skill.

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