Public Thinking: Final Draft

The Internet has been a boon and a curse for teenagers,” (J.K. Rowling).  Some people in our society believe that the Internet has done more hurt than help for our generation.  This is not the case with author, Clive Thompson, who believes like many others, that the Internet is actually the opposite of a burden on our society.  Clive Thompson’s “Public Thinking” is a chapter from the book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better.  In this chapter, Thompson introduces to us the idea that social media is improving the way we write and think.  In our day and age, social media and the Internet is a part of almost everyone’s daily lives. A lot of times, being on social media is seen as a bad thing and something that could only hurt a person cognitively.  This is not the case though according to Thompson. Writing should be a major focus of ours, and a form of writing is through social media and the Internet. Thompson’s overall argument in this chapter is that the increase in public writing was made possible by the Internet, which has important, positive effects on our thoughts, knowledge-sharing, and culture and politics.  In this paper, I will describe and explain Thompson’s major claims, examine and discuss the evidence he used to backup these claims, evaluate his strengths and weaknesses, and analyze the opposing views he used throughout the chapter.

One of Thompson’s main claims is that writing can help clarify our thinking because writing something out creates clear ideas. Thompson asserts that online writing has exploded recently and has affected many people.  According to Thompson, the act of writing forces writers to create understandable thoughts. For example, Thompson states that, “by putting half-formed thoughts on the page, we externalize them and are able to evaluate them much more objectively,” (Thompson 51).  What he means by this is that writers figure out easier what they want to say only once they have started writing. In other words, writing is very beneficial to not only professional writers, but everyone to improve their ways of thinking and speaking. Another example Thompson mentions is that, “the audiences clarify the mind even more,” (52).  What this means is that when you write something online, you are doing it for the audience. People who write online are looking for feedback from the audience, and to at least have someone read it, even if it is anonymous. In other words, most things presented online to the public are done in the hopes of an audience viewing it, which in turn push the writer to create something that they feel the people will enjoy to see and will relate to.  This idea of writing on the Internet and writing in general helps the writer to clarify their thinking and improve their overall cognition.

Another one of Thompson’s main claims is that the effort of communicating to someone else forces you to think more precisely, make deeper connections, and learn more.  Thompson states that the audience effect creates a shift in our performance when we know other people are watching. For example, Thompson uses a study on four and five year olds from a group of Vanderbilt professors that says that, “in one group, the children simply solved the puzzles quietly by themselves. In a second group, they were asked to explain into a tape recorder how they were solving each puzzle, a recording they could keep for themselves. And in the third group, the kids had an audience: they had to explain their reasoning to their mothers, who sat near them, listening but not offering any help,” (55).  This is important because the group that did the best was the one with the mothers present. What this means is that when there is a meaningful audience that the writer is presenting their thoughts to, they are able to communicate better as a whole. In other words, when a writer presents their material to an audience on the Internet, they care about how this audience will react to what they have to say, so it causes them to be more precise and make deeper connections with what they are presenting. The writer is communicating with their audience, which will allow them to write what they have to say in a much more meaningful matter.  Another example Thompson uses where a person is communicating through writing is when, “ asked to write for a real audience of students in another country, students write essays that are substantially longer and have better organization and content than when they’re writing for their teacher,” (55). What he means by using this example is that when a writer is communicating with someone else, no matter if they know them or not, they go more into detail and spend more time making sure that what they are writing is worth reading for the other person. In other words, when these writers share their knowledge and communicate with their audience through the Internet, their whole thought process and level of communicating increases.  Writers create their best work when taking the effort to communicate with someone else.

Thompson’s final main claim is that public writing on the Internet has had a positive effect on culture and politics.  Thompson asserts that with this increase in public writing on the Internet, people are able to express their opinions and say their thoughts on culture and politics for an audience to see.  For example, Thompson uses a personal experience from Ory Okolloh, a woman from Kenya who got into public writing. Thompson states that, “ in 2007, the ruling party rigged the national election and the country exploded in violence. Okolloh wrote anguished posts, incorporating as much hard information as she could get,” (46).  What this means is that through the use of the Internet with public writing, Ory Okolloh was able to express her opinions and speak about the facts of politics that are occurring in her country. Her blogs were used as a resource for information on the crisis, and she was able to gain a powerful audience from this. In other words, public writing on the Internet has opened up many ways for people to express their opinions online about the hardships that they go through in their everyday life, or even just about what is going on in their country.  Another example is when Thompson uses his experience in China and states that, “this sudden emergence of audiences is significant enough in Western countries, where liberal democracies guarantee the right to free speech. But in countries where there’s less of a tradition of free speech, the emergence of networked audiences may have an even more head-snapping effect,” (57). Thompson expected the youth in China to push for democracy once they were able to gain a public microphone, but instead he found out that with this idea of having an audience, the youth enjoyed the remarkable feeling of speaking their mind on any subject that they can.  In other words, the youth there in China are expressing their ideas through public writing, which was much different from the ways that their parents grew up. These young people believe in political reform too just as their parents, but these everyday audiences online that they are given are believed to be crucial to this reform process for China. Both politics and culture, shared about on the Internet, has become a big part of our public writing.

In this chapter, Thompson does use rebuttals greatly to his favor.  For example, he questions, “is any of this writing good?” (48). This is one of the rebuttals Thompson used to acknowledge the opposing view.  He did a great job of using the rebuttal to his advantage. Instead of just letting it be after this question, he answered and backed it up by saying that he personally enjoys much of the work he comes across on the Internet, no matter it be written by amateurs or not.  He also states that before this explosion of online writing, there was barely anything out there. This makes his argument more believable and credible because he gives his opinion on the subject and adds in factual evidence to back it up. Another rebuttal is towards the end of the chapter when he brings up Stanford Professor Andrea Lunsford.  Thompson states that, “if you’re worried that college students today can’t write as well as in the past, her work will ease your mind” (66).  He says this again to recognize the opposing view, and in this situation specifically that students cannot write as well as in the past. Thompson brings up studies done by Lunsford, another very credible source, to persuade his audience that may be skeptical of his views to actually agree that his beliefs are correct and there is enough evidence to back him up.  Thompson does rebuttals throughout this chapter to help to persuade his audience.

A strength of Thompson’s throughout his argument is that he uses a lot of personal stories and experiences from multiple people that helps to persuade readers.  Throughout the chapter, after making a claim, Thompson will end up using the personal experience of a person who has a perfect piece of evidence for his claim. For example, after Thompson makes the claim that writing helps to clarify our thinking, he immediately follows it with a quote from a poet named Cecil Day-Lewis that states, “if it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it …. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand,” (51).  This is an example of him using someone else’s personal experience to strengthen his argument because once people see that others have been through it, and what he claims actually ends up helping them, then they are persuaded to believe the argument even more. Another example of Thompson using personal experiences to strengthen his argument is right at the beginning of the chapter when he brings up the story of Ory Okolloh, a Kenyan-born law student fell in love with the idea of online conversation. She posted often and gained a following of readers of her blogs.  She talked about many political issues in Kenya, and even experienced first-hand the idea of the audience effect, where she became very disciplined with what she said since she was self-conscious of these people reading her blogs. This story strengthens Thompson’s argument because it shows how much public writing increased due to the Internet. Ory Okolloh experienced this increase of public writing on the Internet first-hand, which makes Thompson’s argument more relatable since it shows someone’s personal experience with it. Thompson uses personal stories and experiences to his advantage to help persuade the readers to his argument and show how it has affected other people in our society.  This is a great strength of Thompson throughout this chapter of public thinking.

The increase in public writing was made possible by the Internet, which has important, positive effects on our thoughts, knowledge-sharing, and culture and politics.  Thompson does a great job throughout this chapter in supporting his overall argument well with strong claims to persuade his audience. A form of writing is through the Internet, and Clive Thompson’s outlook on this is expressed extremely well.  Public writing is necessary in our society, and Thompson shows how it is very important with the Internet in our day and age.

Public Thinking Essay

“The Internet has produced a foaming Niagara of writing,” (Thompson, 46).  Clive Thompson’s “Public Thinking” is a chapter from the book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better.  In this chapter, Thompson introduces to us the idea that social media is improving the way we write and think.  In our day and age, social media and the Internet is a part of almost everyone’s daily lives. A lot of times, being on social media is seen as a bad thing and something that could only hurt a person cognitively.  This is not the case though according to Thompson. Reading was always looked at before as the way of literacy for us ever since we were children, and we never focused much on writing. Writing should also be a major focus of ours, and a form of writing is through social media and the Internet.  Thompson’s overall argument in this chapter is that the increase in public writing was made possible by the Internet, which has important, positive effects on our thoughts, knowledge-sharing, and culture and politics. In this paper, I will describe and explain Thompson’s major claims, examine and discuss the evidence he used to backup these claims, evaluate his strengths and weaknesses, and analyze the opposing views he used throughout the chapter.

One of Thompson’s main claims is that writing can help clarify our thinking because writing something out creates clear ideas. Thompson asserts that online writing has exploded recently and has affected many people.  According to Thompson, the act of writing forces writers to create understandable thoughts. For example, Thompson states that, “by putting half-formed thoughts on the page, we externalize them and are able to evaluate them much more objectively,” (51).  What he means by this is that writers figure out easier what they want to say only once they have started writing. In other words, writing is very beneficial to not only professional writers, but everyone to improve their ways of thinking and speaking. Another example Thompson mentions is that, “the audiences clarify the mind even more,” (52).  What this means is that when you write something online, you are doing it for the audience. People who write online are looking for feedback from the audience, and to at least have someone read it, even if it is anonymous. In other words, most things presented online to the public are done in the hopes of an audience viewing it, which in turn push the writer to create something that they feel the people will enjoy to see and will relate to.  This idea of writing on the Internet and writing in general helps the writer to clarify their thinking and improve their overall cognition.

Another one of Thompson’s main claims is that the effort of communicating to someone else forces you to think more precisely, make deeper connections, and learn more.  Thompson states that the audience effect creates a shift in our performance when we know other people are watching. For example, Thompson uses a study on four and five year olds from a group of Vanderbilt professors that says that, “in one group, the children simply solved the puzzles quietly by themselves. In a second group, they were asked to explain into a tape recorder how they were solving each puzzle, a recording they could keep for themselves. And in the third group, the kids had an audience: they had to explain their reasoning to their mothers, who sat near them, listening but not offering any help,” (55).  This is important because the group that did the best was the one with the mothers present. What this means is that when there is a meaningful audience that the writer is presenting their thoughts to, they are able to communicate better as a whole. In other words, when a writer presents their material to an audience on the Internet, they care about how this audience will react to what they have to say, so it causes them to be more precise and make deeper connections with what they are presenting. The writer is communicating with their audience, which will allow them to write what they have to say in a much more meaningful matter.  Another example Thompson uses where a person is communicating through writing is when, “ asked to write for a real audience of students in another country, students write essays that are substantially longer and have better organization and content than when they’re writing for their teacher,” (55). What he means by using this example is that when a writer is communicating with someone else, no matter if they know them or not, they go more into detail and spend more time making sure that what they are writing is worth reading for the other person. In other words, when these writers share their knowledge and communicate with their audience through the Internet, their whole thought process and level of communicating increases.  Writers create their best work when taking the effort to communicate with someone else.

Thompson’s final main claim is that public writing on the Internet has had a positive effect on culture and politics.  Thompson asserts that with this increase in public writing on the Internet, people are able to express their opinions and say their thoughts on culture and politics for an audience to see.  For example, Thompson uses a personal experience from Ory Okolloh, a woman from Kenya who got into public writing. Thompson states that, “ in 2007, the ruling party rigged the national election and the country exploded in violence. Okolloh wrote anguished posts, incorporating as much hard information as she could get,” (46).  What this means is that through the use of the Internet with public writing, Ory Okolloh was able to express her opinions and speak about the facts of politics that are occurring in her country. Her blogs were used as a resource for information on the crisis, and she was able to gain a powerful audience from this. In other words, public writing on the Internet has opened up many ways for people to express their opinions online about the hardships that they go through in their everyday life, or even just about what is going on in their country.  Another example is when Thompson uses what Stanford English professor Andrea Lunsford had to say about online writing today and how it relates to Greek ideals. She states that, “we are in the midst of a literary revolution the likes of which we have not seen since Greek civilization,” (67). What this means is that the writing strategies of today, especially online, are similar to the Greek culture, which was knowing how to debate, marshal evidence, listen to others, and concede points. In other words, culture plays a major aspect in public writing on the Internet, and is shaped just like these Greek ideals, creating online the closest thing to a face-to-face conversation.  Both politics and culture, whether shared about on the Internet or incorporated through how the Internet works, has become a big part of our public writing.

In this chapter, Thompson does not use many rebuttals, but there are some throughout the text.  For example, he states that, “even among writers I know, there’s a heated divide over whether thinking about your audience is fatal to creativity,” (54).  This is one of the rebuttals Thompson used to acknowledge the opposing view. He did a great job of using the rebuttal to his advantage. Instead of just letting it be after this statement, he brought up a point that he believes to be true and backed it up by saying “studies have found.”  This makes his argument more believable and credible than the opposing views that were just opinions made by other writers. Another rebuttal is towards the end of the chapter when he begins to ask questions.  For example, Thompson states that, “why would the same ideas occur to different people at the same time?” (59).  He says this again to recognize the opposing view. Many people will be skeptical that ideas would occur to different people at the same time, but instead of just saying this, he brings up facts and studies that point towards his ideas being correct.  Thompson brings up arguments and studies done by others to persuade his audience that may be skeptical of his views to actually agree that his beliefs are correct and there is enough evidence to back him up. Thompson does not use many rebuttals throughout this chapter, but when he does, they are used to his advantage, and help to persuade his audience.

A strength of Thompson’s throughout his argument is that he uses a lot of personal stories and experiences from multiple people that helps to persuade readers.  Throughout the chapter, after making a claim, Thompson will end up using the personal experience of a person who has a perfect piece of evidence for his claim. For example, after Thompson makes the claim that writing helps to clarify our thinking, he immediately follows it with a quote from a poet named Cecil Day-Lewis that states, “if it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it …. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand,” (51).  This is an example of him using someone else’s personal experience to strengthen his argument because once people see that others have been through it, and what he claims actually ends up helping them, then they are persuaded to believe the argument even more. Another example of Thompson using personal experiences to strengthen his argument is right at the beginning of the chapter when he brings up the story of Ory Okolloh, a Kenyan-born law student fell in love with the idea of online conversation. She posted often and gained a following of readers of her blogs.  She talked about many political issues in Kenya, and even experienced first-hand the idea of the audience effect, where she became very disciplined with what she said since she was self-conscious of these people reading her blogs. This story strengthens Thompson’s argument because it shows how much public writing increased due to the Internet. Ory Okolloh experienced this increase of public writing on the Internet first-hand, which makes Thompson’s argument more relatable since it shows someone’s personal experience with it. Thompson uses personal stories and experiences to his advantage to help persuade the readers to his argument and show how it has affected other people in our society.  This is a great strength of Thompson throughout this chapter of public thinking.

The increase in public writing was made possible by the Internet, which has important, positive effects on our thoughts, knowledge-sharing, and culture and politics.  Thompson does a great job throughout this chapter in supporting his overall argument well with strong claims to persuade his audience. A form of writing is through the Internet, and Clive Thompson’s outlook on this is expressed extremely well.  Public writing is necessary in our society, and Thompson shows how it is very important with the Internet in our day and age.

Public Thinking: Strength

A strength of Thompson’s throughout his argument is that he uses a lot of personal stories and experiences from multiple people that helps to persuade readers.  Throughout the chapter, after making a claim, Thompson will end up using the personal experience of a person who has a perfect piece of evidence for his claim. For example, after Thompson makes the claim that writing helps to clarify our thinking, he immediately follows it with a quote from a poet named Cecil Day-Lewis that states, “if it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it …. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand,” (51).  This is an example of him using someone else’s personal experience to strengthen his argument because once people see that others have been through it, and what he claims actually ends up helping them, then they are persuaded to believe the argument even more. Another example of Thompson using personal experiences to strengthen his argument is right at the beginning of the chapter when he brings up the story of Ory Okolloh, a Kenyan-born law student fell in love with the idea of online conversation. She posted often and gained a following of readers of her blogs.  She talked about many political issues in Kenya, and even experienced first-hand the idea of the audience effect, where she became very disciplined with what she said since she was self-conscious of these people reading her blogs. This story strengthens Thompson’s argument because it shows how much public writing increased due to the Internet. Ory Okolloh experienced this increase of public writing on the Internet first-hand, which makes Thompson’s argument more relatable since it shows someone’s personal experience with it. Thompson uses personal stories and experiences to his advantage to help persuade the readers to his argument and show how it has affected other people in our society.  This is a great strength of Thompson throughout this chapter.

Public Thinking: Intro/Body Paragraph

“The Internet has produced a foaming Niagara of writing,” (Thompson, 46).  Clive Thompson’s “Public Thinking” is a chapter from the book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better.  In this chapter, Thompson introduces to us the idea that social media is improving the way we write and think.  In our day and age, social media and the Internet is a part of almost everyone’s daily lives. A lot of times, being on social media is seen as a bad thing and something that could only hurt a person cognitively.  This is not the case though according to Thompson. Reading was always looked at before as the way of literacy for us ever since we were children, and we never focused much on writing. Writing should also be a major focus of ours, and a form of writing is through social media and the Internet.   Thompson’s overall argument in this chapter is that the increase in public writing was made possible by the Internet, which has important, positive effects on our thoughts, knowledge-sharing, and culture and politics. In this paper, I will describe and explain Thompson’s major claims, examine and discuss the evidence he used to backup these claims, and analyze the opposing views he used throughout this chapter.

One of Thompson’s main claims is that writing can help clarify our thinking. Thompson asserts that online writing has exploded recently and has affected many people.  According to Thompson, the act of writing forces writers to create clear ideas. For example, Thompson states that, “by putting half-formed thoughts on the page, we externalize them and are able to evaluate them much more objectively,” (51).  What he means by this is that writers figure out easier what they want to say only once they have started writing. In other words, writing is very beneficial to not only professional writers, but everyone to improve their ways of thinking and speaking.  Another example Thompson mentions is that, “the audiences clarify the mind even more,” (52). What this means is that when you write something online, you are doing it for the audience. People who write online are looking for feedback from the audience, and to at least have someone read it, even if it is anonymous.  In other words, most things presented online to the public are done in the hopes of an audience viewing it, which in turn pushed the writer to create something that they feel the people will enjoy to see and will relate to. This idea of writing on the Internet and writing in general helps the writer to clarify their thinking and improve their overall cognition.

Public Thinking

For me, the most relatable part of Thompson’s, “Public Thinking,” is when he discussed the idea of audience effect.  An example that stood out to me and I related to was the idea of the movie Moneyball and how there is a shift in our performance when we know people are watching.  I feel this on a personal level because this movie was about baseball, and when I used to play sports, I would psych myself out sometimes because I felt nervous with the audience and disappointing my coach.  Sometimes, when there was a large audience at my games, it would actually make me more excited and I felt like that is when I played my best. Other times, the idea of not doing well in front of an audience, especially my coach, would allow me to psych myself out and I would do worse.  I did not want to perform bad and lose playing time, but by worrying so much about my audience, it actually caused me to play bad anyway. For example, Thompson even mentions in the text that, “in live, face-to-face situations, like sports or live music, the audience effect often makes runners or musicians perform better, but it can sometimes psych them out and make them choke, too.”  This is how I felt many of times when playing sports, and I have experience the audience effect a lot.

Thompson’s main argument is that writing has an effect on our cognitive behavior.  One of Thompson’s main claims is that writing can help clarify our thinking. Thompson asserts that reading has always been focused on, but writing should also become a major focus.  According to Thompson, the act of writing forces writers to create clear ideas. For example, Thompson states that, “by putting half-formed thoughts on the page, we externalize them and are able to evaluate them much more objectively.”  What he means by this is that writers figure out easier what they want to say only once they have started writing. In other words, writing is very beneficial to not only professional writers, but everyone to improve their ways of thinking and speaking.  Another one of Thompson’s main claims is that all writing online is almost always done for the audience. Thompson claims that when you write something online, no matter what it is, you’re doing it with the expectation that someone may read it. According to Thompson, the “audience effect” causes us to have a shift in our performance when we know people are watching.  For example, Thompson states that, “in live, face-to-face situations, like sports or live music, the audience effect often makes runners or musicians perform better, but it can sometimes psych them out and make them choke, too.” What he means by this is that this is an example of a moment in life where the audience effect has taken place, and it also occurs often with writing, especially online.  In other words, people naturally want to perform for the audience, and it could go either good of bad. Lastly, Thompson’s main claim is that writing improves your memory. Thompson claims that when you write about something, you will remember it better. According to Thompson, this concept is known as the “generation effect”, and the effort put into writing increases memory. For example, Thompson states that, “when two psychologists tested people to see how well they remembered words that they’d written down compared to words they’d merely read, writing won out.”  What he means by this is that generating something like a written text yourself, requires more cognitive effort than reading does. In other words, you’re better able to retain information when you write it out, rather than just reading it.

Two rebuttals I noticed in this article was when Thompson brought up the point of hand waving and when he discussed audience effect.  The rebuttal with hand waving occurred when he said, “when you walk around meditating on an idea quietly to yourself, you do a lot of hand waving. It’s easy to win an argument inside your head. But when you face a real audience, as Weinberg points out, the hand waving has to end.”  Another rebuttal was with audience effect when he said the audience will cause people to perform better, but could also psych someone out. In both situations, he points out the opposite view, but still was able to stay strong to his point. Even if writing has some weaknesses in always helping someone improve, he was still able to keep his argument strong and persuasive.

Thompson’s – Public Thinking

  1. Thompson’s, “Public Thinking,” is very interesting and I agree with it completely.  I believe that the idea discussed about the audience effect is true and many people online on social media worry a lot about the audience that sees what they post.  Everyone wants positive feedback from what they post online, and is actually a big deal to many people what others think about what they are saying or putting online.
  2. Thompson’s main claims are that writing can help to clarify our thinking, and writing is almost always done for the audience (the audience effect).  I believe that both of these claims are true and everyone should consider them.  People should not only believe that reading helps to clarify our thinking, but they should also write, no matter if it is by hand on a piece of paper or on the internet as a social media post.  Also, people online post for their audience, and it is not always just for themselves.  They want the audience to have a certain reaction and they want to have an effect on their audience.  These claims are both true in our everyday life.

Rifkin and Parry

Rifkin – “A Change of Heart About Animals”

Rifkin’s argument was very interesting to me.  His main argument was that other animals or species are actually extremely similar to us humans.  I found most interesting the thoughts of other philosophers and animal behaviorists with the ideas they had that animals were not similar to humans and they lacked emotional features that humans have.  I thought that Rifkin responded well to these opposing ideas, and how well he was able to persuade people to agree with his argument.

One of Rifkin’s main claims is that funding sources have fueled the growing field of study into animal emotions and cognitive abilities.  Rifkin asserts that animals actually feel pain, suffer, and experience stress, affection, excitement, and love.  According to Rifkin, these findings are changing how we view animals, and stunning researchers with the findings on the abilities of animals.  For example, Rifkin states that, “Koko, the 300-pound gorilla… was taught sign language and has mastered more than 1,000 signs and understands several thousand English words.”  What he means by this is that these animals have the ability to think and act similarly in many ways to how humans do.  In other words, this shows the capability of other species through this example of the development of sophisticated language skills.  Another one of Rifkin’s main claims is that other species have the capability to experience self-awareness.  Rifkin suggests that tool-making and sophisticated language skills are just two of many attributes developed by animals, and self-awareness is another that we believed were exclusive to our species.  According to Rifkin, many philosophers and animal behaviorists have argued that animals are not capable of self-awareness because they lack a sense of individualism, but this is in fact not true because of recent studies.  For example, Rifkin states that, “orangutans given mirrors explore parts of their bodies they can’t otherwise see, showing a sense of self.”  What he means by this is that these animals are able to recognize who they are, and even do “human-like” activities like these orangutans would when they groomed their teeth in front of a mirror.  In other words, these animals are intelligent enough to recognize themselves and have this characteristic of self-awareness just like humans.

All of Rifkin’s claims were well-written and persuasive.  Some evidence that he used were examples and facts/data.  Examples were used throughout the article whenever Rifkin needed to back up a claim of something that animals have done.  He used examples multiple times, like Koko the gorilla, and the orangutan who would use a mirror to groom himself.  Facts and data was also used when he discussed the idea of animals playing.  The brains of animals will release large amounts of dopamine, which is a fact for animals and humans both.  Although most of his evidence in this short text was evidence, he used it to his advantage well and persuaded the audience well in his favor.

Two strategies Rifkin used were rebuttals and exemplification.  Rifkin used rebuttals during making his point about self-awareness and animals experiencing grief.  Exemplification was used throughout the article when Rifkin used examples of animals performing tasks that were similar to humans.  He used this strategy throughout the article, strengthening his argument and persuading the audience.

Parry – “Branding a Condition”

Parry’s overall argument is that branding a condition will help to focus a clinical community on a single story, and predicate the best treatment for that condition.  The most interesting part to me is how an acronym could help to redefine an existing condition and reduce stigma.

Advertisers and marketers in the pharmaceutical industry persuade audiences by branding the disease or condition that a particular product is capable of treating.  I have heard of methods of persuading people in this way by saying that a product will help to make something better.  It is not necessarily a disease or condition, but I have also seen it with things like losing weight quickly or gaining muscle quickly.  Advertising and marketing works very well to influence people to buy their product in order of achieving a goal of theirs.

Kristof and Rifkin Rebuttals

Kristof Rebuttals

In, “Do We Have the Courage,” Kristof uses rebuttals to strengthen his persuasion and it actually helped him a lot.  For example, Kristof tells a story about how he had been given a gun as a present when he was at the age of 12, but in the end he turns the story around and brings it back to the idea of cars being regulated and how guns should be too.  This example represents the idea of strategic concession because he recognizes the opposing view by saying how guns are fun to shoot, but then ties it right back in to why are guns not regulated like cars are. Also, Kristof says, “Likewise, don’t bother with the argument that if more people carried guns, they would deter shooters or interrupt them. Mass shooters typically kill themselves or are promptly caught, so it’s hard to see what deterrence would be added by having more people pack heat.”  This example represents the idea of refutation because it directly challenges the point of view of the opposing side. It also points out the weakness in the thought of having more people carry guns. Kristof uses rebuttals in his favor throughout this short text about gun regulation.

Rifkin Rebuttals

In, “A Change of Heart About Animals,” Rifkin uses rebuttals to strengthen his argument that other species are similar to us humans.  For example, in paragraph 10, Rifkin states that some philosophers believe that other animals are not capable of self-awareness because they “lack a sense of individualism.”  He then goes on to say that this is not true. This is an example of the demonstration of irrelevance because he points out that there are new studies that show that this idea the philosophers have is not true at all.  Another example is when Rifkin says that, “scientists have long believed that mourning for the dead represents the real divide.” He then goes on to say that animals actually do seem to experience grief. This shows that the type of rebuttal being used in this situation is refutation.  It seems to be refutation because of when he points out the weakness of this belief by stating a fact about elephants standing next to their dead kin for days, occasionally touching their bodies with their trunks. This directly challenges the opposing view, which therefore shows it is a rebuttal.  Rifkin’s short story uses rebuttals to his advantages by pointing out where he is correct in many scenarios over the belief of the opposing view, persuading the audience to agree with his argument that humans and other species are actually very similar.

Response: Kristof Short Texts

“Do We Have Courage to Stop This?”

  1. What seems to be the overall argument?
    • The overall argument that Kristof has presented is the question of why can’t the United States regulate guns as much as they do cars.
  2. What are some of Kristof’s main claims?
    • Kids are dying in massacres due to political failure to regulate guns.
    • More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.
    • Could impose a universal background check for gun buyers.
    • Limit gun purchases to one a month to curb gun traffickers.
    • Be like some other countries who have regulated certain aspects when it comes to guns, which helped their percentages.
  3. What kinds of claims does he present?
    • Proposal claims
    • Claims about facts
    • Comparison claims
  4. List some of the main types of evidence presented and discuss how persuasive they are.
    • Personal experience – This was used when he discussed himself receiving a gun as a present, and this is extremely persuasive because of how he turned it around and drew everything back to his comparison with cars.
    • Facts and data – Persuasive since it shows the impact on us in the United States.
    • Statistical data, surveys, polls – This was used when relating what our country should do to what other countries have already done and the success they gained from it.  Persuasive to the audience since it shows evidence that worked to improve the lives of the people by regulating guns.
  5. Identify two strategies Kristof uses to persuade his audience
    • When Kristof presents situations where the regulation of guns have worked, and also by relating a lot of the claims and evidences he uses to the idea of the regulations of cars.
  6. What is your response to the text (general thoughts or discussion of how effective you think it was).
    • I believe that this short text was very interesting.  Kristof did a good job with sticking to his argument that guns should be regulated, and brings about points that are easy to persuade you to his side.  He even added in a rebuttal that “shooting is fun” but was able to draw this claim back to the idea of cars and the regulation of them compared to guns.  His claims and evidences in this short text were easy to follow and were very persuasive to agree with his idea of what should happen with guns in the United States.

 

“Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals”

  1. What seems to be the overall argument?
    • That liberals are not completely aware of the gun facts and this does not help their stance with guns since they want them regulated.
  2. What are some of Kristof’s main claims?
    • Liberals expected gun battles to increase.
    • Most voters want gun regulation.
    • Gun ignorance with liberals.
    • Liberals actually boost NRA when talking about banning guns when they do not know completely what they are saying.
  3. What kinds of claims does he present?
    • Claims about facts
    • Claims about values and principles
    • Proposal claims
  4. List some of the main types of evidence presented and discuss how persuasive they are.
    • Examples – Examples helped to show how the liberals were with situations that dealt with gun regulation.
    • Facts and data – These were used well to demonstrate how liberals would act when gun regulations and guns were ever brought up, and what kind of effect it would have on the NRA.
    • Statistical data, surveys, and polls – The polls showed how the NRA or the liberals felt about certain controversial situations.
  5. Identify two strategies Kristof uses to persuade his audience
    • Showed polls of how the NRA actually agreed with the other “side”.
    • Demonstrated how liberals were a little uninformed sometimes when it came to certain gun facts that would lead to regulation.
  6. What is your response to the text (general thoughts or discussion of how effective you think it was).
    • I feel like this text was very interesting.  It provided a different outlook on gun regulation than that was brought up in the first short text.  It gave a different feel for how the people in the United States actually think and different points of view of how people think when it comes to gun regulations and guns in general.

About Me

Hello! My name is Ricky Gillam and I am a Kinesiology major here at San Diego State.  I am from Sacramento, California and chose San Diego for this great location and so that I could pursue a career in Physical Therapy.  My hobbies include going to the beach, hanging out with friends, and playing basketball. Welcome to my blog.

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