Contemporary & Classic Arguments A Portable Anthology

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-12-11
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


In response to requests for briefer and less expensive argument readers, Contemporary & Classic Arguments offers an ample selection of readings in a compact size for less than half the price of full size books. Contemporary & Classic Arguments is flexibly organized into two anthologies that model an extensive range of argumentative writing. Adapted from the best-selling full-size argument text/reader Current Issues & Enduring Questions, it offers two brief chapters on analyzing and writing arguments, a provocative selection of contemporary arguments and casebooks to engage students with some of today’s most pressing topics, and a collection of classic essays that provide time-tested models of effective argument. Like other volumes in the Bedford/St. Martin’s popular series of Portable Anthologies and Portable Guides, Contemporary & Classic Arguments offers the series’ trademark combination of high quality and great value for teachers of writing and their cost-conscious students.

Author Biography

Sylvan Barnet, professor of English and former director of writing at Tufts University, is the most prolific and consistently successful college English textbook author in the country. His several texts on writing and his numerous anthologies for introductory composition and literature courses have remained leaders in their field through many editions.
Hugo Bedau, professor of philosophy at Tufts University, has served as chair of the philosophy department and chair of the university’s committee on College Writing. An internationally respected expert on the death penalty, and on moral, legal, and political philosophy, he has written or edited a number of books on these topics. He is the author of Thinking and Writing about Philosophy, Second Edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s).

Table of Contents




What Is Argument?

Analyzing an Argument

     Examining the Author’s Thesis

     Examining the Author’s Purpose

     Examining the Author’s Methods

     Examining the Author’s Persona,

     Examining Persona and Intended Audience,

A Checklist for Analyzing an Author’s Audience

A Checklist for Analyzing a Text

An Argument, Its Elements, and a Student’s Analysis of the Argument

     *Nicholas D. Kristof, For Environmental Balance, Pick Up a Rifle

     *Betsy Swinton (student essay) , Tracking Kristof

An Analysis of the Student’s Analysis

A Checklist for Writing an Argument


Planning, Drafting, and Revising an Argument

Getting Ideas: Argument as an Instrument of Inquiry

The Thesis, or Main Point

A Checklist for a Thesis Statement

Imagining an Audience

The Audience as Collaborator

A Checklist for Imagining an Audience

The Title

The Opening Paragraphs

Organizing and Revising the Body of the Essay

The Ending

Two Uses of an Outline

A Checklist for Organizing an Argument

Tone and the Writer’s Persona

We, One, or I?

Avoiding Sexist Language

A Checklist for Attending to the Needs of the Audience

A Peer Review Checklist for a Draft of an Argument



*Mark Bittman, Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables

*Harlan Coben The Undercover Parent

*Alfred Edmond Jr., Why Asking For a Job Applicant’s Facebook Password Is Fair Game

*Nora Ephron, The Boston Photographs

*Gerard Jones, Violent Media Is Good for Kids

*Charles R. Lawrence III, On Racist Speech

*Jena McGregor, Military Women in Combat: Why Making It Official Matters

*James E. McWilliams, The Locavore Myth: Why Buying from Nearby Farmers Won’t Save the Planet

*Ronald Takaki, The Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority

*Sherry Turkle, The Flight From Conversation

*George F. Will, Being Green at Ben and Jerry’s

*James Q. Wilson, Just Take Away Their Guns


*4 College Education: What Is Its Purpose?

*Andrew Delbanco, Three Reasons College Still Matter

*Alina Tugend, Vocation or Exploration? Pondering the Purpose of College

*Mark Edmundson, Education’s Hungry Hearts

*Marty Nemko, America’s Most Overrated Product: The Bachelor’s Degree

5 The Death Penalty: Is It Ever Justified?

Edward I. Koch, Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life

David Bruck, The Death Penalty

Helen Prejean, Executions Are Too Costly—Morally

6 Drugs: Should Their Sale and Use Be Legalized?

William Bennett, Drug Policy and the Intellectuals

Milton Friedman, There’s No Justice in the War on Drugs

Elliott Currie, Toward a Policy on Drugs

*7 Facebook: How Has Social Networking Changed How We Relate to Others?

*Lauren Tarshis, Is Facebook Making You Mean?

*Steven Levy, Facebook Reset

*Jenna Wortham, It’s Not About You, Facebook. It’s About Us

*Josh Rose, How Social Media Is Having a Positive Impact On Our Culture

*8 Genetic Modification of Human Beings: Is It Acceptable?

*Ronald M. Green, Building Babies from the Genes Up

*Richard Hayes, Genetically Modified Humans? No Thanks

*9 Immigration: What Is To Be Done?

*David Cole, Five Myths about Immigration

*Barry R. Chiswick, The Worker Next Door

*John Tierney, Angels in America

*Victor David Hanson, Our Brave New World of Immigration

*10 Service: Should the United States Require Young People to Perform Public Service?

*Peter Levine, The Case for "Service"

*Thomas E. Ricks, Let’s Draft Our Kids

*Dave Eggers, Serve or Fail

*11 Student Loans: Should Some Indebtedness Be Forgiven?

*Robert Applebaum, Debate on Student Loan Debt Doesn’t Go Far Enough

*Kayla Webley, Is Forgiving Student Loan Debt a Good Idea?

*Justin Wolfer, Forgive Student Loans? Worst Idea Ever



Plato, Crito

Plato, The Myth of the Cave

Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

Virginia Woolf, Professions for Women

Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Judy Brady, I Want a Wife

Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Garrett Hardin, Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor



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