Current Issues and Enduring Questions : A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings

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  • Edition: 9th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-07-01
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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The unique collaborative effort of a professor of English and a professor of philosophy, Current Issues and Enduring Questions is a balanced and flexible textbook that provides the benefits of the authors’ dual expertise in effective persuasive writing and rigorous critical thinking.

Refined through eight widely adopted editions, it has been revised to address current student interests and trends in argument, research, and writing. Its comprehensive coverage of classic and contemporary approaches to argument includes Aristotle, Toulmin, and a range of alternative views, making it an extraordinarily versatile text.

Readings on contemporary controversies (including environmental stewardship, student-teacher relationships, cyber bullying, and the limits of reproductive rights) and classical philosophical questions (such as How free is the will of the individual?) are sure to spark student interest and lively discussion and writing. No other text and reader offers such an extensive resource for teaching argument.

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

Part One     
Critical Thinking and Writing

1 Critical Thinking
Thinking about Drivers’ Licenses and Photographic Identification
Thinking About Another Issue Concerning Drivers’ Licenses: Imagination, Analysis, Evaluation
*Thinking about Student Evaluations of their Professors
*Idea Prompt: Visualizing Pros and Cons
Writing as a Way of Thinking
*Getting Ideas
*Idea Prompt:  Understanding Classical Topics
A Checklist for Critical Thinking
A Short Essay Illustrating Critical Thinking
*Harlan Coben, The Undercover Parent
*Letters of Response by Carol Weston, Jan Brotman, and Marissa Isaak
A Checklist for Evaluating Letters of Response
Examining Assumptions
A Checklist for Examining Assumptions
*Peter Cave, Should We Save the Jerboa?
Five Exercises in Critical Thinking

2 Critical Reading: Getting Started
Active Reading
Summarizing and Paraphrasing
A Note about Paraphrase and Plagiarism
Last Words (Almost) about Summarizing
Susan Jacoby, A First Amendment Junkie
Summarizing Jacoby, Paragraph by Paragraph
A Checklist for Getting Started
*Anya Kamenetz, You’re 16, You’re Beautiful and You’re a Voter
*Exercise:  Examining Paragraphs
*Letters of Response by Betty Agard, Robert Epstein, Delia McQuade Emmons, and Amanda Bergson-Shilcock
Gwen Wilde (student essay), Why the Pledge of Allegiance Should Be Revised
A Casebook for Critical Reading: Should Some Kinds of Speech be Censored?
Susan Brownmiller, Let’s Put Pornography Back in the Closet
Charles R. Lawrence III, On Racist Speech
Derek Bok, Protecting Freedom of Expression on the Campus
*Andrew Keen, Douse the Online Flamers
*Thinking Further about Freedom of Expression, Cyberbullying, and Facebook
Exercise:  Letter to the Editor

3 Critical Reading: Getting Deeper into Arguments
Persuasion, Argument, Dispute
Reason versus Rationalization
Some Procedures in Argument
*Idea Prompt:  Ways to Give Definitions
A Checklist for Evaluation Statistical Evidence
Nonrational Appeals
Does All Writing Contain Arguments?
A Checklist for Analyzing an Argument
An Example: An Argument and a Look at the Writer’s Strategies
George F. Will, Being Green at Ben and Jerry’s
George F. Will’s Strategies
Arguments for Analysis
*Stanley Fish, When “Identity” Politics is Rational
*James Carroll, If Poison Gas Can Go, Why Not Nukes?
Gloria Jiménez (student essay), Against the Odds, and Against the Common Good
Anna Lisa Raya (student essay), It’s Hard Enough Being Me
Ronald Takaki, The Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority
James Q. Wilson, Just Take Away Their Guns
Sally Satel, Death’s Waiting List
Letters of Response by Dorothy H. Hayes, Charles B. Fruit, and Michelle Goodwin
*Heather Rogers, Hiding in Plain Sight

4 Visual Rhetoric: Images as Arguments
Some Uses of Images
Appeals to the Eye
Are Some Images not Fit to be Shown?
*Politics and Pictures
Exercises: Thinking about Images
Reading Advertisements
A Checklist for Analyzing Images (Especially Advertisements)
Writing about a Political Cartoon
*Idea Prompt:  Analysis of a Political Cartoon
A Checklist for Analyzing Political Cartoons
Jackson Smith (student essay), Pledging Nothing?
Visuals as Aids to Clarity: Maps, Graphs, Tables, and Pie Charts
A Checklist for Charts and Graphs
A Note on Using Visuals in Your Own Paper
A Note on Formatting Your Paper: Document Design
Additional Images for Analysis
Nora Ephron, The Boston Photographs

Part Two
Critical Writing

5 Writing an Analysis of an Argument
Analyzing an Argument
*Idea Prompt:  Drawing Conclusions and Implying Proof
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 Analysis of an Argument
Arguments for Analysis
Jeff Jacoby, Bring Back Flogging
Gerald Jones, Violent Media Is Good for Kids
Sunaura Taylor and Alexander Taylor, Is It Possible To Be a Conscientious Meat Eater?
Peter Singer, Animal Liberation
Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

6 Developing an Argument of Your Own
Planning, Drafting, and Revising an Argument
A Checklist for a Thesis Statement
A Checklist for Imagining an Audience
*Idea Prompt:  Using Transitions in Argument
A Checklist for Attending to the Needs of the Audience
Peer Review
A Peer Review Checklist for a Draft of an Argument
A Student’s Essay, from Rough Notes to Final Version
Emily Andrews, Why I Don’t Spare “Spare Change”
The Essay Analyzed
7 Using Sources
Why Use Sources?
Choosing a Topic
Finding Material
Finding Quality Information on the Web
A Word about Wikipedia
Finding Articles Using Library Databases
Locating Books
Interviewing Peers and Local Authorities
Evaluating Your Sources
A Checklist for Evaluating Print Sources
Taking Notes
A Checklist for Evaluating Electronic Sources
A Note on Plagiarizing, Paraphrasing, and Using Common Knowledge
A Checklist for Avoiding Plagiarism
Compiling an Annotated Bibliography
Writing the Paper
Quoting from Sources
*Incorporating Your Reading into Your Thinking: The Art and Science of Synthesis
The Use and Abuse of Quotations
How to Quote
A Checklist for Using Quotations Rather than Summaries
*Idea Prompt:  Signal Phrases
A Note on Footnotes (and Endnotes)
MLA Format: Citations within the Text
MLA Format: The List of Works Cited
APA Format: Citations within the Text
APA Format: The List of References
A Checklist for Papers Using Sources
An Annotated Student Research Paper in MLA Format
Theresa Washington, Why Trials Should Not Be Televised
An Annotated Student Research Paper in APA Format
Laura Deveau, The Role of Spirituality and Religion in Mental Health
Part Three
Further Views on Argument

8 A Philosopher’s View: The Toulmin Model
The Claim
Modal Qualifiers
A Model Analysis Using the Toulmin Method
A Checklist for Using the Toulmin Method
Putting the Toulmin Method to Work: Responding to an Argument
Michael S. Dukakis and Daniel J. B. Mitchell, Raise Wages, Not Walls
Thinking with Toulmin’s Method

9 A Logician’s View: Deduction, Induction, Fallacies
Fallacies of Ambiguity
Fallacies of Presumption
Fallacies of Relevance
A Checklist for Evaluating an Argument from a Logical Point of View
Exercise: Fallacies--Or Not?
Max Shulman, Love Is a Fallacy
10 A Moralist’s View: Ways of Thinking Ethically
Amoral Reasoning
Immoral Reasoning
Moral Reasoning: A Closer Look
Criteria for Moral Rules
A Checklist for Moral Reasoning
Peter Singer, Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Garret Hardin, Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor
Randy Cohen, Three Letters (to an Ethicist)

11 A Lawyer’s View: Steps toward Civic Literacy
Civil and Criminal Cases
Trial and Appeal
Decision and Opinion
Majority, Concurring, and Dissenting Opinions
Facts and Law
Balancing Interests
A Word of Caution
A Checklist for Analyzing Legal Arguments
A Casebook on the Law and Society: What Rights do the Constitution and the Bill of Rights Protect?
Byron R. White and John Paul Stevens, New Jersey v. T.L.O.
Harry Blackmun and William H. Rehnquist, Roe v. Wade
12 A Psychologist’s View: Rogerian Argument
Rogerian Argument: An Introduction
Carl R. Rogers, Communication: Its Blocking and Its Facilitation
A Checklist for Analyzing Rogerian Argument
*Edward O. Wilson, Letter to a Southern Baptist Minister

13 A Literary Critic’s View: Arguing about Literature
Judging (or Evaluating)
A Checklist for an Argument about Literature
Examples: Two Students Interpret Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”
Robert Frost, Mending Wall
Jonathan Deutsch, The Deluded Speaker in Frost’s “Mending Wall”
Felicia Alonso, The Debate in Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”
Exercises: Reading a Poem and a Story
Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress
Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour
Thinking about the Effects of Literature
Plato, “The Greater Part of the Stories Current Today We Shall Have to Reject”
Thinking about Government Funding for the Arts

14 A Debater’s View: Individual Oral Presentations and Debate
*Classroom Individual Oral Presentations
*Personal Appearance
*Forms of Delivery
*The Language of the Talk
*Pace of Speaking
*Audiovisual Aids
* A Checklist for an Oral Presentation
Formal Debates
Standard Debate Format
The Audience
The Talk
A Checklist for Preparing for a Debate

Part Four
Current Issues:  Occasions for Debate
Debates as an Aid to Thinking
A Checklist for Analyzing a Debate

*15 The Equal Rights Amendment: Is It Still Needed?
*Idella Moore, Yes
*Analyzing a Visual:  The Equal Rights Amendment
*Phyllis Schlafly, No

*16 Genetic Modification of Human Beings: Is It Acceptable?
*Ronald M. Green, Building Babies from the Genes Up
*Analyzing a Visual:  Human Genetic Modification
*Richard Hayes, Genetically Modified Humans? No Thanks
17 Obesity: Who Is Responsible for Our Weight?
Radley Balko, Are You Responsible for Your Own Weight?  Pro
Analyzing a Visual: Obesity
Kelly Brownell and Marion Nestle, Are You Responsible for Your Own Weight?  Con

*18 Racial Profiling: Should Airports Use It to Screen Passengers?
*Clifford S. Fishman, Yes, Racial Profiling Is Sometimes Acceptable
*Analyzing a Visual:  Airport Racial Profiling
*Jean Abinader, No, Racial Profiling Is Unacceptable

*19 Romantic Relationships between Faculty and Students: Should Colleges Prohibit Them?
*Paul R. Abramson, The Right to Romance: Why Universities Shouldn’t Prohibit Relations Between Teachers and Students
*Analyzing a Visual:  Teacher-Student Relationships
*Duke University, Duke University’s Policy on Consensual Relationships
20  Single-Sex Classrooms: Do They Offer Advantages?
*Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers, Differences Should Not Drive a Curriculum
*Analyzing a Visual:  Single-Sex Classrooms
*Sally Reed, Girls and Boys Thrive in Separate Classrooms
Part Five
Current Issues:  Casebooks

21 College Education: What Is Its Purpose?
Stanley Fish, Why We Built the Ivory Tower
David Brooks, “Moral Suicide,” À la Wolfe”
Letters of Response by Scott Bradley, Barry Oshry, Paul Cutrone, and Rebecca Chopp
Patrick Allitt, Should Undergraduates Specialize?
Letters of Response by Carol Geary Schneider and Ellis M. West
*Marty Nemko, America’s Most Overrated Product: The Bachelor’s Degree
*Charles Murray, Should the Obama Generation Drop Out?
*Letters of Response by Charles Axilbund, Jacques Jimenez, Jeff Adler, Lillian Hoodes, Larry Hoffner Sandra Sherman, and Michel Dedina,
Louis Menand, Re-imagining Liberal Education

22 The Death Penalty: Is It Ever Justified?
Edward I. Koch, Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life
David Bruck, The Death Penalty
George Ryan, Speech Announcing Commutation of All Illinois Prisoners’ Death Sentences
Gary Wills, The Dramaturgy of Death
Potter Stewart, Gregg v. Georgia
Harry Blackmun, Dissenting Opinion in Callins v. Collins
Helen Prejean, Executions Are Too Costly—Morally
Alex Kozinski and Sean Gallagher, For an Honest Death Penalty
23 Drugs: Should Their Sale and Use Be Legalized?
William J. Bennett, Drug Policy and the Intellectuals
James Q. Wilson, Against the Legalization of Drugs
Milton Friedman, There’s No Justice in the War on Drugs
Elliot Currie, Toward a Policy on Drugs
*24 Going Green:  What Must Be Done?
*Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris, How Green Was My Bottle
*Craig D. Rose, Here Comes the Sun
*Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like a Mountain
*Paul Bloom, Natural Happiness
*Bill McKibben, Now or Never
*Edward Abbey, Eco-Defense
25 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
Cardinal Roger Mahony, Called by God to Help
26 Sexual Harassment: Is There Any Doubt about What It Is?
Tufts University, What Is Sexual Harassment?
Ellen Goodman, The Reasonable Woman Standard
Ellen Frankel Paul, Bared Buttocks and Federal Cases
Sarah J. McCarthy, Cultural Fascism
27 Marriage: What Is Its Future?
Thomas B. Stoddard, Gay Marriages: Make Them Legal
Lisa Schiffren, Gay Marriage, an Oxymoron
Ellen Goodman, Backward Logic in the Courts
*Jeff Jacoby, Lawful Incest May Be on Its Way
Marriage: A Portfolio of Cartoons
Diane Medved, The Case against Divorce
*Wendy Kaminer, Why Is Polygamy Illegal?
B. Aisha Lemu, In Defense of Polygamy
*28 Reproductive Rights: What Are the Limits?
Rush H. Limbaugh III, Condoms: the New Diploma
Analyzing a Visual: Sex Education
Anna Quindlen, A Pyrrhic Victory
Ellen Willis, Putting Women Back into the Abortion Debate 514
Randall A. Terry, The Abortion Clinic Shootings: Why? 521
*Sperm Harvesting: Is It Acceptable?
*Kathleen Nolan,  Live Sperm, Dead Bodies
*Cappy Miles Rothman, Commentary
*Judith Wilson Ross, Commentary

*29 Service: A Duty? A Benefit? Or Both, or Perhaps Neither?
*Barack Obama, Commencement Address
*Peter Levine, The Case for “Service”
*Andrew J.  Bacevich, The Failure of an All-Volunteer Military
*Anonymous, Rejecting the Draft
Letters of Response by Richard Roth, Christian Danielsen, Norman daniels, Samuel Z. Klausner, Per Halvorsen, and Jerry Wallingford
Dave Eggers, Serve or Fail
30 Testing: What Value Do Tests Have? Testing: What Values Do Tests Have?
Paul Goodman, A Proposal to Abolish Grading
Howard Gardner, Test for Aptitude, Not for Speed
Letters of Response by Thomas M. Johnson Jr., Garver Moore, Arnie Lichten, and Janet Rudolph
Diane Ravitch, In Defense of Testing
*Alfie Kohn, From Degrading to De-grading
Joy Alonso, Two Cheers for Examinations

31 Torture: Is It Ever Justifiable?
Michael Levin, The Case for Torture
Charles Krauthammer, The Truth about Torture
*Association for the Prevention of Torture, Defusing the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario

Part Six
Enduring Questions: Essays, A Story, Poems, and a Play
32 What Is the Ideal Society?
Thomas More, From Utopia
Niccolo Machiavelli, From The Prince
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions
Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream
W. H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen
Langston Hughes, Let America Be America Again
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
33 How Free Is the Will of the Individual within Society?
Thoughts about Free Will
Plato, Crito
George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant
Walter T. Stace, Is Determinism Inconsistent with Free Will?
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
Stanley Milgram, The Perils of Obedience
*Peter Cave, Man or Sheep?
Thomas Hardy, The Man He Killed
T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Susan Glaspell, Trifles
Mitsuye Yamada, To the Lady
34 What Is Happiness?
Thoughts about Happiness, Ancient and Modern
*Daniel Gilbert, Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?
*Henry David Thoreau, Selections from Walden
Darrin M. McMahon, In Pursuit of Unhappiness
Epictetus, from The Handbook
Bertrand Russell, The Happy Life 
The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, Inner Contentment
C. S. Lewis, We have No “Right to Happiness”
Danielle Crittenden, About Love
Judy Brady, I Want a Wife
Index of Authors and Titles
Index of Terms
* new to this edition

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The best textbook I've ever read. April 8, 2011
As I approach the end of the semester, I'm more and more unhappy with this rental textbook as a reader for my argumentative writing class. The sections that were written by the authors are truly painful to read, not just for my students but for me as well. There are a lot of excellent essays included, but the way the book is structured it's confusing to assign only the ones I want students to read, so I end up assigning whole chapters, and then I have to figure out how to use the extra material so that my students don't feel they've wasted their time.
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