Argument at UC Berkeley

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Political Science

Field: Political Science
Interviewee: Professor Darren Zook

“A good written argument is something that provides convincing answer to a good question. It is necessary to look for questions no one has attempted to answer. Having a definitive question and an answer to that question is the key. Writing the introduction first and using it as an outline is helpful. Introductions allow us to set the tone and they become a guideline to constantly refer back to while writing. The power of editing cannot be stressed enough, quoting the Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez who said ‘what makes an author great is not what he writes but it is in knowing what to remove from what they have written so only the good stuff remains’…”

Field: Political Science
Interviewee: Professor Chris Ansell

“Are there any specific types of arguments that you find particularly convincing?”
“One type is the Disease Model, which draws an analogy of a public problem to a disease. Calling issues an “epidemic” that it is spreading implies that we should be on guard to protect to against it. Another is the Rights Based version. For example, people that are hungry and are poor might argue that having food is a right that everyone should have. Thirdly, Medicalization. It is similar to drawing an analogy to a disease, but Medicalization states that the issue is a medical problem and should be subject to medical treatment. For instance, obesity is medicalized.”

Recommended Model: Dahl, Robert A. A Preface to Democratic Theory. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2006. Print.