Monthly Archives: September 2012

Essay #2: Definition of Political Stance

Greetings, students.  This second essay is going to be a little more introspective than the last. You are going to define your political stance using any one of a number of labels.  Are you liberal?  Conservative? Radical? Reactionary? Pragmatic? Moderate? Apathetic?  What term best describes your political leanings and why?  Remember, this is you supporting your position through formal, operational (if you can) and example based definitions.  Set up your criteria for your position and show how you match that criteria.  You can also argue against a definition, say that you don’t fit the classical definition of anything.

Clearly identifying and delineating your terms can help clarify your own discussions and strengthen your own arguments.  Relying on verbal ambiguities, or even taking advantage of ambiguities in language is a sophist’s trick and may actually count as a logical fallacy.


  • 1500 words, typed, double spaced, stapled.
  • Word count at the end of the essay
  • at least three criteria for the political stance you’re defining
  • specific examples from the blogs, articles, and videos you use to support your definition
  • Discussion of your reaction to these examples and how they inform your political
  • if you choose apathy, you must defend your apathy with specific examples.
  • More than five paragraphs, organized logically with smooth transitions.
  • A strong thesis statement that declares your political position and lays out your criteria.

Rough Draft (3 copies) due

  • Sec 03: Wednesday, Oct 17
  • Sec 08: Thursday, Oct 18

Final Draft due

  • Sec 03: Wednesday, Nov 7
  • Sec 08: Thursday, Nov 8

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Office Hours

My new and improved office hours for this semester are as follows:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays, 9 – 10
  • Tuesdays, 10:30 – 11:30
  • Thursdays by appointment.

Prof. Peter


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Appeals to Ethos

Last Wednesday night, Bill Clinton rocked the house with his speech at the Democratic National Convention.  You don’t have to watch all fifty minutes of it, but watch at least ten or so, and watch the crowd’s reaction to him. Obviously they buy everything he’s selling.  Why?  Why do they find him credible?  Why might people not find him credible?  Do a google search for Clinton DNC speech to read criticism.

~Prof. Peter


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Appeals to Pathos

I want you to compare these two speeches, one by Ann Romney, wife of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and one by First Lady, Michelle Obama.  What do they make you feel?  Which one do you find more effective?

Do the same thing with these speeches from Clint Eastwood and Kal Penn.



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