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San Diego State University Phil439 Contemporary Philosophy Essay

Essay #2: Argumentative Writing 

Background: Part of this class is learning argumentative writing, to treat writing an essay like you are entering a debate. You must be able to reference what others have said about a subject and articulate why you agree or disagree with their arguments. In this essay you will practice engaging in debate with other texts. 

Assignment: Has the internet had a positive or negative effect on our society? Nicholas Carr’s essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” argues that the internet has a deteriorating effect on our psyche and our society. In David Wolman’s essay “The Critics Need a Reboot,” he repudiates this idea, arguing that people should be more embracing of new technologies. Where do you stand? Is the internet more of a help or a hindrance? Write an essay wherein you analyze and respond to both of these essays, telling me where you agree and/or disagree with the writers’ main arguments. Tell me where you stand in this debate over what kind of impact the internet has on our society. 

Expectations: Your essay will consist of the following elements: an original title, an introduction that defines and provides context for your topic, a clear thesis statement (this should tell me whether you think the internet has an overall positive or negative effect on our society), body paragraphs that engage in analysis of these two texts – do you agree, disagree, or agree to a point with the writers’ main arguments?, a conclusion paragraph to sum up your thoughts on the subject matter.

References:  Carr – “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”; Wolman – “The Critics Need a Reboot” 

Advice: Organize your essay into paragraphs summarizing and responding to these texts. One body paragraph might summarize Carr’s essay, and the next will analyze and explain how you feel about his argument -do you agree, disagree, or agree to a point? The next two paragraphs can do the same for Wolman’s essay. Make sure you explain why you agree or disagree with these writers’ arguments. Your conclusion paragraph will synthesize your sources and sum up your feelings on the subject. 

Purpose: Demonstrate your ability to engage in argumentative writing and respond to outside texts.

Audience and Style: Your audience is educated adults. Avoid slang, jargon, or overly informal writing


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