What do you think is the difference between writing in high school and writing in college?
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We have already learned two important concepts:
- Writing Process
The third concept is the metaphor of the conversation. What we are studying now, has a long history. People have been writing and researching everything you can think of.
For example, the conversation on how to speak well goes back a couple thousand years to Aristotle, Plato, and others that came before.
Everything you will write about from now on, needs to be based in a conversation. A scholarly one, a scientific one, a popular one. To know what has been said before, you need to read and research.
Entering the Conversation
The introduction to the textbook, page 1, explains that the book relies on templates to help us do the basic moves of writing. The templates are guides that when used, help us to structure and generate our own writing. We will talk a lot about approaches to writing and how to think about writing, as well as use the templates provided, to help us practice the principles of writing.
It is true, of course, that critical thinking and writing go deeper than any set of linguistic formulas, requiring that you question assumptions, develop strong claims, offer supporting reasons and evidence, consider opposing arguments, and so on. But these deeper habits of thought cannot be put into practice unless you have a language for expressing them in clear, organized ways. (TSIS)
State your own ideas as a response to others. You are just entering a conversation that has been going on for thousands of years. You are not expected to know everything, but you are expected to begin to understand what others have said before and how to find it.
To argue means more than just stating your own position. To argue you need to enter into a conversation with others views. Then you can try to convince others of your position or just to see your position as valid.
Burke’s “Unending Conversation” Metaphor
Kenneth Burke writes:
Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.
Don’t Blame the Eater
You wrote a summary of the Zinczenko article for today’s journal.
In your own words, what is the Conversation?