Table of Contents

Week 02


Team A in Person; Team B via Zoom

  • Frost: Mending Wall
    • Discussion:
      • How is the question of knowledge or belief raised in this poem?
      • What can we infer about the speakers' and his neighbor's theory of knowledge?
      • How do these views complicate our appreciation of the supposed truism that 'good fences make good neighbors'.


Booth teams, F2F in the Great Hall (Whitmyer)

  • Haskins: Guide to Critical Thinking
    • Orienting questions - overview
    • Considering critical hindrances of various types
    • In small groups, discuss your Real world examples (groups)
    • Consider which example from your group best reflects a hinderance and would interesting to discuss and share with the class. (Simple and clear examples will work best)
    • Make quick notes about it (including a link).

Homework: Read and comment on David Antin. see text and annotation prompt in Perusall.


Davis 309 - Team B in Person; Team A via Zoom

* David Antin

  • Introduction: Antin and knowing. A “postmodern” perspective … | Format and genre of Antin's “talk pieces,” relationship to Socratic dialogue | contrast with what we might expect of a literary work | challenges to what are “conventions” of formal writing (mechanics, style) | Enlightenment ideas about reason, truth, knowability and progress | Modernism as a rupture; Postmodernism as a calling into question (skepticism) of all “master narratives”
  • Discussion:
    • How did the format of this text effect your processing of what you read?
    • Did it lead you to make certain judgments?
    • How do you relate Antin's perspective on truth and action with the perspective of William Clifford?
    • If this is a semi-serious (but also funny) talk on how we can know and choose, what do you make of the decision to focus on purchasing a mattress?

Homework: read the introduction in Stanley Fish (Winning Arguments).


Team A in Person; Team B via Zoom

  • Background on Stanley Fish (writer, literary critic, theorist, Law Prof and Dean)
  • Overview Discussion: An Argument About “argument”
    • What does the word normally make us think of? And how does Fish define it?
    • The introduction to this book is really a short, seven-paragraph essay.
    • Paragraph 2 asserts that there are many kinds of arguments.
      • What are the consequences of this view?
    • (GROUPS) Paragraphs 3 and 4 insist “argument is the medium we swim in” and it's “unavoidable” going on to explore why this might be so:
      • Why does he make this claim? How do you react? Is this pleasing? frightening? puzzling? obvious? radical?
    • (CLASS) paragraphs 5 and 6 explore objections (or resistances).
      • Why does Fish admit this point of view?
      • Does it help you understand? Does it make him more or less persuasive?
    • The conclusion is one sentence; discuss. (Would Fish like to hang out with Antin, Descartes, Clifford, or ….?)

Argument Clinic

Homework: For Tuesday (Mon = holiday), read chapter 1 in Fish (“Living in a World of Argument: Words Make the World,” pp. 5-47. Make notes in your book about questions you may have; respond to the following Fish-Prompt01 via Teams.