'Lazere's [book] is heaven-sent and will provide a crucial link in the chain of understanding how conflicts are structured and, most importantly, how they can be rationally addressed - a healthy antidote to the scepticism that has become so pervasive in academic life.' Alan Hausman, Hunter College This innovative book addresses the need for college students to develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills for self-defence in the contentious arena of American civic rhetoric. In a groundbreaking reconception of composition theory, it presents a comprehensive critical perspective on American public discourse and practical methods for its analysis. Exercises following the text sections and readings help students understand the ideological positions and rhetorical patterns that underlie opposing viewpoints in current controversies - such as the growing inequality of wealth in America and its impact on the finances of college students - as expressed in paired sets of readings from the political left and right. Widely debated issues of whether objectivity is possible and whether there is a liberal or conservative bias in news and entertainment media, as well as in education itself, are foregrounded as topics for rhetorical analysis.
"Lazere has given us a thoughtful, beautifully organized, and eminently user-friendly book that enables teachers to [give] their students a way in to some of the most important and contentious public controversies of our time."
--Gerald Graff, Professor of English and Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
"Don Lazere has produced one of the most intelligent, relevant, and important books in composition studies in the last decade. Give this to every student, adult, and citizen who believes that learning, writing, and democracy mutually inform each other."
--Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University
"What a smart book! Here is an intelligent rhetoric text that honestly faces the politics of our times. Writing teachers will benefit from the tools Lazere provides and students will benefit by becoming better writers and more informed readers of their society."
--Ira Shor, Professor of Education, CUNY Graduate Center
"Lazere's [text] is heaven-sent, and will provide a crucial link in the chain of understanding how conflicts are structured and, most important, how they can be rationally addressed-a healthy antidote to the skepticism that has become so pervasive in academic life."
--Alan Hausman, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College, CUNY
Acknowledgments Preface to Teachers (and Curious Students) PART I: INTRODUCTION Chapter 1: An Appeal to Students Chapter 2: What Is an Argument? What Is a Good Argument? Chapter 3: Definitions and Criteria of Critical Thinking Chapter 4: Writing Argumentative Papers PART II: ATTAINING AN OPEN MIND: CRITICAL THINKING AND ARGUMENTATIVE RHETORIC Chapter 5: Viewpoint, Bias, and Fairness: From Cocksure Ignorance to Thoughtful Uncertainty Chapter 6: Questioning Culturally Conditioned Assumptions and Ethnocentrism Chapter 7: Overgeneralization, Stereotyping, and Prejudice Chapter 8: Authoritarianism and Conformity, Rationalization and Compartmentalization Chapter 9: Semantics in Rhetoric and Critical Thinking Chapter 10: Avoiding Oversimplification and Recognizing Complexity Chapter 11: Some Key Terms in Logic and Argumentation Chapter 12: Logical and Rhetorical Fallacies Chapter 13: Causal Analysis Chapter 14: Uses and Misuses of Emotional Appeal PART III: THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT THE RHETORIC OF POLITICS AND MASS MEDIA Chapter 15: Thinking Critically About Political Rhetoric Chapter 16: Thinking Critically about Mass Media PART V: DECEPTION DETECTION Chapter 17: Special Interests, Conflict of Interest, Special Pleading Chapter 18: Varieties of Propaganda Chapter 19: Advertising and Hype PART VI: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER IN A LONG PAPER Chapter 20: A Case Study: The Rich, the Poor, and the Middle Class Chapter 21: Collecting and Evaluating Opposing Sources: Writing the Research Paper Chapter 22: Documentation Chapter 23: Research Resources Glossary of Rhetorical and Critical Thinking Terms Works Cited Index