• The Truth Is Still the Truth

    As the academic year ends, it’s time for me to turn to revising Elements of Argument and The Structure of Argument. What do I have to keep in mind about argument in the headlines as I look ahead? Given the polit...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Arguing over Game of Thrones

    Who would have thought that an anachronistic coffee cup on the set of a television show would have outpaced a trade war with China as a news story? And that was even before the controversial penultimate episode of Gam...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • When the News IS the News

    President Trump’s condemnations of the press as the enemy of the people has linked him immediately in some minds with dictators who have stifled the press as a means of controlling the people. Today’s pres...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • The Challenge of Policy Claims

    We know what composition curricula looked like as far back as Aristotle’s time. Students were taught to present their compositions orally, but the compositions themselves, even that far back, were introduced in ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Electoral College Politics

    For many years the elimination of the Electoral College in the U. S. was considered a stale topic for research papers. Arguing that it should be abolished was an academic argument at best because no one really thought...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Vaccinations in the Headlines

    When he turned eighteen, Ethan Lindenberger sought advice about how to get vaccinated. The title of a Guardian article about him by Anna Almendrala sums up his situation: “‘God Knows How I’m Alive...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Fallacies of the Left and Right

    One of the most common logical fallacies in argumentation is the either/or fallacy. We see this fallacy a great deal these days because our two-party political system is as deeply entrenched as it has ever been, and e...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Coming to Terms

      On January 22, New York’s Democrat-controlled legislature passed and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a controversial Reproductive Health Act that has conservatives crying foul. Liberals and conserv...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • “Don’t Doubt What You See with Your Own Eyes”

      Laura Wagner, writing for the Concourse section of Deadspin, called her post about the Covington High School controversy in Washington “Don’t Doubt What You See with Your Own Eyes.” What we h...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Argument and Aesthetics

    All claims, whether of fact, value, or policy, are the thesis statements that arguments support. It may seem a bit counterintuitive that claims of fact need to be supported, but keep in mind that readers or listeners ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • When Reason Must Win

    In the recent powerful Paul Schrader film First Reformed, a young couple seek counseling from the minister of a tiny historic church in upstate New York, played by Ethan Hawke. The wife is expecting their first child,...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • The Year in Review

    Each year sees headlines that capture a wide range of political controversies and shape national discourse. The year drawing to a close, though, has been a banner year for controversy in a nation more divided than it ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Lending Authority to Argument

    During the last presidential campaign, many of us made the mistake of trusting what we read on social media. It was easy to pick up on a quote or a meme that said just exactly what we wished we had said and to pass it...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • No Common Ground on Different Planets

    Carl Rogers, for whom Rogerian argument is named, took a concept that worked in couples and small-group therapy and extended it to large groups, even nations. Rogerian therapy is based on nonconfrontational communicat...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • News and Nationalism

    The Global Opinions editor of the Washington Post, Karen Attiah, delayed publishing Jamal Khashoggi’s final column in hopes that they could edit it together, as had been their habit. It gradually became apparent...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • The Public Clash of Ideas

    Our students generally don’t remember a time when there were no twenty-four-hour news networks. They don’t remember when the news consisted of thirty minutes of local evening news and then thirty of nation...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • The Supreme Court as Subject of Argumentation

    David Leonhardt, opinion writer for the New York Times, recently wrote an editorial entitled “The Supreme Court Is Coming Apart.” That’s a claim, or the thesis for an argument. The more precise and l...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • What Assumptions Underlie Our Judgements?

    The recent decision by the Opinion Desk of the New York Times to publish anonymously an op-ed essay about the Trump presidency by a senior White House official was an unusual one. Readers were invited to submit questi...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Politicizing Death

    The recent disappearance of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts attracted national media attention. That in itself reflects the politicizing of crime coverage. Would the disappearance of a young woman of a different ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Bad Research Papers

    [This post was originally published on March 9, 2012.]   It’s research paper time in high schools and colleges across the country. I know about the high schools because my younger son is writing a research ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell