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Role Of Argument In A Liberal Arts Education - With A Free Essay Review

An argument is a collected series of statements to establish a definite proposition

-Monty Python

As a direct and intended consequence to the exposure of various subjects outside of their emphasis, students who pursue a liberal arts education benefit from broad learning. Because people are fairly capable of many interests and many talents, one will invariably find, in a class of writing students for example, students who are skilled in other fields such as mycology and music production. I began my college experience immersed in film studies. I enrolled in a program which required academic writing to analyze literature and film as well as creative writing to engage in the process of adaptation through short story and screenwriting. This experience has allowed me to discover writing as a primary pursuit and I now read omnivorously and focus the remainder of my education on academic and creative writing. Therefore, I have found, a liberal arts education allows students to become surprised by their learning. As college students find their individual pursuits and prepare to face the real world, they inevitably find pressing issues they feel obliged to defend. I have never been inclined to argument; my reticence suits me well. I have noted, however, argument’s seemly position in a liberal arts education. So I want to show precisely how argument fits in a liberal arts education.

Firstly, an argument—through a process of reasoning supported by logical evidence—is an attempt at persuasion for a particular conclusion. To defend or refute an argument one must be capable of proper judgment. Through a diversification of knowledge, a liberal arts education encourages intellectual independence. Students, by developing analytical skills, become empowered to develop individual values and opinions which typically transform throughout their education. Thus, while engaging in an argument, whether verbal or through text, a student is less likely to be swayed by the opposition; a student engaging in a debate will be more apt to use logical evidence, working with a well-constructed, fully-rounded argument; and—a more telling feature of a liberal arts education—a student may draw from various sources for the content of the argument. The more students take advantage of a liberal arts education and branch out in their studies, the more opportunity they have to create a stronger argument.



I don’t understand the purpose of the first paragraph here. I understand that it ought to introduce the question of the role of argument in a liberal arts education, but the paragraph presents a somewhat desultory list of ideas only loosely related to that question. I don’t know, for instance, why you are telling me that one might find students interested in music or mycology in a writing class, or why indeed you are telling me of your discovery of your interest in writing. The conclusion that the first part of the paragraph reaches (“a liberal arts education allows students to become surprised by their learning”) is an interesting comment, but it doesn’t seem to follow directly from what has gone before, nor lead directly into the question of the role of argument in a liberal arts education. You need to get more quickly to the point of the essay, especially when the essay is so short.

The same kind of problem affects the second paragraph. You begin with a definition of argument, and it is a reasonable definition, but it doesn’t serve any obvious purpose in your discussion of the topic of the essay. The same holds for the second sentence, in which you indicate what talent is needed “to defend or refute an argument.” Then, without transition, you move on to a completely different topic in the next sentence. From that point on, however, the organisation of your ideas improves.

Perhaps what you ought to do here (and what you seem in any case to be aiming for in the last few sentences of the essay) is to make an argument for the value of a liberal arts education in terms of the emphasis it places on learning the art of analysing and constructing arguments. Such an essay might have two parts: (1) how a liberal arts education emphasizes such learning; and (2) how such learning benefits students (and perhaps, also, culture or society). But whether you take that approach or not, you need to determine in advance exactly what you want to demonstrate. As a writer, you will then need to think carefully about how each paragraph, and how each sentence in each paragraph, contributes to task of demonstrating what you want to demonstrate.

Best, EJ.

P.S. Thanks for the Monthy Python reference. Being skeptical, I wasted a happy five minutes of my life on youtube confirming its authenticity.
Submitted by: desertingpupil

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