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GRE Argument Essay: Crust Copper Mining - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: ‘The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a journal on environmental issues. "Over the past year, the Crust Copper Company (CCC) has purchased over 10,000 square miles of land in the tropical nation of West Fredonia. Mining copper on this land will inevitably result in pollution and, since West Fredonia is the home of several endangered animal species, in environmental disaster. But such disasters can be prevented if consumers simply refuse to purchase products that are made with CCC's copper unless the company abandons its mining plans." Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.’
First of all, the author suggests that boycotting the Crust copper company’s copper products can force the company abandons its mining plan, and prevent the environmental disaster in the tropical nation of West Fredonia. However, this suggestion only makes sense on the basis of the assumption that the Crust copper company will actually use the land they bought in tropical nation of West Fredonia for mining copper. In the statement, the author does not provide any evidence to show that the CCC has decided to use the land for mining copper. It is possible that the CCC company purchased that land for other use instead of mining copper. If the CCC company purchased the land in the tropical nation of West Fredonia for other use such as building new research labs, then, the assumption would be proved unwarranted; thus, there would not be any mining related problems at all. After all, there would be no grounds for the suggestion.
Secondly, if the CCC company indeed decides to use the land for mining copper, the author concludes that mining copper on that land will inevitably result in pollution, threaten local endangered animal speices, and further lead to environmental disaster. Since mining copper can results in pollution, the author necessarily assumes that mining copper is the only factor that could contribute to environmental disaster. However, it is possible other factors can potentially threaten these endangered animal species, for instance, climate change, floods or other natural environmental factors which have nothing to do with mining copper. If the assumption that mining copper leads to the environmental disaster proves unwarranted, and it is the climate change that results in the extinction of endangered species, then the conclusion concerning the impact of mining copper on environmental disaster would be false, and this can weaken the author’s argument.
Overall, in order to evaluate the validity of the author’s suggestion, we need to address these assumptions first, including making sure the CCC company is going to use the land in the tropical nation of West Fredonia for mining, and mining copper is the only factor that results in the environmental disaster and threatens local endangered species.
Your first argument is reasonable. I would just add that the author of the letter also assumes that, in the event of pollution-producing mining taking place, the pollution will reach whatever endangered animals inhabit West Fredonia. To address the larger issue of what the instructions require of your essay, however, let me focus on your second argument. The author of the journal claims that mining copper will result in pollution. You claim that the author also assumes that "mining copper is the only factor that could contribute to environmental disaster." That is actually more or less true, I think, but you don't adequately explain why you think that is an assumption of the argument, which you are required to do by the prompt. To explain why, you need to note that the author also assumes that boycotting CCC will prevent mining, and claims that the boycott in turn will prevent the environmental disaster. It would only certainly prevent disaster if mining copper were a necessary factor in the production of an environmental disaster (I think this is a more accurate way of articulating the assumption). So you need to explain in some such fashion how the argument depends on the assumption. You also need to specify the impact on the argument should the assumption prove unwarranted. In this regard, you say "this can weaken the author's argument." That is too vague. You need something more specific: "if the assumption proves unwarranted, and endangered species are threatened by something other than pollution from mining, then boycotting the company may not prevent an environmental disaster."