Posted: December 7th, 2022

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7.2.11 StudyExplore Essay Writing: Argument



This study sheet will help you to write a rough draft of the writing assignment that you will revise later on. Answer the following questions as you work through your study to build a strong and successful essay.

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Your Assignment:

Write an argument including a counterclaim from Garrett Hardin’s controversial essay “Lifeboat Ethics,” doing research of your own to find alternative solutions to the problems Hardin describes. 

Consider the following questions as you write your essay:

  • What is the central idea of Hardin’s text?
  • Where do you disagree with Hardin’s ideas, or find weaknesses in his claims, evidence, or reasoning?
  • If you had the chance to argue directly with Hardin, where would you start?
  • What evidence can you find that refutes Hardin’s claims and/or supports your own counterargument?
  • Do you have alternative ideas to share regarding how we should think about the problems Hardin focuses on?

1. What are the three main parts of Hardin’s essay “Lifeboat Ethics”?

2. What is the main point Hardin makes in each of these three sections of his essay?

3. What is the central idea or claim of Hardin’s essay? Write just one paragraph as if you were explaining to a classmate what this essay is essentially about.

4. Identify three of the counterclaims Hardin introduces within his essay.

5. Identify one or two arguments, pieces of evidence, or sections within Hardin’s essay that you strongly disagree with, or that you felt demonstrate weak arguments or faulty reasoning.

6. Choose one of the points of disagreement you have with Hardin as a starting point for your own counterargument. Write the first draft of the claim you’d like to make in your counterargument against Hardin’s essay. (Don’t worry, you’ll test this soon with evidence, so it might change a bit.)

7. As you research and find sources that discuss the topic you’re choosing to focus on, list three pieces of evidence that support the claim you’re making against Hardin’s essay.

8. Now it’s time to pull this all together. Draft an outline here that will guide you as you begin writing your counterargument. Be sure to include alternative solutions.

9. Does it look like your claim is still holding water? Once you test and adjust it based on the evidence you find in your research, draft an introduction paragraph that includes your claim.

10. As you research your topic and think about your counterargument against Hardin’s essay, can you identify one or two alternative solutions to the problems that Hardin is focusing on?

11. Draft a body paragraph for each key piece of evidence you have to counter Hardin’s argument.

12. Wrap your essay up with a conclusion paragraph that reminds readers of your point and leaves them with something to think about.

13. Finally, put your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion together into a complete essay.

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