Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric Chapter 6


Chapter 6 of Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric is all about ways we employ faulty reasoning in our everyday lives. The chapter breaks into loose categories:

  • Loyalty
  • Prejudice
  • Pseudoscience
  • Rationalization
  • Wishful Thinking
  • Superstition

Your essay assignment is to choose one of these topics and develop an expository essay that:

  • Explains the topic and how it affects good reasoning,
  • Explores the many aspects of the topic, including ways that it hurts us and ways it may help us,
  • Tells us how or why we do this sort of reasoning error,
  • Uses evidence and examples—especially examples from your own life—of this sort of error in action,
  • And finally, tells us how we can avoid or minimize the reasoning error.


For this essay, you must research your topic first: what are the problems of reasoning irrationally, what are the benefits (there are some!), what can be done to minimize problems and maximize benefit?

Then, write a 6 to 7 page (not including the Works Cited page) essay about your topic in general and about specific experiences or examples from your own life (or the world around you) that illustrate the topic.

  • Your essay must include some research and have a minimum of three sources, properly cited in the text where quoted, summarized or paraphrased, and properly cited on the Works Cited page at the end of the essay.
  • Your essay must also integrate your personal experiences or observations:
    • For example, consider the topic of superstitions. Do you have any, or do you know of people who have them? Tell us about that (nicely) and how they affect your life or the lives of those people. You can do this with any of the topics.
  • The main point of the essay—what you are aiming to end with—is to tell us how to recognize and avoid bad reasoning and to encourage the kind of reasoning people should have in life.

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