Sample Essay on Proposition: Calvin and Hobble

  • On Teaching:
    • From students’ perspective, teaching entails being helped to memorize facts for long enough to pass exams, after which what they are taught becomes redundant.
    • The argument is a proposition of fact: Propositions of facts are arguments that can be verified as either false or true (Class notes). The argument can be verified as true or false by conducting research on students’ opinions on teaching.



    1. On relying on experts
    • Views and opinions of experts or people who claim to be experts are true, and, therefore, need not be questioned because they are “experts”.
    • The above argument is a proposition of value: Propositions of value are arguments that can be evaluated and be judged by the audience as favorable or unfavorable (Class notes). In the above comic strip, the argument can be evaluated and judged on the basis of the explanation for why ice floats, as offered by the “expert”.


    1. On the First Amendment:
    • By allowing the Freedom of Expression of Ideas, the First amendment renders legal the dissemination of information and ideas that would be deemed harmful to certain sections of the society.
    • The above argument is a proposition of policy: Propositions of policy are arguments regarding whether someone should/shouldn’t do something (Class notes). The proposition identifies a weakness in the First Amendment, and argues that people should not be allowed to exploit the weakness to spread information and ideas that would cause harm.


    Que 3

    It is important to be able to identify an argument as fact, policy or value because it allows the speaker to put forth his/her argument in a more persuasive manner, and it also helps the audience evaluate the authenticity of the argument presented.