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Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning David Zarefsky Teaching Company Great Courses Audio CD – Audiobook, 2001
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One will come away with a applicable skill in argumentation for any area of life. As a educator myself this has been an invaluable tool for me. In helping the Junior High and High school kids I tutor, on exposing/introducing them-on how to use argumentation- in a way that is a productive life skill.
These lectures will reward any level of participation by its viewers. Whether you choose just to watch the DVD's, or whether you choose to take notes on a computer or notebook and review them later, you can learn much about the practice of argumentation, argument organization, informal verses formal argumentation, common fallacies, and even more surprising to me, that fallacies aren't always actually wrong.
Even a casual viewing of these lectures will provide you with a greater understanding of how to argue, why we should argue, and even more important, how in fair argumentation all parties win, even the so-called loser of the argument, because positions are clarified, agreements can be reached, and greater understanding of the argued topic prevails.
These lectures also reward those who take careful notes, study and review, and generally treat this as if they were taking this course as a class, with a grade. From the teaching company, you can order a book that accompanies the DVD's, that contain Lecture outlines, to aid those in closer study.
Anybody who is interested in refining their informal reasoning processes, argumentation style and tactics, and learning to participate more fully in arguments among friends on any subject, whether religion, politics, economics, the nature of the universe or even the Pooh Perplex will be well rewarded for their efforts.
People who might not enjoy this course so much are those who are looking for a study of formal logic and deduction as opposed to informal, those who are looking for high-energy entertainment with lots of color and pizazz, and those who are very disturbed by the idea of disagreement and cannot separate critique of ideas from the critique of their person.
Those who have watched multiple Great Courses will rather recognize the set, with a few small variables, and the Teaching Company might well be advised to change up their set a little bit more, just for fun, but that is a very small niggle.
As you can probably tell from this review, my first viewing of this lecture series was casual and very rewarding. I am beginning the process of closely studying this course as if I were taking it, and finding that even more informative as well.
The title of the book my professor used was, "Everything's An Argument," and with all the topics swirling around informal debate today, everyone would be well-served to study this or a similar course. Nearly everything is an argument, and those who know the process gain argumentative advantage, as well as becoming better at analyzing the arguments and strategies of others.
If you want to go out and argue well, this course is for you!
As for the part about essays in my title I did use what I learned here to structure the analytical portion of my GRE. When the topics popped up on the screen I was able to quickly outline my arguments and then write about them. I ended up getting a 5 and know that I would have done much worse had I not listened to these courses.
Whether you're in business, education or just a citizen trying to cut through the political debates surrounding election issues, this course will help you determine the validity and strength of someone else's arguments and more effectively craft your own. Decidedly worth one's time and effort, this is another great offering from The Teaching Company!