In the Stomach of the Fish

As a service to those who will be starting their academic adventure in about a week, and to those who are confused by the great Writing: How it’s Done? dilemma, I hereby present my way of breaking down arguments.

At the right corner, you have Hegel and the dialectics. Thesis, anti-thesis, and then the blessed synthesis. What’s to remember visually? An upside-down fleur-de-lis, wheres in two ideas makes a stronger, better one. I won’t expand on that, because your professors will, over and over and over again. Trust me.

Then, in the left corner, comes another set of arguments, which represents what some scholars like to call “postmodern thinking”. Basically, a bunch of people looked around and thought: hey, where’s that flying car they’ve promised me? Are we “advanced” yet? And where’s the world peace? Nah, something’s all wrong here. Postmodern argument is a specific form of argument which ignores the usual dialectic structure, usually by claiming that the “thesis” and the “anti-thesis” are just the two sides of the same coin, which goes into the same pocket as it ever did, and that is why no real advancement has been made. The cons? Mostly in sociology, it’s explaining the obvious, because the visual imagery goes as this: a circle which starts at one point (a-la “you are here”), and do the home run all the way back to the same point. The pros? That circle sometimes creates an illuminating understanding, strong as a snowball which rolls down on a mountain. More cons? Some professors won’t ever accept that kind of argument.

What’s in common for both ways is that the more convincing you are, nevermind the system, you’ll get a higher grade. But it’s better to scout with your professors first about which kind of arguments he/she likes better. And as a rule of a thumb: if you managed to prove your argument in more than one way, I’d like to read you.

That’s all, folks, and good luck.


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