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Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings


Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The unique collaborative effort of a professor of English and a professor of philosophy, Current Issues and Enduring Questions is a balanced and flexible book that provides the benefits of the authors dual expertise in effective persuasive writing and rigorous critical thinking.
Refined through eight widely adopted editions, it has been revised to address current student interests and trends in argument, research, and writing.  Its comprehensive coverage of classic and contemporary approaches to argument includes Aristotle, Toulmin, and a range of alternative views, making it an extraordinarily versatile text.
Readings on contemporary controversies (including environmental stewardship, student-teacher relationships, cyber bullying, and the limits of reproductive rights) and classical philosophical questions (such as How free is the will of the individual?) are sure to spark student interest and lively discussion and writing.  No other text and reader offers such an extensive resource for teaching argument.

About the Author

Sylvan Barnet, professor of English and former director of writing at Tufts University, is the most prolific and consistently successful college English textbook author in the country. His several texts on writing and his numerous anthologies for introductory composition and literature courses have remained leaders in their field through many editions.
Hugo Bedau, professor of philosophy at Tufts University, has served as chair of the philosophy department and chair of the universitys committee on College Writing. An internationally respected expert on the death penalty, and on moral, legal, and political philosophy, he has written or edited a number of books on these topics. He is the author of Thinking and Writing about Philosophy, Second Edition (Bedford/St. Martins).

Table of Contents

Part One     

Critical Thinking and Writing

1 Critical Thinking

Thinking about Drivers Licenses and Photographic Identification

Thinking About Another Issue Concerning Drivers Licenses: Imagination, Analysis, Evaluation

*Thinking about Student Evaluations of their Professors

*Idea Prompt: Visualizing Pros and Cons

Writing as a Way of Thinking

*Getting Ideas

*Idea Prompt:  Understanding Classical Topics

A Checklist for Critical Thinking

A Short Essay Illustrating Critical Thinking

*Harlan Coben, The Undercover Parent

*Letters of Response by Carol Weston, Jan Brotman, and Marissa Isaak

A Checklist for Evaluating Letters of Response

Examining Assumptions

A Checklist for Examining Assumptions

*Peter Cave, Should We Save the Jerboa?

Five Exercises in Critical Thinking

2 Critical Reading: Getting Started

Active Reading

Summarizing and Paraphrasing

A Note about Paraphrase and Plagiarism

Last Words (Almost) about Summarizing

Susan Jacoby, A First Amendment Junkie

Summarizing Jacoby, Paragraph by Paragraph

A Checklist for Getting Started
*Anya Kamenetz, Youre 16, Youre Beautiful and Youre a Voter

*Exercise:  Examining Paragraphs

*Letters of Response by Betty Agard, Robert Epstein, Delia McQuade Emmons, and Amanda Bergson-Shilcock

Gwen Wilde (student essay), Why the Pledge of Allegiance Should Be Revised
A Casebook for Critical Reading: Should Some Kinds of Speech be Censored?

Susan Brownmiller, Lets Put Pornography Back in the Closet

Charles R. Lawrence III, On Racist Speech

Derek Bok, Protecting Freedom of Expression on the Campus

*Andrew Keen, Douse the Online Flamers

*Thinking Further about Freedom of Expression, Cyberbullying, and Facebook

Exercise:  Letter to the Editor

3 Critical Reading: Getting Deeper into Arguments

Persuasion, Argument, Dispute

Reason versus Rationalization

Some Procedures in Argument


*Idea Prompt:  Ways to Give Definitions

A Checklist for Evaluation Statistical Evidence

Nonrational Appeals

Does All Writing Contain Arguments?

A Checklist for Analyzing an Argument

An Example: An Argument and a Look at the Writers Strategies

George F. Will, Being Green at Ben and Jerrys

George F. Wills Strategies

Arguments for Analysis

*Stanley Fish, When “Identity” Politics is Rational

*James Carroll, If Poison Gas Can Go, Why Not Nukes?

Gloria Jiménez (student essay), Against the Odds, and Against the Common Good

Anna Lisa Raya (student essay), Its Hard Enough Being Me

Ronald Takaki, The Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority

James Q. Wilson, Just Take Away Their Guns

Sally Satel, Deaths Waiting List

Letters of Response by Dorothy H. Hayes, Charles B. Fruit, and Michelle Goodwin

*Heather Rogers, Hiding in Plain Sight

4 Visual Rhetoric: Images as Arguments

Some Uses of Images

Appeals to the Eye

Are Some Images not Fit to be Shown?

*Politics and Pictures

Exercises: Thinking about Images

Reading Advertisements

A Checklist for Analyzing Images (Especially Advertisements)

Writing about a Political Cartoon

*Idea Prompt:  Analysis of a Political Cartoon

A Checklist for Analyzing Political Cartoons

Jackson Smith (student essay), Pledging Nothing?
Visuals as Aids to Clarity: Maps, Graphs, Tables, and Pie Charts

A Checklist for Charts and Graphs

A Note on Using Visuals in Your Own Paper

A Note on Formatting Your Paper: Document Design

Additional Images for Analysis

Nora Ephron, The Boston Photographs

Part Two

Critical Writing

5 Writing an Analysis of an Argument

Analyzing an Argument

*Idea Prompt:  Drawing Conclusions and Implying Proof

An Argument, Its Elements, and a Students Analysis of the Argument

Nicholas D. Kristof, For Environmental Balance, Pick Up a Rifle

Betsy Swinton (student essay), Tracking Kristof

An Analysis of the Students Analysis

A Checklist for Writing an Analysis of an Argument
Arguments for Analysis

Jeff Jacoby, Bring Back Flogging

Gerald Jones, Violent Media Is Good for Kids

Sunaura Taylor and Alexander Taylor, Is It Possible To Be a Conscientious Meat Eater?

Peter Singer, Animal Liberation

Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

6 Developing an Argument of Your Own

Planning, Drafting, and Revising an Argument

A Checklist for a Thesis Statement

A Checklist for Imagining an Audience

*Idea Prompt:  Using Transitions in Argument

A Checklist for Attending to the Needs of the Audience

Peer Review

A Peer Review Checklist for a Draft of an Argument

A Students Essay, from Rough Notes to Final Version

Emily Andrews, Why I Dont Spare “Spare Change”

The Essay Analyzed

7 Using Sources
Why Use Sources?

Choosing a Topic

Finding Material

Finding Quality Information on the Web

A Word about Wikipedia

Finding Articles Using Library Databases

Locating Books

Interviewing Peers and Local Authorities

Evaluating Your Sources

A Checklist for Evaluating Print Sources

Taking Notes

A Checklist for Evaluating Electronic Sources

A Note on Plagiarizing, Paraphrasing, and Using Common Knowledge

A Checklist for Avoiding Plagiarism

Compiling an Annotated Bibliography

Writing the Paper

Quoting from Sources

*Incorporating Your Reading into Your Thinking: The Art and Science of Synthesis

The Use and Abuse of Quotations

How to Quote

A Checklist for Using Quotations Rather than Summaries


*Idea Prompt:  Signal Phrases

A Note on Footnotes (and Endnotes)

MLA Format: Citations within the Text

MLA Format: The List of Works Cited

APA Format: Citations within the Text

APA Format: The List of References

A Checklist for Papers Using Sources

An Annotated Student Research Paper in MLA Format

Theresa Washington, Why Trials Should Not Be Televised

An Annotated Student Research Paper in APA Format

Laura Deveau, The Role of Spirituality and Religion in Mental Health

Part Three

Further Views on Argument

8 A Philosophers View: The Toulmin Model

The Claim




Modal Qualifiers


A Model Analysis Using the Toulmin Method
A Checklist for Using the Toulmin Method
Putting the Toulmin Method to Work: Responding to an Argument
Michael S. Dukakis and Daniel J. B. Mitchell, Raise Wages, Not Walls
Thinking with Toulmins Method

9 A Logicians View: Deduction, Induction, Fallacies




Fallacies of Ambiguity

Fallacies of Presumption

Fallacies of Relevance

A Checklist for Evaluating an Argument from a Logical Point of View
Exercise: Fallacies--Or Not?
Max Shulman, Love Is a Fallacy
10 A Moralists View: Ways of Thinking Ethically
Amoral Reasoning

Immoral Reasoning

Moral Reasoning: A Closer Look

Criteria for Moral Rules

A Checklist for Moral Reasoning

Peter Singer, Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Garret Hardin, Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor

Randy Cohen, Three Letters (to an Ethicist)

11 A Lawyers View: Steps toward Civic Literacy

Civil and Criminal Cases

Trial and Appeal

Decision and Opinion

Majority, Concurring, and Dissenting Opinions

Facts and Law

Balancing Interests

A Word of Caution

A Checklist for Analyzing Legal Arguments
A Casebook on the Law and Society: What Rights do the Constitution and the Bill of Rights Protect?

Byron R. White and John Paul Stevens, New Jersey v. T.L.O.

Harry Blackmun and William H. Rehnquist, Roe v. Wade

12 A Psychologists View: Rogerian Argument
Rogerian Argument: An Introduction
Carl R. Rogers, Communication: Its Blocking and Its Facilitation
A Checklist for Analyzing Rogerian Argument
*Edward O. Wilson, Letter to a Southern Baptist Minister

13 A Literary Critics View: Arguing about Literature


Judging (or Evaluating)


A Checklist for an Argument about Literature

Examples: Two Students Interpret Robert Frosts “Mending Wall”

Robert Frost, Mending Wall

Jonathan Deutsch, The Deluded Speaker in Frosts “Mending Wall”

Felicia Alonso, The Debate in Robert Frosts “Mending Wall”

Exercises: Reading a Poem and a Story

Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour

Thinking about the Effects of Literature

Plato, “The Greater Part of the Stories Current Today We Shall Have to Reject”

Thinking about Government Funding for the Arts

14 A Debaters View: Individual Oral Presentations and Debate

*Classroom Individual Oral Presentations

*Personal Appearance

*Forms of Delivery

*The Language of the Talk

*Pace of Speaking


*Audiovisual Aids

* A Checklist for an Oral Presentation

Formal Debates

Standard Debate Format

The Audience


The Talk

A Checklist for Preparing for a Debate


Part Four

Current Issues:  Occasions for Debate

Debates as an Aid to Thinking

A Checklist for Analyzing a Debate

*15 The Equal Rights Amendment: Is It Still Needed?

*Idella Moore, Yes

*Analyzing a Visual:  The Equal Rights Amendment

*Phyllis Schlafly, No

*16 Genetic Modification of Human Beings: Is It Acceptable?

*Ronald M. Green, Building Babies from the Genes Up

*Analyzing a Visual:  Human Genetic Modification

*Richard Hayes, Genetically Modified Humans? No Thanks

17 Obesity: Who Is Responsible for Our Weight?

Radley Balko, Are You Responsible for Your Own Weight?  Pro

Analyzing a Visual: Obesity

Kelly Brownell and Marion Nestle, Are You Responsible for Your Own Weight?  Con

*18 Racial Profiling: Should Airports Use It to Screen Passengers?

*Clifford S. Fishman, Yes, Racial Profiling Is Sometimes Acceptable

*Analyzing a Visual:  Airport Racial Profiling

*Jean Abinader, No, Racial Profiling Is Unacceptable

*19 Romantic Relationships between Faculty and Students: Should Colleges Prohibit Them?

*Paul R. Abramson, The Right to Romance: Why Universities Shouldnt Prohibit Relations Between Teachers and Students

*Analyzing a Visual:  Teacher-Student Relationships

*Duke University, Duke Universitys Policy on Consensual Relationships

20  Single-Sex Classrooms: Do They Offer Advantages?

*Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers, Differences Should Not Drive a Curriculum

*Analyzing a Visual:  Single-Sex Classrooms

*Sally Reed, Girls and Boys Thrive in Separate Classrooms

Part Five

Current Issues:  Casebooks

21 College Education: What Is Its Purpose?

Stanley Fish, Why We Built the Ivory Tower

David Brooks, “Moral Suicide,” À la Wolfe”

Letters of Response by Scott Bradley, Barry Oshry, Paul Cutrone, and Rebecca Chopp

Patrick Allitt, Should Undergraduates Specialize?

Letters of Response by Carol Geary Schneider and Ellis M. West

*Marty Nemko, Americas Most Overrated Product: The Bachelors Degree

*Charles Murray, Should the Obama Generation Drop Out?

*Letters of Response by Charles Axilbund, Jacques Jimenez, Jeff Adler, Lillian Hoodes, Larry Hoffner Sandra Sherman, and Michel Dedina,

Louis Menand, Re-imagining Liberal Education

22 The Death Penalty: Is It Ever Justified?

Edward I. Koch, Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life

David Bruck, The Death Penalty

George Ryan, Speech Announcing Commutation of All Illinois Prisoners Death Sentences

Gary Wills, The Dramaturgy of Death

Potter Stewart, Gregg v. Georgia

Harry Blackmun, Dissenting Opinion in Callins v. Collins

Helen Prejean, Executions Are Too Costly—Morally

Alex Kozinski and Sean Gallagher, For an Honest Death Penalty

23 Drugs: Should Their Sale and Use Be Legalized?

William J. Bennett, Drug Policy and the Intellectuals

James Q. Wilson, Against the Legalization of Drugs

Milton Friedman, Theres No Justice in the War on Drugs

Elliot Currie, Toward a Policy on Drugs

*24 Going Green:  What Must Be Done?

*Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris, How Green Was My Bottle

*Craig D. Rose, Here Comes the Sun

*Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like a Mountain

*Paul Bloom, Natural Happiness

*Bill McKibben, Now or Never

*Edward Abbey, Eco-Defense

25 Immigration: What Is To Be Done?

David Cole, Five Myths about Immigration

Barry R. Chiswick, The Worker Next Door

John Tierney, Angels in America

Victor David Hanson, Our Brave New World of Immigration

Cardinal Roger Mahony, Called by God to Help

26 Sexual Harassment: Is There Any Doubt about What It Is?

Tufts University, What Is Sexual Harassment?

Ellen Goodman, The Reasonable Woman Standard

Ellen Frankel Paul, Bared Buttocks and Federal Cases

Sarah J. McCarthy, Cultural Fascism

27 Marriage: What Is Its Future?

Thomas B. Stoddard, Gay Marriages: Make Them Legal

Lisa Schiffren, Gay Marriage, an Oxymoron

Ellen Goodman, Backward Logic in the Courts

*Jeff Jacoby, Lawful Incest May Be on Its Way

Marriage: A Portfolio of Cartoons

Diane Medved, The Case against Divorce

*Wendy Kaminer, Why Is Polygamy Illegal?

B. Aisha Lemu, In Defense of Polygamy

*28 Reproductive Rights: What Are the Limits?

Rush H. Limbaugh III, Condoms: the New Diploma

Analyzing a Visual: Sex Education

Anna Quindlen, A Pyrrhic Victory

Ellen Willis, Putting Women Back into the Abortion Debate 514

Randall A. Terry, The Abortion Clinic Shootings: Why? 521

*Sperm Harvesting: Is It Acceptable?

*Kathleen Nolan,  Live Sperm, Dead Bodies

*Cappy Miles Rothman, Commentary

*Judith Wilson Ross, Commentary

*29 Service: A Duty? A Benefit? Or Both, or Perhaps Neither?

*Barack Obama, Commencement Address

*Peter Levine, The Case for “Service”

*Andrew J.  Bacevich, The Failure of an All-Volunteer Military

*Anonymous, Rejecting the Draft

Letters of Response by Richard Roth, Christian Danielsen, Norman daniels, Samuel Z. Klausner, Per Halvorsen, and Jerry Wallingford

Dave Eggers, Serve or Fail

30 Testing: What Value Do Tests Have? Testing: What Values Do Tests Have?

Paul Goodman, A Proposal to Abolish Grading

Howard Gardner, Test for Aptitude, Not for Speed

Letters of Response by Thomas M. Johnson Jr., Garver Moore, Arnie Lichten, and Janet Rudolph

Diane Ravitch, In Defense of Testing

*Alfie Kohn, From Degrading to De-grading

Joy Alonso, Two Cheers for Examinations

31 Torture: Is It Ever Justifiable?

Michael Levin, The Case for Torture

Charles Krauthammer, The Truth about Torture

*Association for the Prevention of Torture, Defusing the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario

Part Six

Enduring Questions: Essays, A Story, Poems, and a Play

32 What Is the Ideal Society?

Thomas More, From Utopia

Niccolo Machiavelli, From The Prince

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream

W. H. Auden, The Unknown Citizen

Langston Hughes, Let America Be America Again

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

33 How Free Is the Will of the Individual within Society?

Thoughts about Free Will

Plato, Crito

George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

Walter T. Stace, Is Determinism Inconsistent with Free Will?

Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Stanley Milgram, The Perils of Obedience

*Peter Cave, Man or Sheep?

Thomas Hardy, The Man He Killed

T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Susan Glaspell, Trifles

Mitsuye Yamada, To the Lady

34 What Is Happiness?

Thoughts about Happiness, Ancient and Modern

*Daniel Gilbert, Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?

*Henry David Thoreau, Selections from Walden

Darrin M. McMahon, In Pursuit of Unhappiness

Epictetus, from The Handbook

Bertrand Russell, The Happy Life 

The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, Inner Contentment

C. S. Lewis, We have No “Right to Happiness”

Danielle Crittenden, About Love

Judy Brady, I Want a Wife

Index of Authors and Titles
Index of Terms
* new to this edition

Product Details

Barnet, Sylvan
Bedford Books
Bedau, Hugo
Composition & Creative Writing - General
Edition Description:
Ninth Edition
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
9.13 x 6.00 in

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