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In the course syllabus, why is flaw AFTER strengthen/weaken and not before?

drunkendoggydrunkendoggy Alum Member
edited September 2014 in General 10 karma
I am having a hard time whether I should follow the schedule. I assume (uh oh) that to be able to strengthen or weaken an answer, you must first be able to see a flaw with the argument. That is why I see it makes more sense to work on the flaw before strengthen/weaken. However, I am sure there is a reason why the syllabus is set up as is but I can't figure out why.


  • Will EdwardsWill Edwards Alum Member Inactive Sage
    175 karma
    Follow the curriculum. Strengthening and weakening questions have to do with support, flaw questions have to do with argument mechanics. You don't have to see a flaw to weaken or strengthen an argument.
  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    edited October 2014 6839 karma
    You actually do have to see the flaw to strengthen or weaken. Whether you do it consciously is one thing, but the fundamental idea there is simply not up for debate. If you don't know what's wrong with an argument, you have no basis for strengthening or weakening it because you don't know what's going on in the first place.

    It's JY's curriculum so I don't want to speculate on his reasoning. But, in my experience, there are arguments to be made for each approach. It's basically a debate between going with a student's intuition first versus going with abstract theory first. Strengthen/weaken is often easier for students to grasp because we're more used to making actual objections or defenses of any given argument than dealing in abstractions. On the flip side, you need to understand the abstract structure of an argument before you can truly understand strengthening and weakening.

    Honestly I don't think it makes a difference as long as both pieces are covered adequately, the lessons flow logically, and the connections are made at the appropriate times (all of which JY does a fine job of in his curriculum).
  • drunkendoggydrunkendoggy Alum Member
    10 karma
    thanks guys.
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