Three Explanatory Propositions
If you have not read the following reading posted to the Critical Writing Readings folder on BlackBoard, then you should do so before proceeding. Explanatory Reasoning Analyze the assigned readings for this week. Consider the following: point, position, proposal, conclusion? What seems to be the purpose of the reading? Is to argue on behalf of something, explain something, confirm something? Solve a problem? Call an idea into question? Point to a problem heretofore unnoticed? evidence? Consider how the writer opens and closes the text: what do you think the main point of the opening is? The main point of the closing? Look at the overall organization of the text. Can you break it into chunks or blocks of reasoning? What is the main point of each of the chunks? Evaluate the readings in terms of key words.
Is there one word that seems central to the meaning of the text or to its argument? How does the writer define it? Consider a passage that you found particularly difficult due to particular terms or references used, or complexity of sentence construction. You might consider analyzing and looking up definitions sufficiently so that you can explain it to your colleagues not unlikely that at least some others did, as well. Make sure that you do not lapse into arguing with, or critiquing, the writer. Your job is to explain something related to the text. You are here being more of an objective, neutral analyst, not a critic or politician. Having analyzed the readings in this fashion, you are ready to explain many things about it. From this analysis, write three explanatory propositions.
An explanatory proposition sets out something that the writer intends to explain to an audience that is interested in learning more about the topic. You might, for example, explain how the reading is organized, or how the writer supports his proposition. Or you might choose to explain the meaning and use of a key term. Choose to explain something discussed in the readings that your readers (colleagues in this class) might appreciate learning more about. Consider three topics you might explain, based on the readings, and write a proposition for each.
Some examples of the form of explanatory propositions include: In X, the author All mammals share common traits. (keyword) The kinds of evidence marshaled on behalf of this argument range from x to y. The three authors share a common premise. Explanatory propositions are generally short and to the point so that the reader and writer both know exactly what is being explained. Note that an explanatory proposition sets out to explain, not to argue. Dictionaries, encyclopediae, instructions, directions, background information, overviews are all types of explanation.