Learning Skills

Representing
Complex Arguments


For General Education 110

Plato, The Allegory of the Cave and The Divided Line, from The Republic

For General Education 111

Confucius, The Analects
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Memorizing Complex Ideas   You've already done an exercise in which you try to represent complex arguments and complex ideas. But how do you commit complex arguments to memory? How do you take a complex and difficult text, such as Confucius, and reduce to a few principles that you can easily memorize and get to know. Since representing a complex idea or argument is similar to writing a study guide, it follows that you would proceed along the same lines. First, you need to identify the central problem or argument and then you need to identify all the parts of the argument and all the parts of each of these arguments. You then need to define the relationship between these parts and how they lead to the conclusion the argument arrives at. In other words, you need to produce a hierarchy of information in which subordinate ideas are clearly related to central ideas.


The Assignment

For General Education 111

   On this assignment, I want you to produce a study guide for Confucius' Analects and Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. In this study guide, I want you to identify the central argument and all the main arguments that are subordinate to this central argument. I want you to do this not as a summary but as an outline. Each subordinate argument should be summarized in a sentence and, if possible, associated with a concept, such as chün tzu or li . Make sure that your outline expresses as best you can your understanding of the relationships between the subordinate arguments.


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