Thinking Critically

A man sitting and thinking while looking at his laptop open.In a way, as you revise your argumentative essay, you’re coming full circle in the process of becoming a critical thinker and a rhetorically effective writer. Think again about Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric as the ability to observe the available means of persuasion in any situation. As you revise your essay, you are being asked to think critically in so many ways.

First, you are being asked to make sure you have applied good critical thinking skills as you composed your essay and engaged in the process you have learned here in the Excelsior OWL. Did you consider your audience? How so? What kinds of evidence do you use to support your argument? Is your evidence logical? Have you avoided logical fallacies?

At the same time, just the act of revising is a kind of critical thinking on its own. You are being asked to see your writing as someone else might. You have to move beyond your own knowledge and experience, at least as much as possible, in order to imagine something new to you—what your audience might think about your essay.

Having strong revising skills is no easy task, but it’s a good idea to review all of the lessons in the Argument & Critical Thinking area of the Excelsior OWL, as this will help you keep important lessons about effective argument in mind.

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