Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies
Philosophical and Ethical Issues in the Mass Media
Professors Claudio Duran and
Assigned January 25, 2006
Due Wednesday March 1, by 7:15 p.m.
Choose two print advertisements (they must be print so that you can attach
copies) that are related in some way.
Using what you have learned about formal
logic and informal fallacies, and what you have learned about
argumentation and advertising, including all the materials we have
covered up through Week 20, with particular reference to the work
of Michael Gilbert and Multi-Modal Argumentation, write a 6 to 8 page essay that
analyzes the two advertisements you have chosen.
Submit your essay typed double-spaced
in not less than 11 point type, standard font, black print, with
1” inch margins all around, portrait orientation, single column -
in other words just a plain paper on plain white paper, stapled
not bound (use no covers). You should try not to go over 8 pages,
and you may, if you are a succinct writer, find that you can do
this in fewer than 6, but you should probably not write fewer than
As a fourth year student you are expected to
be be able to write a formal essay; part of your mark will be for
essay structure. If you need some review of what constitutes a formal essay, visit this
We also remind you that in this
course we want to hear what you think as well as what you have
learned from the works of others you have studied in this course.
You also can find in that same section a description of the
differences between these two kinds of input, in the terms used by dian marino, professor of Environmental Studies: the
"i" statement and the epistemological showdown. Be sure to use
both in your essay.
Some Hints on
Writing This Essay: from Tutorial Discussions:
Look closely at the paragraph
beginning with "Using what you have learned." Always, when writing
an assignment go through the actual assignment from the
professor(s) and underline or make a list of everything they
mention in the actual instructions that they want you to include.
When we are making up a list of things to give credit for, we will
usually start with this. A top paper would include at least some
reference to every item included there, to every topic we've
covered, to every unit, every speaker. If you believe that your ad
does not have something listed there (a fallacy? you think you've
found an ad without a fallacy? Call the Guinness Book of World
Records!) then state so in your paper, but be sure to mention it.
Unlike the midterm where Claudio worked hard to try to have only
one fallacy in each example, there most likely will be more than
one fallacy in an ad. Put particular emphasis on Michael Gilbert's
work, particularly on the four modes of Multi-Modal Argumentation.
You don't have to agree with the method; you do have to explore
SEMESTER ONE MATERIAL! I'm hearing in class and on
the email from too many people who are writing syllogisms that
don't make any sense! Remember the format:
All M are P
All S are M
Therefore all S are P
should refer in the first line to a more general statement about
products of this type, in the second line to your product, and
then the conclusion should say something about why the reader
should buy this particular product. There must be a solid line of
reasoning. There MUST BE that "All M are P, All S are M, therefore
all S are P" logic in the syllogism!
The ads only have to be
related in some way so that your essay will be easier for you to
write and so that it will flow better as an essay. Two years ago
we found when marking the essays that if a student had chosen two
totally unrelated ads, the essay tended to read as two unrelated
parts. Find some connection; it will make your essay a better
Remember Louise's advice not
to have the conclusion of your syllogisms "Buy this product." Yes,
ultimately the advertiser wants you to buy the product, but most
ads are more sophisticated than that. The ad usually makes an
argument with a conclusion that will eventually lead you to
realize that because of that conclusion you should buy the
product. Besides, it makes for much more interesting analysis if
you don't have as a conclusion to every ad the same conclusion:
Buy this product.