Portfolio Project

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Project Description:
Portfolio Project (350 Points)

For the Portfolio Project you will apply your reasoning and critical thinking skills to write an argumentative essay that analyzes the classic editorial, "Moral Instinct," by Steven Pinker and published in The New York Times (2008): http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?pagewanted=all

This assignment requires you to develop a position either in favor or against the theory of moral instinct as well as analyze all elements of this article, demonstrating that you understand the concepts learned in the course. Your analysis of "Moral Instinct” is designed to reference additional sources and demonstrate your progress in developing and applying reasoning and critical thinking skills. Be sure to apply and cite concepts, terms, techniques, and theories from at least four credible outside sources.

To complete your project, organize your paper per the sections below using the principles of writing a sound argumentative essay.

1. Introduction—Hypothesis and overview of the essay (approximately 1 to 2 pages)
This section should focus on using clear, concise writing to introduce your argumentative position based on the "Moral Instinct" editorial.

Your introductory hypothesis should demonstrate, in a brief statement, the logical, rational and strong reasoning skills applied in developing the premise of your essay.
There should be a brief summary and overview of what to expect in the body of the paper.

2. Body—Argumentative platform and analysis of "Moral Instinct" (approximately 4 to 5 pages)
This section of your Portfolio Project should be compelling and persuasive. Use the following bulleted items as guidelines for the body of the essay (not necessarily in this order):

You demonstrate understanding of the central thesis of the original editorial.
You analyze and demonstrate how to dissect elements of the original editorial by using inductive or deductive reasoning. Discuss the logic (or lack thereof) of the argument put forth in the editorial by describing the distinction among types of reasoning and the specific claims.
You are thoroughly able to identify and avoid fallacious information or other "dirty tricks" employed in rhetorical devices. What were the techniques used for persuading the reader? List all tactics (including "dirty tricks") by specifically identifying them.
You list up to 10 rhetorical devices that were used in the editorial.
You describe and analyze the use of bias and ethical thinking in the editorial.
You separate valid arguments from other devices and misleading information.
You describe how this editorial pertains or does not pertain to contemporary life.
You present credible information to refute or support the thesis you are presenting. Identify and describe how the theoretical concepts and skills learned about critical thinking are or are not embodied in the editorial.
Your position reflects your ability to think independently and make an informed judgment.

3. Recommendations—How the author of "Moral Instinct" could improve his reasoning (approximately 1 to 2 pages)
Provide any suggestions you would give to the author of "Moral Instinct" for improving his reasoning skills.

4. Conclusion—Critique and defend your position (approximately 1 to 2 pages)
Reflect on the position you took and prove a defense of the position. Also, critique your critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Then ask yourself, how and if your skills in evaluating information have changed. Your critique must include a self-analysis of your thinking skills after this 8-week course. You may wish to review what you wrote for the Module 1 Critical Thinking assignment.

The paper should cite at least three (3) outside sources, be 8-10 pages in length including a Reference page, and be formatted according to CSU-Global APA Guidelines. Refer to the Portfolio Project rubric for grading criteria.

Skills required:
Academic Writing, Report Writing, Technical Writing
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