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That is, what you’re about to read is a guide to success on every ‘argumentative’ essay assignment you ever write (it is hoped).Please don’t hesitate to ask further questions if you are unsure of something.
Although it is offered as a guide, rather than as an official ‘how to’, it is intended to be generally applicable to every essay you ever have to write in every class that you ever take.
There’s nothing mysterious in any of the following – this description is a set of guidelines that you’ve all heard or seen before, though maybe not laid out in exactly this way.
Since the essays are short, you will want to be concise about this, perhaps by quoting explicit definitions offered by the philosopher you’re considering, or by a brief explanatory sentence.
The second part of your exegesis will focus on the specific aspect(s) of the argument that you’ve chosen to analyze.
Apart from describing the nature of the issue you’ll be addressing, your exegesis is also the point in which you want to DEFINE YOUR TERMS.
That is, you want to take the opportunity to define any ambiguous or unclear terms upon which you’ll be relying in your essay as those terms arise in your exegesis.
The second part of your exegesis will be more precise, a detailed account of the specific aspect of the argument you intend to either criticize or support, along with a detailed explanation of any terms that might come up that could be thought to have ambiguous or controversial meanings.
So if, for example, you’re doing an essay on whether Taylor’s materialism can effectively respond to Descartes’ argument for the distinction between mind and body, you’ll start the first part of the exegesis with a general explanation of Descartes’ argument for this distinction, followed by an explanation of Taylor’s materialism.
Before you can present your argument, you need to identify what your argument is going to be about.
That is, you need to do an exegesis, the second part of every argumentative essay.