Definition arguments set out criteria and then argue that whatever is being defined meets or does not meet those criteria. To develop your definition argument, you’ll need to engage in a two-step process. First, you must establish criteria for the category (or categories) you wish to define. For instance, you may want to argue that solitary confinement in prisons is (or is not) a form of torture. To do this, you need to establish criteria for placing “solitary confinement” in the category “torture.” What criteria could you use to classify something as torture? Second, you need to present evidence that the particular case in question meets (or doesn’t meet) the criteria. What evidence could you present to demonstrate that solitary confinement meets the criteria for the category “torture,” for instance? Where would you find this evidence (library resources, documentaries, etc.)? You must use the evidence you find to convince your audience that the criteria you’ve chosen are the best ones for your definition and that they apply to the contested case you are arguing. Essays should be 1250 words in length, use THREE sources appropriate to an academic argument, and follow standard formatting guidelines for MLA style (12pt. font, double-spaced, one-inch margins, etc.)
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