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ERIC Number: ED353608
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Anecdotia Ad Nauseum: An Argument Analysis of D'Souza's "Illiberal Education."
Shea, B. Christine
In his book, "Illiberal Education," Dinesh D'Souza dramatizes the transformation of American campuses and the academic revolution that is allegedly toppling traditional notions of Western civilization. However, many scholars are concerned that D'Souza'a collection of examples might leave readers with a false impression of the severity of problems on campuses, and an analysis of D'Souza's argument reveals that these concerns are not unwarranted. The primary method of his argument is extensive use of anecdote. The theory of anecdotal evidence is grounded in the discussion of the inductive generalization or arguments from example, and many writers on the subject maintain that although the use of examples to illustrate or support a point may be quite persuasive, arguments relying on this type of reasoning may not be cogent. Overuse of examples may lead to hasty generalizations, and despite D'Souza's elaborate claims for his work, his book does not illustrate what is real but instead seeks to create a reality. When the book is examined as an argument from example, it fails the cogency test and is not logically convincing, but does prove to be persuasive discourse, as reviews of the book have attested. In supporting his primary claim that there is indeed an academic revolution underway, D'Souza presents three "facts": changes in admissions policies in favor of minorities; the evaporation of core curricula; and the promotion of diversity and pluralism. Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence as offered fails to support these reasons. Further, D'Souza treats his claims as established facts that are widely accepted, which they are not. (Eighteen references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Book/Product Reviews
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A