Thursday, January 18, 2007

Writers Block & Logic

MFA Candidate: It has been established that over 80 percent of writers who use amphetamine salts have a history of experiencing writers block at the peak of their careers. Such evidence would seem to prove that using amphetamine salts leads to writers block.

Professor: The phrase “Writer’s Block” would serve our purposes better if it carried a meaning more akin to “Butcher’s Block.” A Wrtier’s Block is such a slab upon which chopping and cutting of a text is performed. In other words, when a story, essay, or poem is on the “Writer’s Block,” it is going through the revision and editing stages of composition. Write on!

The Professor's reply to the student's argument relies on which one of the following argumentative strategies?

a) offering evidence suggesting that the statistics the student cites in support of his conclusion are inaccurate.

b) undermining the credibility of his conclusion by showing that it is a statement from which implausible consequences can be derived.

c) providing an example to show that not everything that induces writers block is counterproductive.

d) demonstrating that the student's line of reasoning is flawed because of the student's misguided use of the phrase Writer's Block.

e) calling into question the possibility of ever establishing causal connections between the statistics about amphetamine salt users and writers block.

(For those with superstitious dispositions, if you supply the correct answer in the comments, you are assured never to fall victim to the type of writers block the student discusses here; rather, you will always feel motivated to chop any unfinished piece of writing on The Writer's Block.)

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