Week 11 Discussion: What In The World?
The city has announced plans to raze the block between Birch Avenue and Pine, a space long abandoned and overgrown with shrubbery and vines, in favor of a new business complex. Opinions among city residents are mixed, though generally falling in one of two camps. Below are testimonial representations of each group.
- James is a devout environmentalist who believes natural resources must be preserved, even at the cost of potential socioeconomic growth. “Native Americans sustained their people for centuries by coexisting with the environment, not by fighting against it. Commerce is fleeting. Growth is an abstraction. Building this complex will eradicate one of the few green spaces left in the city, and for what?”
- Sarah is an industrialist who supports the district’s new plan. “Construction projects such as this provide us with a unique opportunity. They enable us to stand in the present and see the future. The building of this complex alone will create 200 new jobs and over 300 upon completion as new businesses begin opening their doors. Sure, trees are pretty to look at, but when’s the last time one offered you a job or put food on your table?”
- How well do you feel each person’s perspective sustains the reasoning offered to support his or her views?
- Do you believe James and Sarah each present a rational viewpoint? How might you distinguish between a viewpoint that is rational and one that is not rational?
- On what grounds might you interpret one perspective to be unreasonable?
- Are their arguments organized? Focused? How did this affect their statements?
- How important is focus and organization during the decision-making process? Based on the aforementioned testimonials, which do you believe is the most organized? How does that influence your opinion of them?
- What, if anything, is faulty about the views presented? How could they be made better?
- Which side of this argument do you favor? How did the presentation of this argument influence your decision?