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Academic Arguments and the Meaning of Words

In his “Academic Arguments,” Fish argues that academic arguments are valued based on “originality” and appropriateness of the argument he or she is defending through “interpretive communities.” More specifically, he uses “Holocaust Deniers” to demonstrate an argument that is “perfectly legal,” yet it is absurd. For example he writes, “Although theoretically any topic is ripe for academic consideration and debate, some arguments do not make it into the arena.” In other words, while the academy is open to all topics for argumentation it is not mandated that every argument should be considered. In sum then, Fish suggests that academic arguments are scholarly arguments that require research and are able to be properly defended with an original thought. 

Curzan, What Makes a Word Real

While Curzan argues that the meaning of a word changes over time through people’s usage, Fish argues that the meaning of a word is based on what is and is not surrounding it.

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