Help refine my essay outline?

If this is inappropriate for the category, feel free to move/delete it.

This is an argumentative paper, so all the supporting details need to be persuasive. The thesis should show concession of some sort.
I've organized my supports as follows: communication, problem-solving, and physical (genetic, anatomical) evidence.

Prompt: "Can non-human animals think rationally?"

Here are my points so far (if you want the actual draft, see here)

Introductory Paragraph

  • Thesis: (add: "Although humans are scientifically proven to have higher mental faculties, animals are regardless...?) Animals are capable of rational thought because they have been reported to understand and use language on a basic level, exhibit problem-solving capacities, and have both genetic and anatomical evidence linking their behavior to that of humans’.

Support #1: There are documented examples of animals emulating characteristics that are similar to “higher-level” or “advanced” human behaviours.

  • Koko the gorilla, who learned sign language (expand on this)
  • Alex the parrot, who could hold basic but logical conversations with people

Support #2: *Animals show signs of problem-solving ...
Dogs have been proven to express jealousy.

  • They can resolve it in two ways: aggression and non-aggression.
  • Aggressive dogs tend to have more violent behavior, like snapping. Non-aggression involved more benign actions like pushing, shooing away the rival, and barking.

Other animals have been observed using tools for various purposes.

  • Crows raised in captivity figure out how to get insects out from a log using sticks as tools (chimpanzees do this too)
  • Alex the parrot could solve basic puzzles

Support #3: Though people try to debase others by using animal descriptors, the truth is animals are more like us than we think. If humans evolved from primates as Darwin implied, then wouldn't apes carry the same potential, if not possess the same ability, to think as a person would? In that line of thinking, what's to say animals with similar gene sequences don't have that same potential for rational thought?

  • Certain animals share genetic characteristics and/or anatomical features with humans in relation to rationality and the comprehension of language...
  • There are 51 genes involved with speech that are shared between humans and songbirds.
  • The Wernicke’s areas, which are associated with language, in primate brains are very large.
  • Animals have been reported to show and exhibit emotions. However, humans constantly classify these behaviors under different names in an effort to separate themselves as ‘the master race.’

Conclusion: Animals have much in common with humans, including language cognition, problem-solving skills, and genetic or physical qualities...

1 Answer
May 31, 2018

Start with some brainstorming about the story.
List whatever you know.
Organize notes into categories that relate to the prompt.

Decide 'what' you wish to discuss about each category and how they are related.

Use that 'general' relationship to form an opening paragraph.

something like:

In the story Nineteen Minutes, masks play an integral part in establishing .......

then write one sentence for each key point (paragraph) that will follow in the essay.

If your instructor did not specify length, assume 5 paragraphs,
1. opening (general discussion)
2-4 key points in detail average 4-6 sentences each
4. closing paragraph, summarizes concept overall