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Seeking Common Cause is a reader that defines argument as creating credibility. The authors encourage careful examination of writers' multiple perspectives and various strategies for drawing readers in. These strategies are what help readers see what the writer sees, and share views that they did not expect to share. The book emphasizes a form of argument in which writers synthesize points of view rather than polarize them. The authors aim to teach critical reading through empathy and belief rather than through disbelief and quick dismissal. For that reason, they rely less on legal logic--analysis through claim, evidence, and warrant--than on writing strategies for bringing about mutual consent.
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Lisa Gerrard is on the faculty of the UCLA Writing Programs. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in comparative literature, with an emphasis on nineteenth-century English, French, and Spanish literatures. Since 1982, she has worked with UCLA's Spanish and Portuguese Department, where she created and taught a graduate level course in writing pedagogy for the foreign languages. Her publications include composition software; books and articles on English composition, foreign language composition, and computer-based writing; and a rhetoric for English composition (Writing with HBJ Writer, Harcourt Brace Jovanovicj, 1986).
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