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My spouse is writing an academic paper about artificial intelligence. She wants to list some arguments that support the idea that a certain algorithm is intelligent, and some arguments that resist the idea.

Each list of argument is about one page long, and every argument is a passage. I think that a one-page gap between On the first hand and On the other hand would be excessive.

What's the appropriate way to start each list in a way that shows the contrast?

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closed as off topic by simchona, Robusto, kiamlaluno, FumbleFingers, Daniel Mar 7 '12 at 14:22

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You might try something that calls back to the previous argument, like if the first argument was pro, you might say something along the lines of, "Not all think that this algorithm... So-and-so at the University of Nowhere, believes that..."

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First, state the proposal that's being argued about, very succinctly -- ideally one sentence. Suppose it's Algorithm XYZ is intelligent.

Then, at the top of one page, the page header (I'd center it and use a larger font) would be

Algorithm XYZ is intelligent: Pro

and on the other,

Algorithm XYZ is intelligent: Con

Probably this should be introduced on the previous page by something like

On the following two pages we present a number of arguments from the literature for and against this proposal.

Incidentally, if you're dealing with a publisher, be sure to specify that the two pages must appear facing each other, and are not just part of the copy. Be ready to complain, persistently, when they don't get it right.

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Aren't 'pro' and 'con' a bit too informal for a paper? Aren't they abbreviations for something? –  Mitch Feb 25 '12 at 16:09
    
On the contrary, they're both Latin propositions (well, con is short for contra, if you want even more Latin to make it even more formal), and have been used this way for millennia. –  John Lawler Feb 25 '12 at 17:43
    
Not informal; not abbreviations; but sound very inappropriate all the same. –  Kris Feb 26 '12 at 11:53
    
Depends on the audience, and the scholarly field, and the traditions of its literature; I can assure you, it's not inappropriate in most scholarly literature I've read. Plus, of course, it depends on the editors, who may have their own opinions. –  John Lawler Feb 26 '12 at 17:10
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