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Rhetoric: A presentation on the fundamentals of rhetoric, and its background.

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1 Rhetoric: A presentation on the fundamentals of rhetoric, and its background.

2 Modern Rhetoric Modern Rhetoric can best be defined by Kenneth Burke, who said “rhetoric is the ability to move bodies to action.” Have you recently been in a friendly (or heated) debate with someone? What was the outcome of the debate?

3 Origins Rhetoric really began to be studied by the Greeks, since they were the first recorded civilization to use a form of democratic government. With a representative government, and no head of state to preside over them, the Greeks had fierce and long debates about public policy. It became incredibly beneficial for a representative to learn the art of persuasion.

4 Origins One of the earliest known primary sources over the fundamentals of rhetoric in the western world comes from Greece. Aristotle

5 Greek philosopher Lived 384-322 B. C. Expressed (among many other ideas) a theory on “rhetoric”

6 A Definition for Rhetoric Rhetoric is, in essence, the art of persuasion, and Aristotle defined this art as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion." In other words, it is the art of finding the best way to persuade a particular audience in a particular situation.

7 Aristotle’s Classical Appeals Aristotle identified three appeals that can be used to convince the audience. An appeal to ethos (to establish the speaker’s character and values). An appeal to pathos (to stir emotions). And an appeal to logos (to show the audience the logic and truth of the argument).

8 Logos Logos = logic Logos is an argument based on facts, evidence and reason. Using logos means appealing to the readers’ sense of what is logical.

9 Ethos Ethos = Ethics / Image Ethos is an argument based on character. The writer or speaker presents him or herself to the reader as credible, trustworthy, honest and ethical.

10 Pathos Pathos = argument based on feelings Using pathos means appealing to readers’ emotions and feelings.

11 Logos ▪Logos are appeals to logic. ▪In using logos, the rhetorician appeals to the audience’s rational side. ▪Logos involves building arguments through evidence, inferring logical conclusions from the evidence.

12 Logos Log os means logic Logos refers to any attempt to appeal to the intellect. Logos appeals to the left side of the audience's brain. The audience finds certain patterns, conventions and modes of reasoning to be convincing and persuasive. The audience relies on reasoning and facts to make its decision. Numbers, polls and statistics are also examples of the persuasive use of logic.

13 Logos Example In the following example, note how Ian Ayres uses evidence from experience (her work environment, Delta Airlines, the University of Chicago). This evidence establishes the precedent that Ayres uses to compare to the current situation that she argues should be changed.

14 Logos Example “We don’t have single-sex toilets at home, and we don’t need them at the office. Then there’s also the small question of efficiency. I see my male colleagues waiting in line to use the men’s room, when the women’s toilet is unoccupied. Which is precisely why Delta Airlines doesn’t label those two bathrooms at the back of the plane as being solely for men and women. It just wouldn’t fly.”

15 Human Beings Not Driven Solely by Logic Aristotle was a firm believer in logic. However, he was enough of a realist to recognize that humans are emotional beings who make decisions based, in part, upon emotion. Thus, Aristotle acknowledged that a rhetorician would be neglecting some of the “available means of persuasion” if the rhetorician did not also appeal to the audience’s emotion.

16 Pathos Pathos: Pathos is related to the words pathetic, sympathy and empathy. Whenever you accept a claim based on how it makes you feel without fully analyzing the rationale behind the claim, you are acting on pathos. Those who wish to persuade you will play with your emotions. They may persuade you with fear, love, patriotism, guilt, hate or joy. A majority of arguments in the popular press are heavily dependent on appealing to your emotions. We, as a society, should not react to emotional arguments without fully considering all of the facts. Although the use of pathos can be manipulative, it is the cornerstone of moving people to action and it will continue to be used again and again. Appeals to pathos touch a nerve and compel people to not only listen, but to also take the next step and act in the world.

17 Pathos = an emotional argument An effective use of pathos will alter the mindsets of the audience through the use of emotional appeal. Both words and pictures can achieve this appeal. In this picture, Haitian children are collecting water. Children and adults spend all day digging for water because most of Haiti does not have access to water.

18 Pathos in review ▪Pathos are appeals to emotion ▪With pathetic appeals, the rhetorician attempts to move the audience by tapping into their emotional side. ▪Often, pathos involves appealing to the audience’s sense of empathy, compassion, sympathy, pride or even anger or outrage.

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20 Pathos Example In the following example from a speech by Winston Churchill, note the use of anaphora (repetition of a word or group of words at the beginning of items in a series). This repetition emphasizes the point and expresses passion and emotion. Moreover, the repetition affects the audience emotionally.

21 Pathos Example We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender. —Winston Churchill, speech to the House of Commons, June 4, 1940

22 Ethos ▪Ethos are arguments or statements made by the rhetorician that are designed to build his or her credibility with the audience ▪With ethical appeals, the rhetorician “ingratiates himself with an audience--and thereby gains their trust and admiration--if he manages to create the impression that he is a person of intelligence, benevolence, and probity” (Corbett and Connors, authors of Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student).

23 Ethos The word "ethos" came from the Greek word ethikos meaning moral or showing moral character. Aristotle contends that a speaker must establish moral credibility in the minds of the audience at the beginning of his or her speech. In order to do so, the speaker must show that he or she has expertise in the subject matter of the speech and that he or she is disconnected from topic (i.e., the speaker does not and will not have a direct interest or an ulterior motive for convincing their audience). For example, when a trusted doctor gives you advice, you may not understand all of the medical reasoning behind the advice, but you nonetheless follow the directions because you believe that the doctor knows what s/he is talking about.

24 Ethos = an appeal to ethics Ethos: Ethos is related to the English word ethics and refers to the trustworthiness of the speaker/writer. Ethos is an effective persuasive strategy because when we believe that the speaker does not intend to do us harm, we are more willing to listen to what s/he has to say. Likewise, when a judge comments on legal precedent audiences tend to listen because it is the job of a judge to know the nature of past legal cases.

25 Ethos Example In the following example, note how Nancy Mairs establishes her credibility and trustworthiness and authority to write about this subject by being honest. Mairs admits she is uncertain about her own motives and shows she understands the discomfort others’ have with this subject.

26 Ethos Examples “People—crippled or not—wince at the word “cripple,” as they do not at “handicapped” or “disabled.” Perhaps I want them to wince. I want them to see me as a tough customer, one to whom the fates/gods/viruses have not been kind, but who can face the brutal truth of her existence squarely. As a cripple, I swagger.” —Nancy Mairs, “On Being a Cripple”

27 The Rhetorical Triangle When you engage in rhetoric, you are related to the audience and your subject. A well-balanced argument gives attention to all three points of the triangle, establishing your authority (ethos), drawing the audience emotionally (pathos), and doing justice to the facts (logos). However, if you give too much emphasis to facts, you can fall into a kind of distortion: making the subject seem cold and abstract. If you lean too much toward the audience, you can start to create propaganda. And if you put to much emphasis on your own character and values, you will seem egotistical. Subject Logos Possible Distortion: Abstraction Audience Pathos Possible Distortion: Propaganda Speaker Ethos Possible Distortion: Egotism

28 Awareness of Audience ▪If rhetoric is defined as the art of discovering all the available means of persuasion, it would stand to reason that a rhetorician would need to have a keen sense of who his audience is and what “makes them tick.” ▪A skilled rhetorician would recognize that he should tailor his appeals to fit his specific audience. (i.e. How do I need to build my credibility with this particular audience? Which emotions do I need to stir in this particular audience?) ?

29 Logos, Ethos, Pathos Using logos, ethos, and pathos will help you to master the art of persuasion. Through language, you will be able to change the point of view of others! Through language, you will be able to motivate others to take action!


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