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Elements of Rhetoric.

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Presentation on theme: "Elements of Rhetoric."— Presentation transcript:

1 Elements of Rhetoric

2 Definition of Rhetoric
Aristotle B.C.E. Definition of Rhetoric “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” A thoughtful, reflective activity leading to effective communication, including rational exchange of opposing viewpoints and resulting in the successful resolution of conflicts without confrontation, persuading readers or listeners to support their position, or to move others to action.

3 Aristotelian Triangle
Aristotle taught that a speaker's ability to persuade is based on how well the speaker appeals to his or her audience in three different areas: ethos (ethical appeals), pathos (emotional appeals), and logos (logical appeals). These areas form something that later rhetoricians have called the Rhetorical Triangle. 

4 Rhetorical Triangle Speaker Audience Subject

5 Rhetorical Aristotelian Triangle
Ethos (Speaker) Logos (Audience) Pathos (Subject)

6 Ethos (Gut) Argument by Character
Ethos" refers to the writer's "ethical appeal," that is, how well the writer presents herself. Does she seem knowledgeable and reasonable? Does she seem trustworthy? Does she treat her opponents, people who might disagree, with fairness and respect, or does she take cheap shots at them? Does she try to establish common ground with the reader? Why do you think essays that lack this kind of appeal are likely to be unconvincing? What effect do you think it would have if a writer included nothing but ethical appeals?  Appeals to ethos often emphasize shared values between the speaker and the audience. A tone of reason and goodwill or from the type of thoroughness of information The speaker’s ethos—expertise and knowledge, experience, training, sincerity, or a combination of these—gives the audience reason for listening Employs the persuader’s personality, reputation, and ability to look trustworthy To Aristotle, the most important appeal

7 Pathos (Heart) Argument by Emotion
“Pathos" refers to the argument's "emotional appeals," that is, how well the writer taps into the reader's emotions   Many times, this appeal is how a writer will make an argument "matter" to readers. Advertisements do it all the time. Perhaps a writer will offer an anecdote to illustrate suffering or appeal to readers as parents concerned for their children. Does the writer appeal to your emotions—feelings of sadness, pride, fear, youth, anger, patriotism, love, justice? On the other hand, is the essay loaded with facts, figures, and nothing else? Is the emotional appeal effective or overwhelming?  Makes use of strong connotative diction Usually include vivid, concrete description, and figurative language Although an argument that appeals only to the emotions is by definition weak—it is generally propagandistic in purpose and more polemical than persuasive. A successful persuader must learn how to read the audience’s emotions to change the mood to suit your argument, using the pathetic tactic of sympathy if necessary.

8 Logos (“embodied thought”) Argument by Logic Brain
"Logos" corresponds with the argument's "logical appeals," that is, how well the reader uses the "text" of his own argument and evidence. Effective arguments will probably include facts and other supporting details to back up the author's claims. They may contain testimony from authorities and will demonstrate the writer's carefulness in choosing and considering evidence. They are likely to be well organized, skillfully written, and well edited/proofread. Questions to consider: What is being argued here, or what is the author's thesis? What points does he offer to support this idea? Has he presented arguments that seem logical, or does he seem to be jumping to conclusions? Can you think of kinds of writing that rely exclusively on logical appeals? Do they bore you?  Offers clear, rational thought Acknowledges counterarguments –antithesis, meaning “opposing idea”--, anticipating objections and opposing view—prolepsis, meaning “anticipation” Concedes when logically appropriate and refutes the validity of all or part of the counterargument—syncrisis, meaning “alternative judgment”—not only do we have this, but we also…--dirimens copulatio, meaning “a joining that interrupts,” layering your points Concession and refutation strengthens argument. Why? Logos uses what the audience itself is thinking.

9 How the Rhetorical Triangle Works:
Note that this triangle is essentially equilateral. Why? Again, the equal sides and angles illustrate the concept that each appeal is as important as the others. It also suggests that a BALANCE of the three is important. Too much of one is likely to produce an argument that readers will either find unconvincing or that will cause them to stop reading.  Finally, note how each of the areas potentially affects the others. An illogical argument may move us emotionally, but only in the sense that it makes us angry at the author for wasting our time. An overwhelming emotional argument may make us feel that the author is relying exclusively on emotions rather than offering solid reasoning. Finally, if an argument contains only facts and figures and no emotional appeals, we may simply get bored. All these defects may, in turn, affect the author's ethical appeal: how can we trust a writer who appeals only to our emotions? What common ground do we have with a writer who doesn't appeal to our emotions at all? 

10 Misc. about Rhetoric The most productive arguments use the future tense, the language of choices and decisions. “The point is how are we going to keep this from happening again?” A productive argument makes the audience feel triumphant and, therefore, benevolent, resulting in achieving agreement. The height of persuasion—getting others to do your bidding. Even if the opponent scores points, you get him to accept your choice or do what you want. (“rhetorical jujitsu”) One way to get others to agree with you is to agree with them—tactically, that is. Use your opponent’s points to get what you want, throwing him off balance. Rhetoric is the art of influence, friendship, eloquence, of ready wit, and irrefutable logic; and it harnesses the most powerful of social forces, argument. Mastering rhetorical tools (tricks) make an audience eager to listen. The most effective rhetoric disguises its art. Effective rhetoric jolts the audience into a fresh new perspective on the human condition. Persuasion can make “the lesser side appear the greater.” Aristophanes

11 More Misc. about Rhetoric
“Emotion trumps logic.” Aristotle Cicero: Stimulate your audience’s emotions. Change its opinions. Get it to act. Three Core Issues—Aristotle Blame: Who moved my cheese? Value: Should abortion be legal? Choice: Should we build a plant in Oaxaca? Blame=Past (deals with issues of justice—forensic rhetoric, the argument of the courtroom) Values=Present Choice=Future (best) If an argument spins out of control, switch the tense. Present-tense (demonstrative) rhetoric tends to finish with people bonding or separating. Past-tense (forensic) rhetoric threatens punishment. Future-tense (deliberative) rhetoric promises a payoff.

12 Key Terms in Rhetorical Analysis
Exigence—a gap, a need, a lack, something that needs doing (what’s sticking in the author’s craw) Audience—a reader or group of readers capable of acting on this exigence. Important distinctions: Primary and secondary audiences, immediate and mediated audiences Purpose—what the author intends for the reader(s) to do while and after they read the text Appeals—closely related ways the author aims to get the readers to take of the purposeful action: Ethos, Pathos, Logos Figures of Speech—schemes and tropes and their function Imagery, syntax, diction and their functions David A. Jolliffe

13 Audi partem alteram. --St. Augustine
“Hear the other side.”

14 Aristotle’s Tools of Persuasion
Argument by character Argument by logic Argument by emotion Persuasive use of decorum, argument jujitsu, and tactical sympathy. Cicero listed decorum first among ethical tactics. An agreeable ethos matches the audience’s expectations through tone, appearance, and manners. This kind of character-based agreeability : decorum—the art of fitting in, requires the speaker/writer sound like the collective voice of the audience, a walking, talking consensus. “You persuade a man only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his.”—Kenneth Burke, modern rhetorician Decorum can make the difference between persuading an audience and getting thrown out by it. You cannot be indecorous and persuasive at the same time; the two are mutually exclusive

15 Hypophora- asks a rhetorical question and then immediately answers it, allowing you to anticipate the audience’s skepticism and nip it in the bud. It is better to address the opposition’s objections before they do, which makes your audience more malleable.

16 —adapted from materials by Dr. Joseph Sigalas
Home | Writing Resources | Regents' Exam | RGTE ESOL Services | Workshops | Teacher Resources And Shea, Renee et al. The Language of Composition: Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Heinrichs, Jay. Thank You For Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007.

17 Forms of Argument Induction: Argument by induction builds from evidence and observation to a final conclusion. Most people recognize induction as the basis for scientific method. Simple induction moves from "reasons" and examples to conclusion and does not require scientific observation or eyewitness reports. Deduction: Argument by deduction builds from accepted truths to specific conclusions. The syllogism and enthymeme are examples of deductive arguments. We may also structure deductive arguments based on cultural or social truths leading to specific conclusions. Narrative: Stories and anecdotes should not be considered innocent moments of entertainment in political communication. Narrative argues partly by denying its ability to persuade. Remember the powerful use Ronald Reagan made of anecdotes. He perfected the form for the modern presidency, and every president since has followed his lead. From Rhetorica

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