“The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword.” - English author Edward Bulwer- Lytton, 1839 What does Bulwer-Lytton mean?
What is Persuasion? Persuasion is the use of specific techniques to lead a reader/listener to think or act in a certain way. Learning persuasive techniques will make your writing and speaking more forceful and convincing, thereby giving you more power!
How Do You Persuade? Logical persuasive arguments are built on reasons supported by evidence. Facts and statistics “A recent study shows that 61% of high school students have at one time or another cheated on a test.” Expert testimony “Since we instituted the ‘No Cell Phone’ policy,” says Mrs. Shaw, principal of Adams High, “we have had fewer instances of theft among students.” Logical reasoning “For the past 40 years, January has brought southern California the most rain, so we can expect that to be the case next year, too.”
Appeal to Logic Logic is the science of correct reasoning. Logical reasoning is slowly built into your brain by your experiences in the world.
Beware of Faulty Reasoning: Fallacies What are fallacies? Statements which sound logical and factual, but are not. Fallacies make your argument less valid. Propaganda, or ideas deliberately spread to help or harm a person, group, or movement, often includes fallacy.
What is Rhetoric? Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. It encompasses the following: Ethos- the trustworthiness of the speaker/writer/source. Pathos- an appeal to feelings/emotions Logos- any attempt to appeal to the intellect
How Do I Avoid Fallacies? Familiarize yourself with common fallacies, like: Hasty generalization Bandwagon appeal Name-calling (ad hominem) Black-white (either/or) fallacy False cause and effect Faulty use of authority Circular reasoning Slippery slope Appeal to tradition Emotional appeal
Hasty Generalization Coming to a conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence
Bandwagon Appeal The “Don’t miss out” or “Don’t be the last person to get one” appeal often used by advertisers NOTE: Bandwagon can be used to reinforce logical appeals, but use it wisely.
Name-Calling (ad hominem) Attacking the person who holds the view rather than the view itself
Black-White (Either/Or) Fallacy Describing a situation as if there were only two choices when in fact their may be several. Ex. “Only real men love football.”
False Cause and Effect Saying that because event B followed event A, A must have caused B. Ex. Since he started eating Cheerios for breakfast, Michael has been getting better grades. Cheerios must have made him smarter!
Faulty Use of Authority Attempt to support claims by citing the opinions of non-experts. Not valid because the individuals cited have no expertise on the issue. NOTE: This is also called celebrity endorsement or testimonial, and it is often used by advertisers to sell a product. This can be used to support a logical argument, but make sure the authority figure is actually an authority in the subject you are discussing. What does Chuck Norris know about hamsters?
Circular Reasoning A statement that assumes that the very question being argued has already been proved. Ex. "Vegetarianism is good for you because it’s healthy."
Slippery Slope An arguer predicts that taking a first step will lead inevitably to a second, usually undesirable step Ex. “If we allow students to use cell phones at school, the next thing we know, schools will be required to buy cell phones for them!"
Appeal to Tradition Assumes that something is better or correct simply because it is older, traditional, or "always has been done." Ex. “This is the way we have always acted or believed. This is what our ancestors did or believed. Therefore, it is the way we should act or believe.”
Faulty Emotional Appeal Appeals to the emotions of an audience which are irrelevant to the argument or draw attention form the issue being argued. They may also conceal another purpose. NOTE: Sometimes emotional appeals can be okay, but make sure they reinforce your argument, not replace it.
Remember This… Effective persuasion is always built on logical appeals and evidence. Emotional appeals can help to reinforce logical arguments, but they can never replace them. Avoid all fallacies!