Presentation on theme: "Rhetoric The Art of Persuasion Impress your significant other! Persuade your parents! Amaze small children! Manipulate your friends! Humiliate your enemies!"— Presentation transcript:
Rhetoric The Art of Persuasion Impress your significant other! Persuade your parents! Amaze small children! Manipulate your friends! Humiliate your enemies! Parkland High School
intro To many, rhetoric implies trickery, deception, or manipulation. When politicians try to make or obscure a point, opponents often criticize them for using “empty rhetoric.” But what exactly is rhetoric?
definition The Greek philosopher Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” Rhetoric is used in writing, speeches, and in everyday conversation. It’s quite useful when we know how to use it, and when someone is using it on us. Let’s look at the key elements:
subject Simply put, the subject is the topic. Without knowing one’s topic or subject, the speech, essay, or argument will fail to persuade your audience.
speaker The speaker giving a speech The speaker in a conversation The writer Note: The speaker can also be a persona – the character the speaker creates when he or she writes a speech or converses. For example, the speaker may be a poet, comedian, scholar, etc.
audience The person(s) who hear a speech, view a film, or read a text Consider the differences between the following audiences: ◦ the commencement speech you give at your own high school graduation; the presentation you give in English class; the speech you give your teammates to fire them up before the big game; the speech you give as Best Man or Maid of Honor at your best friend’s wedding
context and purpose the convergence of time, place, and other events that influence how a speaker and audience receive a text or speech The goal that the speaker or writer wants to achieve
The importance of context Consider: The revolution in Ukraine; September 11th; Columbine; The Vietnam War; The Korean War; The Teapot Dome Scandal. Some of these events are more present in your mind and you have more prior knowledge and context for them; others, you might not have even heard of (besides 10th grade American history). Consider: Tiger Woods. Lindsay Lohan. Britney Spears. OJ Simpson. Anna Nicole Smith. Tonya Harding (I’m betting you have less of a context for some of these scandalous subjects as the list goes on).
appeals After analyzing the relationship of speaker to subject, audience to speaker, and audience to subject, a writer/speaker is ready to make some strategic choices. One is how to persuade the audience by appealing to ethos, logos, and pathos.
ethos A persuasive appeal based on the credibility or reputation of the speaker Speakers and writers appeal to ethos, or character, to demonstrate that they are credible and trustworthy. Expertise and knowledge, experience, training, sincerity, etc. Gives the reader/listener a reason to receive the information. HINT: CREDIBILITY A rhetor appeals to ethos by offering evidence that he or she is credible—knows important and relevant information about the topic at hand and is a good, believable person who has the readers’ best interests in mind
ethos: examples "I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.“ Candidate Acceptance Speech by Barack Obama. August 28th, 2008.
logos A persuasive appeal based on logic, reason, statistics or facts Writers and speakers appeal to logos, or reason, by offering clear, rational ideas. Appealing to logos means having a clear main idea (thesis), with specific details, examples, facts, statistical data, or expert testimony as support. Hint: LOGIC A rhetor appeals to logos by offering a clear, reasonable central idea(s) and developing it with appropriate evidence to appeal to an audience’s sense of logic or reason
Logos: examples Descartes said: "I think; therefore, I am”
pathos An appeal that draws on an audience’s emotions (whether positive or negative) to involve them in the argument or to persuade them Writers and speakers appeal to pathos by engaging the emotions of the receiver in order to persuade. Note: When appealing only to emotions, the argument is weak and propagandistic. Hint: EMOTIONS
Pathos appeal: From MLK Jr’s “I Have a Dream” I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
logical fallacies When rhetoric goes wrong, receivers see the persuasive intent as propaganda. Propaganda is a one-sided method of persuasion that is intended to manipulate. It bypasses logic through faulty reasoning and emotional appeals. Let’s looks at some of the propaganda techniques in more detail. Some of these techniques are also known as logical fallacies.
name calling An attack on a person instead of an issue. Insulting words are used in place of logical arguments. This appeals to emotions rather than reason. Examples: “right-wing conspirator” “bleeding-heart liberal”
bandwagon Tries to persuade the receiver to do, think, or buy something because “everyone” is doing it. Examples: “Five million members and growing!” “Thousands of satisfied customers can’t be wrong!” “Join the digital revolution”
red herring An attempt to distract with details not relevant to the argument; sidetracking. Example: Mike: “It’s morally wrong to cheat on your spouse. Why would you do that, Ken?” Ken: “What is morality, exactly?” Mike: “A code of conduct.” Ken: “But who creates this code?”
Emotional appeal Attempting to persuade by using emotional words (Pathos) only and not appealing to logic (Logos) or providing credibility (Ethos) Example: “If you love your children, vote for Joe Smith.”
testimonial Using a famous person to endorse a product or idea. Testimonials take advantage of the fact that there are certain people we tend to trust, even if that trust is based on mere recognition, rather than true credibility. Example: A person might love Sean Penn’s movies and even agree with some of his political views, but that does not qualify him to pick out the ideal presidential candidate.
repetition Repeating a message over and over again. Repetition works under the assumption that the more people hear something the more likely they are to believe it, even if on a subconscious level. Examples: In advertising: “Head On. Apply directly to the forehead.” In politics, repetition is used with “talking points.” The same topics and phrases are repeated on the media circuit.
sweeping generalizations Making an oversimplified statement based on limited information Examples: “Every person should run a mile each day for optimum health.” “Children should be seen, not heard.”
circular argument Stating a conclusion as part of the proof of the argument; assuming what one is attempting to prove. Example: A confused student argues: “You can’t give me a C! I’m an A student!”
appeal to facts and statistics Shows how many people think something is true; using large numbers or misleading facts to confuse. Example: “Ninety percent of Americans believe in ghosts.”
Hyperbole Hyperbole—exaggerated claim Examples: Regarding the teaching of evolution in science classes: “The Kansas State Board of Education has made a joke out of science!”
either/or Either/Or—persuading by appeals to simplistic black and white and either/or thinking. Used constantly by the media. Example: President Bush to Congress: “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Regarding abortion: “I am not pro-choice; I am pro- life.”
oversimplification Oversimplification—offering a simple solution to an extremely complex problem. Examples: “If we want to end drug abuse, let’s send every drug user to prison for life.” General Curtis LeMay regarding Japan in WWII: “Let’s bomb them back to the stone age.”
stacking the cards Stacking the Cards—repressing one side of the argument. Example: Used car salesman listing all of the good qualities while disregarding all of the faults: “Great speakers, new paint job, low mileage.” [Never mind the missing transmission.] “My new boyfriend is handsome, loves kittens, and reads Shakespeare.” [Never mind he pushed an old woman into oncoming traffic.]