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Rhetoric overview
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  • 2. Overview of Rhetoric– An older definition--Aristotle: Rhetoric is “the faculty of discovering in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion.”– A more recent definition--Kenneth Burke: “The basic function of rhetoric [is] the use of words by human agents to form attitudes or to induce actions in other human agents.”An understanding of rhetoric and an ability to analyze rhetoric can help YOU write, speak, and think more persuasively
  • 3. Rhetorical Situation• Stakeholder: someone who affects or is affected by an issue; has a stake• Audience: group of people at which persuasion/message is aimed• Purpose: goal of the persuasion/ message; in many cases, goal is to influence opinion and/or prompt action• Context: the “climate” or “culture”— time period, prevailing opinion in society, state of the culture
  • 4. Rhetoric & Persuasion: Good orBad?
  • 5. Rhetorical Analysis• What we do when we analyze rhetoric: • We normally read for content rather than the way a piece is written. But -- • Rhetorical analysis focuses less on what the writer/speaker says than on how he/she says it. So -- • Analyzing rhetoric involves thinking about the way a writer/speaker persuades, not what he/she says
  • 6. Understanding Rhetorical Appeals Writersand speakers try to persuade by appealing to readers and listeners in certain ways Three rhetorical appeals – Ethos/Ethical appeal – Logos/Logical appeal – Pathos/Emotional appeal
  • 7. Ethos Ethos: ethical appeal. Ethical appeals attempt to persuade readers by emphasizing the writer’s character, credibility, experience or expertise Focuses on your trust in the writer or speaker
  • 8. Logos Logos: logical appeal. Logical appeals attempt to persuade readers by emphasizing the reader’s intellect and the reason and logic presented in the argument Focuses on your ability or willingness to see the logic in the argument or evidence
  • 9. Pathos Pathos: emotional appeal. Emotional appeals attempt to persuade readers by emphasizing the reader’s feelings Focuses on your emotional reaction to an argument or evidence
  • 10. Testing knowledge of rhetorical appeals Let’s see if you can identify rhetorical appeals in the following examples. The point of each sign is to persuade you to slow down and drive carefully through road construction zones. Can you identify the rhetorical appeals in each sign?
  • 11. Example 1  Ethical, logical or emotional?  Some combination of appeals?
  • 12. Example 2  Ethical, logical or emotional?  Some combination of appeals?
  • 13. Example 3  Ethical, logical or emotional?  Some combination of appeals?
  • 14. Rhetorical StrategiesRhetorical strategies are specific techniques of persuasion. Strategies appeal to us in various ways. Examples: Narration: to tell a story. Might appeal emotionally Quoting authorities: to add credibility by citing others/experts. Might appeal ethically Comparison: to strengthen an argument. Might appeal logically
  • 15. Examples of rhetorical strategies at work Strategy: Narration (telling a story) – The day my brother was killed by a drunk driver was one of the darkest days of my life. – Appeal: Pathos -- emotional Strategy: Quoting authorities – According to the police officer who responded to the accident site, “The drunk driver had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit.” – Appeal: Ethos -- ethical Strategy: Comparison – A criminal who shoots a gun and kills is arrested immediately. Yet a drunk driver can get up to five DUI citations before going to jail in some states. – Appeal: Logos -- logical
  • 16. Relationship: Appeals and StrategiesRelationship between the two: writers and speakers USE STRATEGIES to MAKE APPEALS LOGOS ETHOS PATHOS