The Dialectic is a rhetoric method of analyzing and breaking down arguments by using detailed questions. The opponents in this process are generally called interlocutors. Plato’s method of argumentation is often hailed as an effective rhetorical strategy in a spoken debate, but its emphasis on verbal discussion over written makes it difficult to translate into writing centered rhetoric courses.
Thrasymachus is an interlocutor from Plato’s The Republic , and he represents a category of rhetoricians known as the sophists. Sophists assert that the most rhetorically convincing argument is greater than a lackluster correct argument—in other words, flash over accuracy.
Classical (Aristotelian) Argument
Logos : an appeal to reason or logic
Pathos : an appeal to emotion
Ethos : an appeal to ethics and credibility
Psychologist Carl Rogers claims the best way to argue is through civil discourse
Avoid intense or direct confrontation
Engage in civil debate
Encourage mutual respect
Cooperate and work as colleagues
Red Herring (diversion)
Spin Doctor (flip an argument by using diversions)
Equivocation (terms change meaning)
You Also (does not follow own advice)
Appeal to Doubtful Authority (popular appeal)
False Dilemma (limiting the outcome)
Begging the Question (not really self-evident)
“ [A] single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view. In a sense, the thesis statement is your answer to the central question or problem you have raised” (35).
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers . New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1999.