Subject: English comprehension & communication skills Rhetoric is the study of effective speaking and writing. Rhetoric is the study and practice of communication to target audiences that persuades, informs, inspires, or entertains in order to change or reinforce beliefs, values, habits and actions. Rhetorical study not only brings deeper understanding of strategic communication, but guides our practical use of it. Rhetoric is an art through which people learn to improve their own communication and adapt it to specific audiences and purposes. It also helps us learn to discern the excellence and weakness of our own and others’ rhetoric. "Rhetoric is the art of speaking well." Rhetoric is the art, practice, and study of human communication." If you think about the different groups of people that you communicate with, you will see that you use different forms of rhetoric with each of them. You talk to your friends differently than you talk to your parents, or your teachers, or your employers. Each group you associate with calls for a different form of language, of voice, of rhetoric to be used. Rhetoric has three categories: Pathos (Emotion based persuasion) Ethos (Credibility behind the persuasion) Logos (Logic based persuasion) Pathos appeals to the emotions and the sympathetic imagination, as well as to beliefs and values. Pathos can also be thought of as the role of the audience in the argument Pathos is an argument based on emotion, playing on sympathy, fears, and desires. Pathos can best be described as the use of emotional appeal. Emotion itself should require no definition, but it should be noted that effective pathetic appeal (the use of pathos) is often used in ways that cause anger or sorrow in the minds and hearts of the audience. Pathos is often the rhetorical vehicle of public service announcements. A number of anti-smoking and second hand smoking related commercials use pathos heavily. One of the more memorable shows an elderly man rising from the couch to meet his young grandson who, followed by the child's mother, is taking his first steps toward the grandfather. As the old man coaxes the young child forward, the grandfather begins to disappear. As the child walks through him the mother says "I wish your grandpa could see you now." The audience is left to assume that the grandfather has died, and an announcer informs us that cigarette smoke kills so many people a year, with a closing statement to the effect of "be there for the ones you love." This commercial uses powerful words (like "love") and images to get at the emotions of the viewer, encouraging them to quit smoking. The goal is for the audience to becoming so "enlightened" and emotionally moved that the smoking viewers never touch another cigarette. Ethos appeals to the writer’s character. Ethos can also be thought of as the role of the writer in the argument, and how credible his/her argument is. Ethos can be seen as the credibility that an author/writer/speaker owns when they present themselves in front of an audience. If on the first day of class, your professor walked in with a baseball cap turned backward, pants sagged down to their knees, and was picking their nose, how would you perceive that instructor? What would your view of the class be? How confident would you be that this person knows what they are talking about? Ethos encompasses a large number of different things which can include what a person wears, says, the words they use, their tone of voice, their credentials, their experience, their charge over the audience, verbal and nonverbal behavior, criminal records, etc. At times, it can be as important to know who the person presenting the material is, as what they are saying about a topic. Many companies, especially those big enough to afford famous spokespersons, will use celebrities in their ad campaigns in attempts to sell their products. Certain soft drink companies have used the likes of Ray Charles, Madonna, and Britney Spears to sell their products, and been successful in doing so. Logos appeals to reason. Logos can also be thought of as the text of the argument, as well as how well a writer has argued his/her point. Logos is most easily defined as the logical appeal of an argument. Say that you are writing a paper on immigration and you say "55,000 illegal immigrants entered this country last year, of those, only 23,000 did it legally." There is obviously something wrong here. Although saying that 55,000 immigrants were "illegal" makes for an impressive statistic, it is apparently not correct if you admit that 23,000 of these people immigrated legally. The actual number of illegal immigrants would then be only 32,000, a significantly lower number. False facts like this one are one example of faulty logos. To look into the matter further, one needs to take a look at the two different types of logos and how they function. These two types are known as "deductive" and "inductive." Deductive Logic: A deductive logical argument is one that works from the top to the bottom. It begins with what is known as a "major premise," adds a "minor premise," and attempts to reach a conclusion. A major premise is a statement that names something about a large group, a minor premise takes a single member, and the conclusion attempts to prove that because this single member is a part of the larger group, they must also have the trait named in the original statement. MEN ARE TALL - a major premise as it works with a large group of people. BOB IS A MAN - a minor premise as we hear about only one individual of that group. BOB IS TALL - we attempt to make a conclusion based upon what we have already been told. Now, if it is true that men are tall, and that Bob is a man, then we can safely infer that Bob must be tall. However, beware the logical fallacy. Though it may be true that in certain cultures men are, on average, taller than women, certainly this is not always the case. Being that our major premise is not altogether true, we can now say that this argument is flawed. Furthermore, we might ask what our definitions of “tall” are. We see that the problem becomes far more complex the more we look into it. Inductive Logic: As some would argue that a deductive argument works from the top down, toward a conclusion, some comment that an inductive argument works from the bottom up. This is mildly misleading. What is meant by this is that an inductive logical argument begins with a firm affirmation of truth, a conclusive statement. By getting the audience to agree with this statement, the argument moves to the next "logical" step. It proceeds in this manner until the argument has led you from one seemingly reasonable conclusion to another that you may not have originally agreed with. Take the following as an example. Move through the argument slowly, making sure you understand and agree with each step in the process (and please forgive the religious content, you'll come to see it is irrelevant anyway). In an inductive argument, the reader holds up a specific example, and then claims that what is true for it is also true for a general category. For instance, "I have just tasted this lemon. It is sour. Therefore, all lemons are probably sour." Rhetoric, as an art, has long been divided into five major canons: Invention Arrangement Style Memory Delivery Description: Necessity is the mother of invention, and the necessity of persuasion means we must first discover the best way to persuade in each situation. Target analysis: The first step of invention is to understand the target(s) of persuasion. Identify who they are, segmenting them into subgroups as necessary. Identify their needs, interests and goals around the persuasive situation. Include yourself in this as well! Information: Secondly, consider what information you need to persuade these people. Do you need hard evidence? Photographs? Presentation: Thirdly, decide how you will present your evidence. In particular consider each of Logos, Pathos and Ethos. Consider also whether you need a formal setting, such as a courtroom, or something informal, such as a walk or a discussion in the bar. Timing: Finally, consider the context, timing and duration of your argument. A long argument is necessary in some cases, but will tire people. Sometimes a person is best spoken to in the morning. Sometimes they are more receptive in the afternoon. Discussion: In many situations, we jump in with both feet and try to 'wing it', making things up as we go along. We often default to our preferred style and use patterns of persuasion that may have worked for us in the past (or not). Invention is going slow to go fast. By doing sound research and deep thinking first about both their and your situation, you have the basis to build a solid argument. You will also be able to present it in a way that will achieve your persuasive goals. In the original Latin text, this is 'inventio'. Description: Arranging an argument is like structuring an essay (which is, of course, arranging an argument). Introduction (exordium): Start with an introduction that positions both your argument and, if appropriate, yourself. Provide the context in which you are speaking, including some background information. Grab their attention, showing that this argument is important to them. Ask them to listen carefully, as this will be to their advantage. Also show that you are the best person to be talking with them on this subject. Establish your credibility. Show that you are really on their side and can be trusted. Statement of fact (narratio): Present the basic facts of the case, clearly and with enough information that they can be accepted as independent facts, and not just your observations. Be neutral in your presentation, taking the part of a witness or a concerned bystander, rather than a person with a passionate interest in one side of the argument. In Classical Greek arguments, this stage is also used to demonstrate the speaker's ethos, or ethical standing. Confirmation (confirmatio): The next stage is to give the case for your position. Construct a persuasive argument as to what should be believed and done. This is where the full power and methods of rhetoric are employed. Use various types of reasoning, create yourself an unassailable position. In confirming your position, do take care to align it carefully with the needs, values and goals of your audience. If you do not do this, they may well ignore you and be building their own refutatio rather than listening to your case. Refutation (refutatio): After building up your own castle, the next stage is to attack the stronghold of any opposing arguments. Using similar reasoning methods, you now take apart any alternatives to your confirmatio, one brick at a time. When opposing arguments are but rubble, there is nothing else left to believe but your original argument. Refuting other arguments need not mean being unkind or unpleasant. You can show how much you accept and respect the other person or people involved. You can start with appreciation of them as people and of their reasoning for their case. Then show how they are sadly mistaken. If possible, show how they can better achieve their needs through your preferred choices. Conclusion (peroratio): End your argument with a summary of what you have said, reminding your audience of the key points along the way. If you want them to do something afterwards (rather than just agree with you), describe these carefully and ensure you get their full agreement. Discussion: This is a classic way of arguing: build your position and knock down that of the opposition, albeit with attention to ethical concerns. It still is relevant today, but can easily suffer from a them-and-us battle. The most effective way to use this approach is, as far as you can, to blend in respect and concern for people who oppose you. Seek to expand the pie so everyone gets more, rather than assume a fixed amount 'I win-you lose' situation. In the original Latin text, this is 'dispositio'. Description: Using style in an argument goes beyond simple statement of facts and description of reason and logic. Style moves an argument in to the realms of aesthetics, seeking to touch emotions rather than just intellect. Eloquent language: Eloquent language flows with an ease that belies the skill and artifice behind the delicate words. It uses subtle rhyme and alliteration to realize the alternative ways of presenting what could, otherwise, be a not so good way of saying this too well. It uses devices such as reversal ('Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country') and triples ('for God, Queen and Country'). Powerful language: Powerful language selects individual words and combinations for their impact. It seeks to stimulate emotions through association with stirring themes. It may shock with brash images that threaten and trigger fear responses. It grabs you and forces you to agree. Discussion: Cicero was a military general who generally disapproved of emotions and thought they led to weakness, though it seems likely he would have been good at persuasion and making strong speeches that stirred the emotions. If you are going into battle, then emotional arousal seems like a good idea. Appealing to emotions can be particularly effective, as these are always important in decision making, even when we are largely convinced by the logic of an argument. The point of decision happens when we feel that an argument is good enough. We close when our emotions change. Speaking with style multiplies the effectiveness of any argument. In the original Latin text, this is 'elocutio'. Description: When you are going to persuade someone of something, take time to remember enough of the argument to be able to present the full story without hesitation or omissions. If you want to spellbind them, you must fully learn the spell. You seldom need to learn everything by heart, but it can be a very good idea to at least learn your opening lines by heart and then know very clearly all of the points of your argument. If you have problems remembering things, do not worry, help is at hand. There are many practical memory methods. The secret of speaking is often in the rehearsal. Even great orators spend much time behind closed doors perfecting each of their speeches. The more important the speech, the more time you should put into its preparation, including a full dress rehearsal (or two). Discussion: When an actor performs in a play, they do not read from the script. To do so would spoil the performance terribly. They would not be able to use their hands and body fully. They would look like a person reading from a piece of paper, rather than a person who transforms the audience to a separate reality. Persuading is like acting. The performance depends on you not having to spend time thinking about what to say -- your spare cognitive effort should be spend on shaping it to the situation, going with the flow of moment, responding to your audience to ensure you are in perfect tune. In the original Latin text, this is 'memoria'. Description: To deliver a good persuasive argument, you have to go beyond words. Communication means using every means at your disposal, which includes body language as well as voice tone and texture. Use emphasis in words and body language to draw attention to key points. Put emotion into your voice. You can also make good use of props in your delivery, utilizing images and simple artifacts, from cups to cupboards. Use props with drama, synchronizing them with key points of speech. Dramatically bring them out from a hidden place and return them when they are no long of relevance. Discussion: By one study at least, words can make up a small proportion of a face-to-face communication. And by any chalk, much of personal communication occurs through visual and auditory channels (and sometimes tactile ones too).In the original Latin text, this is 'actio' and 'pronuntatio'.