Author: Jay Heinrichs What is rhetoric? - PowerPoint Presentation

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Author: Jay Heinrichs  What is rhetoric?
Author: Jay Heinrichs  What is rhetoric?

Author: Jay Heinrichs What is rhetoric? - Description

Using language choices effectively to fit a given situation Describe a recent argument you had Did you achieve your goal If so how Argument vs Fight You succeed in an argument when you persuade your audience ID: 783327 Download


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Author: Jay Heinrichs

What is rhetoric?

Using language choices effectively to fit a given situation.


Describe a recent argument you had. Did you achieve your goal? If so, how?


Argument vs. Fight

You succeed in an argument when you persuade your audience.You win a fight by dominating your enemy.

In other words: You fight to win.

You argue to achieve agreement.


What is the goal of an argument?

To score points or to get your way?


Concession: Conceding a point in order to get what you want.

One way to get people to agree with you is to agree with them—tactically, that is. Agreeing up front does not mean giving up the argument. Use your opponent’s own moves to throw her off balance.

Teen: “You never let me have any fun.”

Parent: “I suppose I don’t.”


Another type of concession:PROLEPSIS-agreeing in advance to what the other person is likely to say.


The goal: ask yourself what you want at the end of an argument. Change your audience’s mind? Get it to do something or stop doing it? If it works, then you’ve won the argument


Cicero’s Three Audience Goals

Stimulate your audience’s emotions (emotional appeal, or pathos). MOOD.

Change its opinion. MIND.

Get it to act. DESIRE TO ACT. This is the most difficult step.

How many psychiatrists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?


Call to action is the most challenging part.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.


You have your personal goal. You have your audience goal.Now: What’s the issue?

According to Aristotle, all issues are, in essence, just 3:





Which is which?

Who moved my cheese?Should abortion be legal?

Should we build a new gymnasium?

Should Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris have split up?


Blame: Past

Values: Present

Choice: Future


According to Aristotle…

Forensic Rhetoric (Blame) is focused on determining guilt. (past tense)

Demonstrative Rhetoric

(Values) is focused on praise or condemnation. It celebrates heroes or defines a common enemy. (present tense)

Deliberative Rhetoric

(Choices) is focused on the future and promises a payoff. (future tense)


Marge: Homer, I don’t want you driving around in a car you built yourself.

Homer: You can sit there complaining, or you can knit me some seat belts.


Values (demonstrative) or Choices (deliberative)?

Beach or mountains this summer?Is there a God?

Is homosexuality immoral?

Is capitalism bad?


To Argue Deliberately…

You need to convince your audience that the choice you offer is the most advantageous—to the audience, not you.

So you need to know what the audience thinks and values, the views it holds in common. This is called

a commonplace.

Different audiences have different commonplaces.

To shift people’s point of view, start from their position, not yours. Then move to future tense.


Ned Flanders: You ugly, hate-filled man.Moe: Hey, I may be ugly, and I may be hate-filled, but… uh… what was the last thing you said?


Aristotle’s 3 Powerful Tools of Persuasion, or the Basic Tools of Rhetoric

ETHOS: Argument by character

LOGOS: Argument by logic

PATHOS: Argument by emotion


Gut, brain, heart.


Ethos, or the ability to fit in with a group’s expectations.


in Greek, originally meant habitat, or the environment people or animals live in. Therefore, an ethical person fits her audiences rules and values the same way a penguin fits the peculiar habitat of an iceberg.


in Latin, meant “fit,” as in “suitable.” So

rhetorical decorum

is the art of fitting in.

Eminem in 8-mile.


According to Aristotle…3 Essential Qualities of a Persuasive Ethos:

Cause, Craft, Caring

Virtue, or cause.

The audience believes you share their values. This can be faked.

Practical wisdom, or craft.

You appear to know the right thing to do.


NOT lack of interest, but impartiality; free of bias,


only about the audience’s interests, not your own. Find the commonplaces. Example: politicians who distance themselves from “the Beltway.”


Pathos: What emotions stir action?

sorrow, shame, humility?

joy, love, esteem, compassion?

anger, patriotism, emulation?




Logos: Persuade on Your Terms

One of the best ways to define terms is to


them. Don’t automatically accept the meaning your opponent attaches to a word. Redefine it in your favor.

Mr. Burns: “Oh, meltdown. It’s one of those annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an unrequested fission surplus.”


Issues and Two-Sided Descriptions


A baby’s right to live, or a woman’s right to her own body.

Gun Control:

Our increasingly violent society, or a citizen’s right to protect herself.

Borrowing the car:

A privilege, or a matter of fairness (older sister got to borrow it last week).


Remember the commonplace?

Rhetorical commonplace:

a short-form expression of common sense or public opinion. It can range from a political belief (all people are created equal) to a practical matter (it’s cheaper to buy in bulk).

Commonplaces represent beliefs or rules of thumb, NOT facts.

People identify with their groups through their commonplaces.

Use a commonplace as the starting point of rhetorical logic.


Logos in Rhetoric

Deductive logic:

starts with a fact, or a commonplace, and applies it to a specific case to reach a conclusion. Aristotle’s term:


The classic example: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. Term:


Inductive logic:

Argument by example. It takes specific cases and uses them to prove a point or conclusion.

Example: Sherlock Holmes



starts with the general and works to the specific.Induction starts with the specific and works to the general: the examples prove the premise.



is the


The choice you want the audience to make is the




Rhetorical deduction goes like this:

premise, therefore conclusion. You believe this, so you should do that.


In rhetoric,

induction is argument by example. It uses the circumstances to form a belief.


Does the proof hold up?

Am I given the right number of choices?Does the proof lead to the conclusion?

Logical Fallacies, or bad logic.

Analyze an argument and ask 3 questions:


Appeal to Popularity“All the other kids get to do it, so I should too.” (premise doesn’t prove the conclusion)


The Fallacy of Antecedent

It never happened before, so it never will.“My dog doesn’t bite.”


Misinterpreting the Evidence

The examples don’t support the conclusion.“Seeing all those crimes on TV makes me want to lock up my kids and never let them out.”


Hasty Generalization

The argument offers too few examples to prove the point.“That intern from Yale was great. Let’s get another Yalie.”


Fallacy of Ignorance

What we cannot prove, cannot exist. Or if we can’t disprove it, then it must exist.“There’s nothing wrong with you. The lab tests came back negative.”


Tautology (‘begging the question’)

The same thing gets repeated in different words.

“You can trust our candidate because he’s an honest man.”


False Dilemma

You're given two choices when you actually have many choices. “You Can Help this Child, or You Can Turn the Page.” (advertisement)

“America: Love it or leave it.”

“If you can’t stand behind our troops, then go stand in front of them.”


Complex Cause

Only one cause gets the blame (or credit) for something that has many causes. “If you’re so smart, how come you ain’t rich?”


Red Herring:

switching issues in mid-argument to throw the audience off. “But that is not the real issue Americans care about.”


Straw Man

Ignores opponent’s argument and sets up a rhetorical straw man—an easier argument to attack.

“Some activists will only see another opportunity to push government as parent, but parents make the best decisions about what TV is appropriate for their family to watch.” (switching topics from TV content to government interference)


Slippery SlopeIf we allow this reasonable thing, it’ll inevitably lead to an extreme version of it. “Allow a few students to pray after class, and one day gospel ministers will be running our public schools.”


False AnalogyI can do this thing well, so I can do that unrelated thing well.

“I’m a successful businesswoman. Elect me as the Republican candidate and I’ll run our country.” successfully.”


The Chanticleer (post hoc ergo propter hoc)

After this, therefore because of this. The reason (“This followed that”) doesn’t lead to the conclusion (“Therefore, this



“Our college newsletter is a big success. After we started publishing it, alumni giving went up.”


Logical Fallacies: Review

15 Logical Fallacies in 3 minutes

Straw Man


in other words: don’t block the argument by using anything that keeps it from reaching a satisfying conclusion. Don’t get stuck in the present tense when you’re supposed to make a choice. And don’t talk only of right and wrong when it’s about the best choice.

Formal logic has many rules. Rhetoric’s deliberative argument just has one basic rule:

Never argue the inarguable.


Schemes and Tropes


Figures (Schemes): Figures of Speech, Thought, and Tropes

Schemes and tropes add sophistication to your argument.

Figures of speech

change ordinary language though wordplay, repetition, sound, and repetition.

Figures of thought

are logical or emotional tactics, using ethos or logos on the fly.


swap one image or concept for another.


3 Common Figures of Speech


repeated first words. “Now’s the time to act. Now’s the time to show what we can do. Now is the time to right the wrongs.”


combines words to make a single meaning. “It’s all Greek to me.” “Take it with a grain of salt.” “Get all your ducks in a row.”


makes a figure out of a run-on sentence by linking clauses with a repeated conjunction. “Imagine hearing this on TV while you make dinner and the dog barks and the kids argue and you wonder whether it’s time to get an oil change.”

Why use them in an argument?


Common Figures of Thought

self answering question-“What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”


weighs one argument next to the other. “The success of our economy has depended not just on the size of our GDP, but on the reach of our prosperity…”


ironic understatement; makes a point by denying its opposite. “Well, I’m not here for my health.” Opposite of hyperbole.


Common Tropes


making one thing stand for another.


swapping the apparent meaning for the real one.


swapping one thing for a collection. “The White House.”


using one characteristic to describe the whole. “Bluehairs.”


the crisscross figure. “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”


Code Switching and Code Grooming


Identity Strategy:

Getting audience members to bond with one another and to see you as their ideal leader. The arguer finds and uses the commonplace terms that fit a particular audience.

Code Grooming:

Using insider language to get an audience to identify with you and your idea.

Example: texting.


Male code, female code, military code. What words might be included in these codes?

Let’s look at an expert in code grooming: George W. Bush


Code Grooming: W’s Demonstrative Language and Language of Identity

When addressing the faithful/Christians: “I believe” and starting sentences with “And”, like The Bible. “I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe—I believe what I believe is right.” “And in all that is to come, we can know that His purposes are just and true.”


Code Grooming: W’s Demonstrative Language and Language of Identity

When appealing to women, W. began sentences with “I understand” and he repeated words such as “peace” and “security” and “protecting.”

When speaking to the military, he used “Never relent” and “Whatever it takes” and “We must not waver” and “Not on my watch.”

For men, he often used swaggering humor. “When I take action, I’m not going to fire a two-million-dollar missile at a ten-dollar empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”


So what? Every politician uses code words.

W. had a masterful way of using code words WITHOUT the distraction of logic. He spoke in short sentences, repeating code phrases in effective, if irrational order. His words had “the sound of sense” (Frost).


Bushisms: Fractured Syntax, Logic-free Speech

“We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do our job.”

“We’ll be a great country where the fabrics are made up of groups and loving centers.”

“Part of the




we have a


, and part of the


is what you’re going to do about it.”

So what’s the appeal? Bush repeated these like a mantra. Repetition acts like a football cheer, making people feel part of a group.


Logic-free Speech with Code Language



we are


to do the

hard work

to make our



quality of life


better place


Who is his audience? How do you know? What values is he emphasizing?



“Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.”


Let’s Compare Rational Thought vs. Logic-Free Values

Rational Thought:

Boys, we can win this one. We’re bigger in size, we’ve practiced harder, and we have the better game plan.

Logic-free Values:

Men, get out there. Be big. Be strong. Work the plan. Win the game.


Let’s Compare Rational Thought vs. Logic-Free Values

Rational Thought:

Don’t be scared. There aren’t any monsters under the bed.

Logic-free Values:

You’re safe. I’ll be here, protecting you, and you’ll be in your own warm bed.


Rhetorical Analysis

Consider goals: What does the persuader want to get out of the argument? Is she trying to change the audience’s mood or mind, or does she want it to do something?

Consider Aristotle: ethos, pathos, logos. Which appeal does she emphasize: character, emotion, or logic?

Kairos: Is her timing right? Is she using the right medium?


Double Arguments (Dissoi Logoi)

On the other hand…

Better safe than sorry.

Love the one you’re with.

We should have zero tolerance for drugs in schools.

A homeowner has the right to protect his home by any means necessary.

War is always bad.



It’s better never to brush your teeth.

The letter e should be banned from the alphabet.

The human species should go extinct.

Only girls should be allowed an education.

It’s better to be left-handed than right-handed.


Aristotlian Rhetoric Game!


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