Course Journal


Using course journals to reflect upon our reading in the textbook was very useful as it helped us put into our own words what we were reading. Additionally, it helped us to connect concepts from the book into real world situations by finding outside materials that were good examples of the outlined concepts. Additionally, it was incredibly beneficial to have the ability to view other students replies as we were able to see if we were on the right track or not, and were also able to further our understanding about topics that we may not have been as comfortable with as some of the other members of our class. These discussions also helped us shape our large projects throughout the year. As we did these entries, we were able to look back upon creating things, such as the brochure in the Common Good Project, and make sure that our images and statements were persuasive.

Course Journals

Chapters 4, 5, and 6

1. The three main points of arguments are arguments by character, by logic, and by emotion (38). These are also known as logos, ethos, and pathos. These are effective ways of argument as it allows for you to connect with your audience, which is your ultimate goal of arguing. One of the most impactful tools that you can use falls under the logos category: concession (41). This concept allows you to shift the argument to a topic which you have good control over (42). One common example of this is the “yes, and” method of improv which allows you to continue a storyline that you may not be totally comfortable with (43). Personally, I like this example as I have taken a couple of improvisation classes so I have some familiarity with this example.

2. To properly argue using ethos, you must use decorum to your advantage (47). This is the art of performing to the expectation of your audience, not necessarily fitting in with them (48). For example, as a teacher, you should not act like a student in the classroom, however, the class is expecting you to act in an authoritative, yet caring manner. By not living up to these expectations, you may have lost your audience, which in this case would be the students. Another area in which decorum may come into play would be in your clothing (52). You also need to dress how your audience expects you to look.

3. There is a difference between the rhetoric definition of values and the normal definition of values. In rhetoric, values is simply what people value, not necessarily if they are right and wrong (67). This is also the case with virtue. In rhetoric it is simply the appearance of virtue and can be faked with success (67). There are many ways to achieve these but the most effective are either bragging or getting a witness to brag for you (68). Another successful way is to smoothly switch sides in an argument when you know your side will lose, much like George. W. Busch did with Department of Defense funding.

Chapters 9, 10, 11

There are many ways to use pathos to make an audience feel what you want them to feel, which is the ultimate goal in order to persuade them. You can use their experiences as well as what they expect to happen, create a narrative to help your audience see what you are trying to convey, and using simple speech. This means that you don’t use large words and instead use everyday conversational words that the audience will feel comfortable with. There are other techniques as well, such as, using nostalgia, anger, patriotism, and lust to help persuade your audience towards action.

11. It is important that you are persuasive towards your audience, and not yourself. You do this in several ways. The first is by using commonplace, which is utilizing a viewpoint that your audience has in common. Commonplace is important because it is something that your entire audience agrees on. This does not necessarily mean that it is a fact or that it is true. By knowing the commonplaces of your audience before you begin, you are able to form your argument better to fit the beliefs of your audience.

12. You should make sure that place the whole argument within the bounds of your rhetoric. You do this by only using the terms and labels that you want to use in order to frame your argument in the appropriate light. You can do this in a number of ways, including:

Term Changing- Not accepting the terms that your opponents use, and instead create your own that fit your argument better.

Redefinition- You are able to accept your opponents terms, however, not what they mean. By doing this, you change the definition so that it may seem like you are agreeing with them,but you are really changing the definition for the audience.

You can also use your opponents terms against them if you are unable to flip them in a positive light for yourself. Lastly, you can frame your opponents argument in a negative light by using terms that contrast with your opponents.

Chapters 13, 14, and 16

1. Chapter 16 discusses the use of logos within an argument. This is not strictly the philosophical definition of logic, rather it is more focused around what your audience believes. For example, if something isn’t true but your audience thinks that it is, then it is considered truth. There are several different tools to use when employing logos. The first is deductive logic which is when you use a commonplace to reach a conclusion. Then there is enthymeme which uses deductive logic. An example of this would be “we should go to the park, because we will have fun.”.The next “tool” of logos is inductive logic, where you use certain circumstances to form a broad belief.

2. Chapter 14 deals with spotting numerous types of fallacies which could make your argument counterproductive. All of the fallacies simply come down to bad logic in an argument. One of the most common fallacies is that of false comparison. This is when someone believes that if two things are similar, then they must be the same. An example of this would beĀ  “Some natural ingredients are good for you, so anything called ‘natural’ is healthful.” There is also the red herring fallacy which is fairly common. In this fallacy, something is used to distract the audience from what the main argument is.

3. Chapter 16 discusses looking at who the rhetor is and what their intentions are behind it. He uses the example of a salesman selling his mother a pool table even though the family would never use it. The salesman used rhetoric to convince the authors mother that he knew what their father wanted, when in reality he knew nothing about him and simply wanted to make a sale. The chapter discusses strategies to spot this such as the needs test. To do this, you need to take a step back and ask yourself whose needs is the person meeting and then seeing if they agree with your needs. Another way is to see how the other person describes the opposing argument. Does their middle of the road and your middle of the road closely align?

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