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Rhetoric - January 13.pdf

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Greig Henderson

ENG205: Rhetoric Language is always beyond the conscious control of the speaker or writer--major aspect of the rhetorical view. Discourse generates implications beyond conscious control. What we mean to say and what we think we're saying is often overshadowed by what our language says. What we say reveals truth.Anybody can skew referential facts, but it's harder to lie about what we're saying rhetorically. - rhetoric and reference often at war with one another - disconnect between message you think you're saying and what your words are rhetorically doing - e.g. Paradise Lost--Blake said that Milton was more invested in Satan than God - people who "protest too much" reveal things about themselves to their audience that they may not have intended Grammar is the logical expression of language--correctness and referential accuracy. However grammatically correct and referentially sound sentences may not be the most persuasive or best for a certain scenario. Sometimes, grammatically-incorrect utterances can have persuasive value--can be used to identify with a certain audience. Usage, and not meaning, is the most important thing. One of the most difficult things about the art of persuasion is knowing when and how to break the rules. Grammar is correctness, rhetoric is effectiveness. Rhetoric is the ability of speakers or writers to use the most efficient means of persuasion to achieve a certain purpose.All discourse falls within rhetoric, because all language is value- laden. Persuasiveness of the given--what goes without saying--these do not need to be argued for. Metaphors We Live By--book. The way that we see the world changes. We do not view the world the same way today as people viewed it in the past--we live by different metaphors. All vocabularies are vocabularies of motive.Away of saying is a way of not saying. "All seeing is seeing as." Vocabulary is a selection of reality, and must function as a deflection of reality. What we argue about a lot of the time is how accurately given vocabulary reflects reality. If you believe something and survive, the fact of your survival demonstrates the relative adequacy of your belief. However every terminology is selective. We see in terms of terms. Much that we take to be observations may just be possibilities implicit in the terms that we use. - e.g. Heart of Darkness--the way you approach it makes a big difference in the meaning you take away - different ways of looking at a text - all strategies of reading are learned strategies - no "natural" way of looking at a text - "the innocent eye sees nothing"--there is no untainted way of looking at things The observer is always part of what is observed. What is the advantage of a rhetorical perspective? It is just another perspective among others. The terminology of rhetoric equips you to look at certain things and dis-equips you from looking at other things. Every insight contains its own sort of blindness. Just like education--it gives us one skill-set at the expense of other skill-sets. The further you go, the more capacitated you become in one sense and the more incapacitated you become in other senses. Educated people know what they don't know. Education = sophisticated map of your own ignorance. Where there are no shared premises, argument is futile. Thus realm of rhetoric is the realm of the contingent. - e.g. abortion argument The honest rhetorician knows that there is no ultimate foundation for knowledge. No ultimate language or ultimate vocabulary; no view from nowhere that looks down and evaluates language unbiasedly. Rhetorical realism--everything is always, to an extent, constructed; however there is something out there that we are trying to represent. Just because there are no ultimate foundations for knowledge, doesn't mean that there are no foundations at all.As well, just because there is no ultimate language, doesn't mean that our codes don't overlap. "Truth, though one, has no single expression." Every piece of writing orients itself to a specific audience.All writing assumes and implies an audience. Rhetoric is meant to inform, persuade, or motivate an audience; the method being to find the most apt mode of persuasion and use that one. Logos, pathos, ethos. Logos = appeal to reason, appeal to argument, to example, to the substantial. Main tools are inductive reasoning (inferring from patterns; moving from specific to general), deductive reasoning (moves from universal to particular; looking at form of argument (syllogism), start with general argument and lead to specific example), or analogical reasoning (all legal reasoning; fact-situation in the past that resembles one in this case, look at what happened in the past and apply it to the future; argument from analogy). Pathos = appeal to emotion, imagery, or sentiment. Way of moving people, of getting them to feel something. Rationality is not always persuasive; emotion has a lot of traction as well. Involves the power of identification and dissociation. Identifying with the audience is key. Flip-side of identification is dissociation: sharing a common enemy. Very effective way of persuading people. Rev. Fred Phelps--Westboro Baptist Church. Scapegoating. Ethos = appeal to character, image, or expertise to the writer--the authoritative. Speaker aims for benevolence, intelligence, and virtue.Audiences tend to respond positively to people who are intelligent, fair-minded, and impartial. Don't think of it as a technique--product of the discours
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