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Test 1 Complete Notes (Got 89%)

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COMM 1010
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Test 1 Notes • Rhetoric =process of communicating ideas to achieve a desired result • Could be correlated with empty words, arguing a point, biased, not for the good of all, political, deceitful o Sounds relatively negative  Not supposed to be • Started in Greece and Rome to give regular people more power, solve disputes, land ownership rights, who’d serve in the senate, etc. o Moved from being a source of aid to a flowery form or speech that had very little content  interest in rhetoric declined  Representation of rhetoric = deceit • True essence of rhetoric = democracy  make better arguments to make best choice, change people’s perception o Rhetoric = means to avoiding violence • Tied disagreeing with someone to a personality flaw  not rhetoric (which it is) o Huge problem  Disagree, make rational arguments, make better choices • If we don’t talk about differences… o Silent when people that we disagree with are speaking and in staying silent, people assume we agree o Associate with people we agree with  Comfortable, hunt for comfort  Will never understand what life is like for anyone else • Principles on which our democratic society are built on disintegrate o Happening now  Huge risks to not saying what you think Definitions of Rhetoric • Single definition perspective o Donald Bryant (1953) = 4 components  1. Rhetoric = instrumental, like a tool • Used specifically to understand communication  2. Literary study • Looks at semantics  3. Philosophical study • Method of inquiry used to understand the world  4. Social study • Major force of behavior in society • Douglas Ehninger  systems perspective (1968) o Shouldn’t define rhetoric on what it does, but on its time period  1. Classical period • Arguments based out of Greece and Rome • Looks at style, delivery, and audience  2. British period • Focused on nature of the audience, looking in from the outside  Contemporary period • Identification, community engagement • Evolutionary Perspective o James Golden (1987)  One thing we should know about rhetoric is that it grows from itself • Example of Aristotle  Nothing is static, rhetoric is always evolving Characteristics of Rhetoric • Rhetoric is planned o Specific and strategic choices are made on how to interact • Involves audience  aimed at getting an audience to do something o Gain audiences’ compliance • Has motives  helps us accomplish tasks, rhetoric displays motives (hidden or clearly stated) o Motive = reason you do something • Responsive  addresses/responds to a problem or person • Persuades  entire aim of rhetoric is to persuade • Establishes trust  subjective, establishes trust in specific context • Addresses contingent issues  tries to deal with unforeseen events Rhetoric Manifests Characteristics • Relying on emotional appeal, using famous people, being simple or complex Aspects of Rhetoric • Action: virtual experience (sets up stories), explains, alters perception, initiates action/maintains action o Outcome: ideas are tested, advocacy is assisted, facts are discovered, knowledge is shaped, power is distributed, communities are built • Limits o Intention  what are other possible interpretations she’s sending?  Any message can be decoded multiple ways, some unintended by the speaker • Decode based on life experience, what we’ve been taught, what we can prove o Text type  Poetry, speeches, formal writing  not limited to text thought (dance, music, advertising, speeches, sports) • If it has a persuasive component and humans created it, it could be classified as rhetorical component • Rhetoric doesn’t need to be produced o Can just happen and we can rhetorically consider it Studying Rhetoric • Persuasion happens through our process of making meaning o When our understanding of “meanings” change, our view of anything associated with meanings change • Meaning is: o Symbolic  sign we socially agree on but doesn’t look like what it means o Iconic  literally looks like the thing it represents, or represents themselves o Indexical  all language is symbolic, no reason words mean what they mean except that we agree on what it means/represents  Tied sounds to meanings  Where there’s smoke, there’s fire  Waving = index of greeting • Language and symbols change over time o Fooling around with the meaning of words shows society’s power  “Bitch” • Power shifts  certain way you have to say it or who says it Ethics • Rhetoric = persuasion o What role does truth play in persuasion?  Character  Acts as guideline to ethical rhetors • Truth vs. ethics o Telling truth and being ethical and audience hearing different o No link between truth and persuasion • Ethics  where we say its ok to persuade and when it’s not ok o Matters how you perceive it  Pro-life vs. pro-choice  no way to tell which is right…choice in ethics • Don’t try to find truth  waste of time o Find best argument • Aristotle  skilled use of rhetoric used by unscrupulous is greatest danger o Figure out when rhetoric is being used for ethical/unethical purpose • “Ethos” means character o Honesty, integrity, good will, and intelligence o Exceedingly difficult to tell who’s ethical or not because different definitions of ethics  3 general types • 1) Teleological  interested in the outcome, not the means (Machiavellian) • 2) Kants Categorical Imperative  don’t do it if you can’t make it a universal law • 3) Deontological  if it’s against the rules, don’t do it Responsibilities as a Rhetor • Quintillion  ethical rhetoric is a good man speaking well o Problem = plenty of people who can speak well who we don’t know iff bad  Hitler  fantastic speaker who moved country (and world) to dessimation • Believed his own words and couldn’t tell he was bad  wasn’t deceptive o Flaw in Quintillion  if you speak passionately, it won’t be clear if what you are speaking is true or not • Observing and listening rhetoric  stop mindlessly consuming rhetoric, communication, rhetoric o Push back on concepts and ask if it’s ethical and true • Enacting rhetoric  value audience o Don’t trick, be honest, treat respectfully o Genuinely reflect selflessness and desire to help audience become better by making best decision possible Weaver’s Standards • Hierarchy of arguments o 1) Genus/definition best arguments made about nature/existence of things  Provable  guarantee they’re ethical o 2) Similitude  metaphors/analogies  Links us back to definition o 3) Cause and effect  slip into ethical concerns because doesn’t get back to basic premise of argument o 4) Circumstance  worst type  Only based in ideal/hypothetical situations • All language is persuasive  want to believe everything they say o Pseudo –neutrality is ethically suspect  no way to be neutral • Unwarranted shifts in meanings of words is ethically suspect o Keeps old word but applies new concept o Takes word out of context and put it in another to advance its ideology o “Liberalism” o “Born in the USA” • Communication which blurs necessary distinction is ethic
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