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RhetoricalDevicesPart 2
Thesedevices are more obscure thanthe typicalallusion, personification or metaphor.
Rhetorical Questions
These questions aren’t asked with the intention of eliciting a response, rather, they’re there to cause the audience to question the other side – and, in turn, accept yours. They attract the audience’s attention and gain interest because the audience supplies the answer“How many times do I have to tell you to do your homework?” does not invite a response.
One can see the effectiveness of arhetorical questionin this famous examples from Sojourner Truth’s speech “Ain’tI a woman?”“Thatman over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! Andain’tI a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! Andain’tI a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! Andain’tI a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! Andain’tI a woman?”
Writers who smoothly incorporate the words of others into their works will seem more credibleIf an author is arguing over an issue that confuses you, and he or she offers quotes from individuals who seem qualified to understand the matter, you’ll be more likely to believe themOne note: If the author cites people that seemunqualifiedto comment on the issue at hand, the quotes canunderminetheir credibility.
Deductive Reasoning and Syllogism
Deductionis the process of moving from a formally stated premise (or premises) to a logically validconclusion.Thismeans that writers must move from general descriptions to specific or particularconclusions. Theprocess allows writers to lead their audiences down a specific rhetorical path – until they “logically” reach the same conclusion as the author!
Syllogismstarts an argument with a reference to something general and from this it draws conclusion about something more specific.Example:We start with a general argument “All men are mortal,” we know that “John is a man” so “John is mortal.” It is a deductive approach to reason and is based on deducing specific conclusions from general facts.We notice in the above example that Syllogism is a three-part set of statements;a major statement or premise,a minor statement or premise anda conclusion that is deduced. Therefore, “All men are mortal” is a major statement or premise which stands as a general fact. “John is a man” is minor statement or premise that is specific and “John is mortal” is the logical conclusion deduced from the two prior statements.
These are fundamentally flawed arguments thatcannotbe defended logically.Instead of the “if p, then q” or “if not-p, then not-q” style of argument, fallacies fall into a “if p, then q…if not-q, then not-p” form – they’re backward!In order to use a fallacy for maximum effect, a writer must convince the audience that his argument isnotflawed, and that his illogic is actually logical.Ex: “If we guillotine the king, then he will die.Therefore, if we don't guillotine the king, then he won't die.”
This refers to instances when writers shift the meaning of an important word in the middle of an argument.The reason that the distinction between “creative” and “creativity” is important – one refers to something that the artists can do, while the other dares them to do something that they aren’t qualified to perform!It’s a fairly sneaky way of making an argument or charge – which is why it’s usually effective
Either/Or Fallacy
Simply put, this is when people ignore the nuances of life – when they assume that extremes are our only choices instead of recognizing multiple possibilities.Ex: “People are either inherently good or evil.” Do good people behave well at all times? Is an evil person incapable of positive action?
Presenting situations as “all” or “none” usually results in an invalid argument; there are usually exceptions that need to be considered.Overgeneralization saps an argument of its effectiveness.
Begging the Question
The fallacy of begging the question occurs when an argument's premises assume the truth of the conclusion, instead of supporting it. In other words, you assume without proof the stand/position, or a significant part of the stand, that is in question. Begging the question is also called arguing in a circle.Examples:Erica: "How do you know that the bible is divinely inspired?" Pedro: "Because is says right in the third chapter of II Timothy that 'all scripture is given by divine inspiration of God.'"Thoughts are not part of the physical world, since thoughts are in their nature non-physical.Happiness is the highest good for a human being, since all other values are inferior to it.Of course smoking causes cancer. The smoke from cigarettes is a carcinogen.
Argument Ad Hominem
Ad hominemrefers to “attacks against the person.”It’s an attempt by the writer to distract you from the issue at hand by focusing instead on the credibility of his or her opponent.This technique is usually used by authors who cannot win a debate based on the soundness or logic of their position; it’s a last-gasp effort to convince the reader to join their side, rather than convince them that their side is the correct one.
Subordination and Coordination
Subordinationindicates that one clause (Clause A) is more important than another (Clause B)Coordination, on the other hand, indicates that both clauses are equally important or independent of oneanotherYou can usually detect whether a clause is subordinate or coordinate bythe presence ofthecoordinating conjunctionsfor,and,nor,but,or,yet, orso.
This refers tothe repetition of words or phrases that have similar grammatical structures.Theoverall effect is one of emphasis, and often makes a writer’s argument seem morestructured.Parallelism is popular in proverbs and idioms, as the parallel structure makes the sayings easy to remember and more rhetorically powerful.
There are many famous quotes thatshowparallelism:“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” —Dalai Lama“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” —Dale Carnegie“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” —Winston Churchill“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” —John F. Kennedy“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ― Bernard M. Baruch
Some Other Terms
Logos: Appealing to one’s reason or logicPathos: Appealing to one’s emotion or pityEthos (Credibility),orethical appeal, means convincing by the character of the author. We tend to believe people whom we respect. One of the central problems of argumentation is to project an impression to the reader that you are someone worth listeningto.





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Rhetorical Devices - My Teacher Site