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The listener, viewer, or reader of a text. Most texts are likely to have multiple audiences
An acknowledgment that an opposing argument may be true or reasonable. In a strong argument, a concession is usually accompanied by a refutation challenging the validity of the opposing argument
Meanings or associations that readers have with a word beyond its dictionary definition, or denotation. Connotations are usually positive or negative, and they can greatly affect the author’s tone
The circumstances, atmosphere, attitudes, and events surrounding a text
An opposing argument to the one a writer is putting forward
Greek for “character.” Speakers appeal to ethos to demonstrate that they are credible and trustworthy to speak on a given topic
Greek for “embodied thought.” Speakers appeal to logos, or reason, by offering clear, rational ideas and using specific details, examples, facts, statistics, or expert testimony to back them up
time and place a speech is given or a piece is written
Greek for “suffering” or “experience.” Speakers appeal to pathos to emotionally motivate their audience. More specific appeals to pathos might play on the audience’s values, desires, and hopes, on the one hand, or fears and prejudices, on the other
Greek for “mask.” The face or character that a speaker shows to his or her audience
Greek for “hostile.” An aggressive argument that tries to establish the superiority of one opinion over all others. Polemics generally do not concede that opposing opinions have any merit
The spread of ideas and information to further a cause. In its negative sense, propaganda is the use of rumors, lies, disinformation, and scare tactics in order to damage or promote a cause
The goal the speaker wants to achieve
A denial of the validity of an opposing argument. In order to sound reasonable, refutations often follow a concession that acknowledges that an opposing argument may be true or reasonable
As Aristotle defined the term, “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” In other words, it is the art of finding ways to persuade an audience
rhetorical appeals
Rhetorical techniques used to persuade an audience by emphasizing what they find most important or compelling. The three major appeals are to ethos, logos, and pathos
rhetorical triangle (Aristotelian triangle)
A diagram that illustrates the interrelationship among the speaker, audience, and subject in determining a text
Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, and Speaker
The person or group who creates a text
The topic of a text - what the text is about
While this term generally means the written word, in the humanities it has come to mean any cultural product that can be “read” — meaning not just consumed and comprehended, but investigated
Repetition of the same sound beginning several words or syllables in sequence
Brief reference to a person, event, or place (real or fictitious) or to a work of art
Repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines
Repetition of words in reverse order
Opposition, or contrast, of ideas or words in a parallel construction
archaic diction
Old-fashioned or outdated choice of words
Omission of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words
cumulative sentence
Sentence that completes the main idea at the beginning of the sentence and then builds and adds on
hortative sentence
Sentence that exhorts, urges, entreats, implores, or calls to action
imperative sentence
Sentence used to command or enjoin
Inverted order of words in a sentence (variation of the subject-verb-object order)
Placement of two things closely together to emphasize similarities or differences
Figure of speech that compares two things without using like or as
Paradoxical juxtaposition of words that seem to contradict one another
Similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses
periodic sentence
Sentence whose main clause is withheld until the end
Attribution of a lifelike quality to an inanimate object or an idea
rhetorical question
Figure of speech in the form of a question posed for rhetorical effect rather than for the purpose of getting an answer
Figure of speech that uses a part to represent the whole
Use of two different words in a grammatically similar way that produces different, often incongruous, meanings
ad hominem
Latin for “against the man,” this fallacy refers to the specific diversionary tactic of switching the argument from the issue at hand to the character of the other speaker
ad populum
(bandwagon appeal) This fallacy occurs when evidence boils down to “everybody’s doing it, so it must be a good thing to do”
appeal to false authority
occurs when someone who has no expertise to speak on an issue is cited as an authority
A process of reasoned inquiry; a persuasive discourse resulting in a coherent and considered movement from a claim to a conclusion
begging the question
fallacy in which a claim is based on evidence or support that is in doubt. It “begs” a question whether the support itself is sound
circular reasoning
A fallacy in which the writer repeats the claim as a way to provide evidence
Also called an assertion or a proposition, a claim states the argument’s main idea or position
claim of fact
asserts that something is true or not true
claim of policy
proposes a change
claim of value
A claim of value argues that something is good or bad, right or wrong
classical oration
Five-part argument structure used by classical rhetoricians. The five parts are: introduction, narration, confirmation, refutation, conclusion
introduction (exordium)
Introduces the reader to the subject under discussion
narration (narratio)
Provides factual information and background material on the subject at hand or establishes why the subject is a problem that needs addressing
confirmation (confirmatio)
Usually the major part of the text, the confirmation includes the proof needed to make the writer’s case
refutation (refutatio)
Addresses the counterargument. It is a bridge between the writer’s proof and conclusion
conclusion (peroratio)
Brings the essay to a satisfying close
closed thesis
a statement of the main idea of the argument that also previews the major points the writer intends to make
a logical process whereby one reaches a conclusion by starting with a general principle or universal truth (a major premise) and applying it to a specific case (a minor premise) The process of deduction is usually demonstrated in the form of a syllogism: major premise: Exercise contributes to better health. minor premise: Yoga is a type of exercise. conclusion: Yoga contributes to better health.
either/or (false dilemma)
A fallacy in which the speaker presents two extreme options as the only possible choices
faulty analogy
A fallacy that occurs when an analogy compares two things that are not comparable
first-hand evidence
Evidence based on something the writer knows, whether it’s from personal experience, observations, or general knowledge of events
hasty generalization
A fallacy in which a faulty conclusion is reached because of inadequate evidence
From the Latin inducere, “to lead into”; a logical process whereby the writer reasons from particulars to universals, using specific cases in order to draw a conclusion, which is also called a generalization Exercise promotes weight loss. Exercise lowers stress levels. Exercise improves mood and outlook. generalization: Exercise contributes to better health.
logical fallacy
Potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses in an argument. They often arise from a failure to make a logical connection between the claim and the evidence used to support it
open thesis
a thesis that does not list all the points the writer intends to cover in an essay
post hoc ergo propter hoc
This fallacy is Latin for “after which therefore because of which,” meaning that it is incorrect to always claim that something is a cause just because it happened earlier. "Correlation does not mean causation"
uses words like usually, probably, maybe, in most cases, and most likely to temper the claim, making it less absolute
quantitative evidence
Quantitative evidence includes things that can be measured, cited, counted, or otherwise represented in numbers — for instance, statistics, surveys, polls, census information
a rebuttal gives voice to possible objections
explains the terms and conditions necessitated by the qualifier
Rogerian arguments
Developed by psychiatrist Carl Rogers, based on the assumption that having a full understanding of an opposing position is essential to responding to it persuasively and refuting it in a way that is accommodating rather than alienating
second-hand evidence
Evidence that is accessed through research, reading, and investigation. Includes factual and historical information, expert opinion, and quantitative data
straw man
A fallacy that occurs when a speaker chooses a deliberately poor or oversimplified example in order to ridicule and refute an idea
A logical structure that uses the major premise and minor premise to reach a necessary conclusion major premise: Exercise contributes to better health. minor premise: Yoga is a type of exercise. conclusion: Yoga contributes to better health.
Toulmin model
An approach to analyzing and constructing arguments created by British philosopher Stephen Toulmin in his book The Uses of Argument (1958). The Toulmin model can be stated as a template: Because (evidence as support), therefore (claim), since (warrant or assumption), on account of (backing), unless (reservation)
the warrant expresses the assumption necessarily shared by the speaker and the audience