Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Notes for January 28

Toulmin and Logical Premises

I. Today we’re talking about argumentative structure, working to understand how arguments are built so that we can design counterarguments and rebuttals, weigh the evidence, and look for fallacies.

A. When we write to evaluate we are asking two kinds of questions: (1) What are the rules or the criteria that shape how we see a person, event, object, or issue, and (2) How do we support or make a case for particular criteria to be used in judging an artifact?

B. Understand the rules that we live in to gain a sense for how criteria work to shape expectations and judgments about how things should unfold.

C. When we talk about argumentation structure we are working with two overarching concepts: the notion of movement and the idea of rhetorical presence.

1. Toulmin articulates this idea of movement as an argument moves from accepted data, through a warrant, to a claim (Brockriede and Ehninger 102).

2. Rhetorical presence has to do with how the choices we highlight in building arguments make present particular elements of those arguments.

D. Aristotle’s concept of logos is the place to begin because he starts with the idea of probabilities or the realm of the contingent and intersubjective meaning to make arguments.

1. Hawhee and Crowley state, “Greek rhetoricians called any kind of statement that predicts something about human behavior a statement of probability (eikos)” (160).

2. Probabilities are based in human action/behavior and are therefore not reliable, predictable, or easy to calculate.

E. Aristotle discusses two types of reasoning: induction and deduction or in our terms: example and enthymeme.

1. Hawhee and Crowley talk about these two types of reasoning as two different “discovery processes” and directions.

2. Induction—inducere, to lead into--is reasoning from example—movement from particulars to universals.

3. Deduction—“to lead down”—“is a discussion in which, certain things having been laid down, something other than these things necessarily results from them” (162).

4. Enthymeme comes from the Greek thymos, “spirit,” the capacity whereby people think and feel” (166); there is shared knowledge between speaker and audience in enthymemes—we don’t have to state every premise.
5.“Enthymemes are powerful because they are based in community beliefs” (170).

II. Stephen Toulmin’s The Uses of Argument helps us to think through how to use some of these different reasoning processes.

A. Toulmin wrote The Uses of Argument primarily because he was concerned about the “isolation of logic and its virtual irrelevance to the problems of knowledge in most academic disciplines, and by its separation from practical reasoning that is essential in law, ethics, and daily life” (Bizzell and Herzberg 1410).

1. Toulmin comes up with his model to rival Aristotle’s syllogism, noting that everyday reasoning is more complex in structure than merely having major premises and minor premises.

2. As Wayne Brockriede and Douglas Ehninger note, Toulmin’s model is about movement from data to a claim through a warrant.

3. Claims, according to Toulmin, are conclusions in arguments; they are the explicit appeals produced by the argument.

a. Claims of fact: appeal based on what is or is not true—court of law.

b. Claims of value/judgment: what is right/wrong, good/bad, moral/immoral; Obama is (or is not) a better president than Bush.

c. Claims of policy/action: appeal to immediate action—sign this petition to stop pollution of the Puget Sound; action that is necessary, beneficial, or desirable; we should support legislation that will help to clean up Puget Sound.

4. Data answers the question “What have you got to go on?” thus data corresponds to what we commonly call evidence.

a. Evidence: brief or extended examples—examples used in inductive reasoning to build a case of particular to more general kinds of conclusions.

b. Fictional examples or stories add character and drama to arguments by illustrating specific parts of an argument.

c. The use of statistics or case studies are also helpful in giving breadth and scope to an argument.

5. Warrants are the part of an argument “which authorizes the mental ‘leap’ involved in advancing from data to claim; “Its function is to carry the accepted data to the doubted or disbelieved proposition which constitutes the claim, thereby certifying this claim as true or acceptable” (Brockriede and Ehninger 103).

6. There are three types of warrants: substantive warrants—ideas based on what is thought to be actual fact.

a. Chaim Perelman talks about associative reasoning: “schemes which bring together and allow us to establish a unity among them, which aims at organizing them or at evaluating them, positively or negatively, by means of one another” (qtd. in Hauser 269).
b. Dissociative reasoning: “techniques of separation which have the purpose of dissociating, separating, disuniting elements which are regarded as forming a whole or at least a unified group within some system of thought: dissociation modifies such a system by modifying certain concepts which make up its essential parts” (Hauser 270).

c. Dissociation works to drive a wedge between appearance and reality so that new worlds may come into being.

7. Ethical or authoritative warrant: you believe a claim to be true based on the authority of the author or person speaking; “ideas based on the credibility of the speaker or on the source of testimony offered by the speaker” (Hart 99).

8. Pathetic or motivational warrants: “ideas suggesting that some desirable end must be achieved or that some desirable condition is being endangered” (Hart 99).

9. Roderick Hart argues that the best way to get at these different pieces of argument is to follow these steps:

a. Isolate the Major Claims being offered by the speaker, keying particularly on repeated or re-paraphrased statements.

b. Isolate the Major Data presented, many of which (but not all of which) will be found contiguous to the Major Claims made.

c. Without consulting the message directly, isolate the range of warrants that could reasonably authorize data-claim movements.

d. Categorize these warrants as logical proofs, ethical proof, or pathetic proof.

e. Determine which of these warrants were explicitly supplied by the speaker and which were left unspoken.

10. Take time now to analyze Brewer’s arguments in “Fanatomy: As a sports town, we’re underrated.” What are his main claims? What does he use as evidence? Focus on the types of warrants: associations he creates, use of authority in his evidence, and the motivational or emotional appeals present in the language to describe the benefits of being a “sports fan.”

Weekly Writing Four


In 1-2 pages, analyze two competing arguments (two different positions/articles) surrounding your issue, briefly answering each question.

Toulmin Model: What is/are his/her 1) claims? His/Her 2) support? and His/Her 3) warrants (think about proofs, here, ethos, logos, and pathos)? Be sure to provide examples from the text (articles analyzed) to support your claims. I’m particularly interested in your analysis of his/her warrants and the assumptions that underlie his/her argument(s).
Due: January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Major Analysis Paper

Major Analysis Project: 20 points
CMJR 320/Persuasive Writing

Your Major Analysis Project should demonstrate your meta-knowledge of the course content. We focused so far this quarter on the various methods that writers/speakers can use in order to "persuade" their audiences to act, think, believe, and feel in particular ways.

For this project, you are conducting an extended analysis of an issue currently of concern to our culture or society. YOUR POSITION or OPINION, however, is not part of this assignment. Rather, you're concerned primarily with exploring 8 - 10 "texts" (verbal, visual, multimedia, etc.) that in some way address this particular issue. You do not need to get only texts that "argue" about the issue; you might also get a political cartoon or commercial that invokes aspects of the issue. Your 8 - 10 texts will help you to establish arguments, positions, and roles (defining the rhetorical situation) for your issue, demonstrating that the issue does, indeed, exist and is, indeed, relevant at this time.

The majority of your analysis, however, will focus on no more than four (4) of those texts, and you will do a complete rhetorical analysis of these four texts, paying attention to issues we discussed in class. Your goal is to demonstrate how these texts function rhetorically and why; you should also note when the texts seem to "fail" or "contradict" themselves or when their persuasive strategies are in jeopardy.

In this project, you are merely exploring HOW the arguments around your issue get made, WHO makes them, WHY they make them, and to WHAT EFFECT these arguments are made. You are not to include your opinions.

Final Projects should be at least six (6) pages in length and should not exceed ten (10) pages. Be sure to include a Works Cited page of the various articles/artifacts you cite/use in your analysis.

For this paper, please use four steps in your analysis outlined by Sonja Foss in her book Rhetorical Criticism:

Introduction (1/2 page): This is where you introduce your argument, stating your thesis clearly, and develop your justification for analysis of the particular artifact and/or issue chosen. Why does your artifact warrant analysis? Does the artifact have a large audience? Is the persuasive appeal unique? Is the persuasion part of a larger social pattern you wish to investigate? The four tenets of rhetoric should help you get at your justification for analysis. What advice is offered? Who is being addressed? What are the needs or the situation that bring this rhetoric into being? How is this meaning created and performed (i.e., style)?

History: Provide a brief background (1-2 paragraphs) of the artifact or issue your analyzing so we have some context to understand your criticism. Tell us about your speaker or about your issue and how she/he or it progressed through history. Foss provides a brief introduction to the Equal Rights Amendment in one of her papers, for example, but spends the bulk of her historical discussion in her analysis.

Analysis (4-5): Essentially, you’re identifying arguments within the text that support your overall thesis. Remember to provide specific examples from your artifact/text(s) to support what you’re saying; this means quoting from your messages, and then leading your audience through your interpretation of what sort of response this excerpt invites or seeks, and how it seems to be inviting or seeking that particular response.

Foss works with two perspectives of proponents and opponents to the ERA to discuss different rhetorical visions. For the proponents she crafts a vision of a grass-roots scene, effort, and people, where women are “standing at the gates of democracy” (135) and need support for this new entry into public life. Foss also argues that proponents of the ERA craft opponents as conservative, “evil,” and narrow-minded. Comparatively, she presents the opponents worldview “as it centers around the home” (141). Opponents also see supporters of the ERA as abnormal: militant, aggressive, masculine, and hateful of family and children.

Conclusion and Implications (1-2 pages): The conclusion is the “So what?” section. Wrap up your analysis by restating your argument and what we now understand as a result of your analysis. What are the key arguments? Where are possible places to enter into dialogue with advocates? What seem like impossible or irrelevant issues to debate?

Notes for January 21

Style and Arrangement

I. “In ancient rhetoric, arrangement primarily concerned two processes: selecting the arguments to be used and arranging these in an order that was clear and persuasive” (Crowley and Hawhee 292).

A. Kairos and arrangement or taxis—“originally used in military contexts to denote the arrangement of troops for battle” (293) go hand-in-hand; if we discover openings to arguments then we also are given clues for how to arrange proofs to make the most of these opportunities.

B. Understanding the needs of the audience is crucial to understand the “critical areas” where one can enter the conversation.

C. Discourse typically requires four parts: prooemium (introduction), narration (statement of the issue), proof, and conclusion (294).

II. First piece to consider is the Introduction—prooemium, including: (1) Exordium—Latin for “urging forward”—and in English, to exhort; Quintilian wrote that “the sole purpose of the exordium is to prepare our audience in such a way that they will be disposed to lend a ready ear to the rest of our speech” (295); (2) Narration—statement of the issue according to the type of claim you’re making: definition, value, or procedure (304); (3) Partition—name the issues in the dispute and/or list arguments to be used in the order they will appear.

A. An introduction considers the heart of what we want to say and then discovers ways to bring people to the table to hear our message.

B. The Exordium thus attempts to create an opening or begin conversation on an issue; Cicero argues that the exordia should be dignified and serious, which simply means that there must be continuity--clear connections--between the framing and the stating of one’s case.

How to begin the conversation? First consider position of the audience:

1. Honorable: speaker has immediate support from the audience.

2. Difficult: audience is unsympathetic to the rhetor or to the issues raised.

3. Mean: audience regards the rhetor of the issue as unimportant or uninteresting (mean signifies “insignificant” or “trivial”).

4. Ambiguous: audience is unsure about what is at issue; or issue is partly honorable and partly difficult.

5. Obscure: issue is too difficult for audience to understand, because they are uninformed or because it is complex.

C. If the case is honorable—there is immediate support from the audience then it is easy to introduce the topic “directly and in plain language making the audience well-disposed, receptive, and attentive” (296).

D. Insinuation requires the rhetor to give hostile audiences in relation to the rhetor or the rhetor’s position more consideration.

E. Therefore, in the introduction one needs to find ways to make the audience attentive and receptive, especially if the case is difficult, trivial, or obscure.

1. Topics for Making Audiences Attentive:
a. Show importance of issue
b. Show how issue affects audience
c. Show how issue affects everyone
d. Show how issue affects general good of the community

2. Topics for Making Audiences Receptive
a. Strengthen your ethos
b. Weaken the ethos of those who oppose the rhetor
c. Show respect for the audience
d. Praise issue or position while denigrating position of opponents

3. Topics for Insinuations:
a. If audience is hostile, admit difference of opinion
b. If audience is unsavory, admit this
c. If audience is tired, promise to be brief

F. Write a press release regarding Seattle University’s response to the earthquakes in Haiti.

1. A press release is designed to make available information to the media about an organization, person, or event; press releases also are about newsworthy material.

2. Press releases include an introduction, support for the main claim, and conclusion regarding the organization and final words about the main claim.

G. The second piece to consider in an argument is the narrative (statement of the case): “in the narrative, a rhetor states the issue as clearly and simply as she can” (303).

1. Definitive Narrative: shape how the audience defines a topic.

2. A Narrative about Values focuses on the characters of a story and attempts to shape the judgments of an audience.

3. Procedural narrative: narrating a case to emphasize action or the plot of a story.

H. How we narrate the case then brings the partition into being; a partition “can name the issues in dispute and it can list the arguments to be used in the order they will appear” (306).

I. The Arguments: Confirmation and Refutation: work with key arguments and anticipate opposing arguments.

J. Conclusion (peroration): Cicero argues that “a rhetor may do three things in a peroration: sum up her arguments, cast anyone who disagrees with her in a negative light, and arouse sympathy for herself, her clients, or her case” (310).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Notes for January 19


A. Kairos is a Greek concept that has to do with timing in relation to a rhetorical situation.

1. The Greeks had two concepts of time: chronos to refer to linear, measurable time, which we track with watches and calendars.

2. Kairos suggests a more situational kind of time, something close to what we call “opportunity” (Crowley and Hawhee 45).

3. Kairos, in contrast to the common places, is about process v. product; “kairos draws attention to the mutability of a subject” (47).

4. Additionally, we know two more things: (1) kairos is about the needs of those involved in the lived moment, and (2) kairotic moments change over time.

5. Kairos thus accounts for the contingencies of situations, one’s ability to respond to an audience’s particular needs in the moment, and then define that situation for the audience.

B. Rogerian argument builds on the notion of kairos, using the work of psychotherapist, Carl Rogers.

1. Carl Rogers perspective on psychotherapy imagines that one can build understanding by attempting to empathize with another, listening so well that what comes from the interaction may produce some sort of healing through the sharing of dialogue.

a. Mutual communication tends to be pointed toward solving a problem rather than toward attacking a person or group.

b. Argument is thus more of a collaborative enterprise and supposedly resists our tendencies toward polarization.

c. In public conflicts, Rogers would attempt to reduce tension and defensiveness by focusing on the environment, trying to produce a climate that would be favorable to problem solving (Teich 2).

2. Rogers’ views have been translated into argumentative strategies: a conflict solving technique based on finding common ground instead of polarizing debate.

3. Young, Becker, and Pike in their book Rhetoric and Discovery connect Rogers’ perspectives on psychotherapy with persuasive writing, and they suggest four strategies:

a. An introduction to the problem and a demonstration that the opponent's position is understood.

b. A statement of the contexts in which the opponent's position may be valid.

c. A statement of the writer's position, including the contexts in which it is valid.

d. A statement of how the opponent's position would benefit if he were to adopt elements of the writer's position. If the writer can show that the positions complement each other, that each supplies what the other lacks, so much the better.

4. Working with kairos and the principles of Rogerian argument write a letter to a friend or member of your family to take an issue seriously.

D. Public contexts: kairos “points to the situatedness of arguments in time and place and the way an argument’s suitability depends on the particulars of a given rhetorical situation” (Crowley and Hawhee 48).

1. To consider the kairos of an issue:
a. Get to know the history of an issue in order to understand what elements are on the surface and why.

b. Explore all kinds of perspectives on an issue in order to understand points of agreement and disagreement.

2. For Crowley and Hawhee, if the kairotic elements are not obvious we can ask questions like:

a. How urgent or immediate is the issue? Questions on page 52

b. What are the interests of those involved—values and assumptions--with an issue and why? What stake do you and they have in relation to the issue?

c. What are the power dynamics at work in issue?

1. Which arguments receive more attention?
2. Who is making these arguments?
3. What arguments receive less attention?
4. Who is making these arguments?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Notes for January 14

Common places and attitudes

I. Attitudes are according to Fishbein and Azjen (1975): “a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a given object” (Frymier and Nadler 22).

A. Attitudes provide a conceptual lens to see ideologies operating in discourse: Ideology is a “pattern or set of ideas, assumptions, beliefs, values, or interpretations of the world by which a culture or group operates” (Foss, Rhetorical Criticism 2nd ed., 291).

B. Attitudes function in five ways (Katz, 1960).

1. Attitudes reveal knowledge, what people know and believe about their world.

2. Attitudes reveal values: when we express our view of the world we are also giving expression to our values.

3. Attitudes are utilitarian: we develop attitudes that benefit us by allowing us to avoid negative consequences and achieve positive outcomes.

4. Attitudes have a social-adjustive function (Smith, Bruner, and White, 1956); we hold attitudes to better relate to those around us.

5. Finally, attitudes have an ego-defensive function, which means that we develop attitudes toward people, events, and objects that help us make sense of who we are and then protect that self or “save face.”

C. Crowley and Hawhee suggest that “using common topics and commonplaces to invent arguments” (140) requires that we pay attention to these different elements operating in the discourse.

1. Graff and Birkenstein suggest in They Say/I Say: “It is generally best to summarize the ideas you’re responding to briefly, at the start of your text, and to delay detailed elaboration until later” (19).

2. They have several templates for accomplishing this task: pp. 21-23.

D. Letters to the editor are brief 150-200 words, they make a clear claim at the start of the letter, the audience is the general public (newspaper and online readers), and the goal is to get at the common places around different issues reported in the news.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Weekly Writing Three

Working with the "Template for Introducing an Ongoing Debate" (TS/IS, p. 24), summarize an ongoing debate of your chosen issue, topic, or case. In your summary of the debate, introduce (that is, briefly describe as neutrally as possible) at least four of the key participants' positions on the issue. You will need to read several articles (3-4) on the issues to get a sense of the debate (e.g., news articles, editorials, etc.).

Please post to your blog by January 22, 2010.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Notes for January 12

Common places and Types of “Proof”

I. Common places have two different meanings: (1) specific procedure used to generate arguments, and (2) statements that circulate within ideologies.

A. Crowley and Hawhee discuss ideology in terms of “words about ideas” or “study of ideas.”

Ideology may also be defined as “a pattern or set of ideas, assumptions, beliefs, values, or interpretations of the world by which a culture or group operates” (Foss 291).

B. Ernest Bormann argues that we can discover ideologies and common places through understanding the ways people symbolically converge.

1. Symbolic Convergence is based on two assumptions:
a. Communication creates reality; symbolic forms are the organs of reality.
b. Individuals’ meanings converge to create a shared reality.

2. People who do not have a shared reality can literally create a common culture through symbolic forms, taking shape in social “dramas” or “stories” or “values.”

C. Commonplaces embrace the way we reason in relation to specific circumstances as well as what communal assumptions guide that reasoning.

II. There are three types of commonplaces according to Aristotle that are generalizable across contexts; Conjecture (past and future fact); Degree (whether a thing is greater or smaller than another thing); Possibility (what is and is not possible).

A. Conjecture: (past and future fact); rhetors use this type of reasoning to talk and write about the past in relation to what is happening in the present or what may be possible in the future.

1. Conjecture thus deals with:
a. What exists.
b. What does not exist.
c. The size or extent of what exists.
d. How things used to be (past).
e. How things will be in the future.

B. Degree: the common topic of greater/lesser--magnitude: “contemporary rhetors often try to establish that their position is good, just, honorable, or expedient” phrased in terms of its opposite values “what is bad, unjust, dishonorable, or inexpedient” (124).

1. Degree thus deals with:
a. What is greater than the mean or norm.
b. What is lesser than the mean or norm.
c. What is relatively greater than something else.
d. What is relatively lesser than something else.
e. What is good, just, beautiful, honorable, enjoyable, etc.
f. What is better, more just, etc.
g. What is less good, less just, etc.
h. What is good, etc. for all persons.
i. What is good, etc. for few persons or groups.
j. What has been better, etc. in the past.
k. What will be better, etc. in the future.

C. Possibility: the common topic of what is possible/impossible: “rhetors resort to the topic of possible/impossible in order to establish that change either is or isn’t possible, now or in the future” (Hawhee and Crowley 127).

1. Possibility thus deals with:
a. What is possible.
b. What is impossible.
c. What is more or less possible.
d. What is possible in the future.
e. What is impossible in the future.
f. What was possible or impossible in the past.

D. Sue Rahr editorial

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Weekly Writing Two

Weekly Writing #2 (1-2 pages): summarizing arguments and positions

Choose one article for this paper (opinion piece, journal article, blogs, documentary, news coverage):
1) Write a 100-word summary of the author’s argument, using as neutral language as possible. 2) Write a 100-word analysis, reading as a believer; suspend your skepticism, try to see things from the author’s point of view, attribute good faith to his/her motives, and try to hear what he/she is saying. 3) Write a 100-word analysis, reading as a doubter; bring all your natural skepticism to bear, questioning his/her values, assumptions, motives, and evidence (the common places/topics are helpful, here). 4) Finally, write a 100-word analysis of the rhetorical situation. Who is the author? What needs prompted the author to write the article/essay? To what conversations is he/she responding? What constraints does he/she write under? How does your knowledge of the author and the publication affect your reading of the essay?

Please post your paper to your blog and send me a copy by January 15.

Notes for January 7

What and Where is Argument?

I. Rhetorical argument for Wayne Booth in his book Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent: “the art of discovering warrantable beliefs and improving those beliefs in shared discourse” (xiii).

II. For Thomas Hollihan and Kevin Baaske in Arguments and Arguing Booth’s definition creates two “senses” or objectives of argument:
1. Argument is about effective decision making, and
2. Argument is about the achievement of social harmony.

III. So what makes “good argument”?

A. According to Timothy Crusius and Carolyn Channell in their book Aims of Argument: “argument is mature reasoning”—(1) defending not the first position you might take on an issue but the best position, determined through open-minded inquiry, and (2) providing reasons for holding that position that can earn the respect of an opposing audience.

B. Wayne Brockreide’s six principles regarding the scope and function of argument in “Where is Argument?”

1. One: Brockreide states that argument involves “an inferential leap from existing beliefs to the adoption of a new belief or to the reinforcement of an old one” (10).
2. Two: Argument involves a perceived rationale to support that leap (10).
3. Three: Argument involves a choice among two or more competing claims (10-11).
4. Four: Argument is a regulation of uncertainty (11).
5. Five: Argument involves a willingness to risk confrontation of a claim with peers, and Six: is a frame of reference shared optimally (11).

IV. There are different ways to put together arguments, designed around particular goals (Roen, Glau, and Maid, The Brief McGraw-Hill Guide: Writing for College, Writing for Life).
A. Writing to Convince:
B. Writing to Evaluate:
C. Writing about a Creative Work:
D. Writing to Explain Causes and Effects:
E. Writing to Solve Problems:

First Exercise

In a single paragraph, first summarize briefly (in a couple of sentences) what argument authors Graff and Birkenstein make about academic writing in the introduction of their text, They Say/I Say; then summarize very briefly (again, in a couple of sentences) what you take my argument to be about rhetoric in my Course Description of CMJR 320; and finally, in a few sentences, discuss what overlap might exist between their argument about academic writing and my argument about rhetoric.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weekly Writing One

For this first essay, in one to three pages apply the four rhetorical tenets to Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention Address. What is her advice to her audience? What kinds of stylistic choices does she make, and what is the impact of these choices? Who is her audience and what are their concerns? What are the needs of the audience that bring her speech "into being?" This first writing is due Friday, January 8 by 6 p.m., posted to your blog.

Here is the link for Michelle Obama's speech: