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CHAPTER 3 TRADITIONAL, ARTISTIC, AND HUMANISTIC APPROACHES TO PERSUASION

ARISTOTLE AND PLATO


Laid much of the foundation for what we know as persuasion. Aristotle, for instance, presented and taught first to present a unified theory of persuasion. His ideas, introduced in Ancient Greece, have served communicators for countless centuries. Most of ideas can be adapted to contemporary persuasive efforts. While they did not address how to deal with powerful leaders who oppress their people, his ideas do recognize the importance of segmented audiences, and the importance of customizing persuasive messages to match the needs of different audiences (p. 72). There types of persuasive speaking situations or contexts he had in mind: 1. 2. 3. Political (also known as deliberative) - designed to prove that some future action should be taken (think debates in legislative assemblies, such as the current debate as to what to do about the rising national debt.) Forensic designed to prove that some past action has occurred (e.g. a criminal trail that takes place in a court of law). Ceremonial (also known as epideictic) praise or blame a person or event (e.g. funeral or inauguration).

In the time of Aristotle, speakers had to create much of their proof from the world that existed around the audiences--there were not research studies, no government reports, no facts at their fingertips. Thus, Aristotle assume that listeners would hold many ideas in common (as you may know its much harder in todays world to find that common ground Aristotle knew to exist in his day.) Even so, Aristotle taught his students (who would go on to careers in public office and law), the importance of finding common ground with the audience. He said that speakers should promote things that will bring happiness to the audience, promote their need for independence, and prosperity, and their desire to secure their property. The importance of friendship, health, reproduction and honor, fame and virtue were other proofs he encouraged. Aristotle believed that the any persuader in the aforementioned contexts could be successful if he or she utilized the following elements or proofs: Ethos: a persuaders credibility; composed of intelligence, virtue (character) and goodwill (does the audience trust the speaker?). Pathos: persuader attempts to understand audience emotion to affect audience emotion. Logos: the use of logical argument in persuasion; based on evidence and reasoning (logic).

As noted in your text, they remain remarkably current today (see pages 7376) Ethos: Credibility is based on the perception of the audience; before one speaks, he or she will construct an image of the persuader--height, weight, clothing, etc. goes into this. However, ones image or reputation is not just based on these rather superficial markers. His/her goodwill toward the audience, and his character, his or her attachment to morality and virtue matters greatly (How many elected officials have been re-elected in the modern age after we called their character or goodwill into question?) Pathos: is usually evident through the speakers delivery of the message and the language that can tap into deep seeded desires, emotions, etc. As noted on page 77 of your text, Aristotle recognized that word choice is part of the success of a persuasive strategy. The language has to be appropriate to the context and situation (e.g. notice politicians increased use of words like freedom and terrorism in their election bids after 9/11). Pathos (continued): Plato emphasized the importance of using such language devices as metaphor in conveying information to the audience, capitalizing on ones strengths and pinpointing the weaknesses of an opponent. Metaphor: Using metaphor, a persuader can compare things that are, on the surface, different, yet have something in common. Metaphors, if used creatively, work because they help the audience see relationships between ideas they havent considered. Under Web Links on our MyState page, I provided you a audio clip complete with the full text of his speech) to show you the use of metaphor at work in persuasive speeches. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s I Have a Dream speech is perhaps the most famous contemporary example of metaphor. His metaphor of a collective dream should be understood beyond its literal meaning. In that speech, his dream is a representation of peace, equality, and harmony. (To hear the speech, youll need to scroll down and click, Audio MP3 of Address.) Ive also uploaded a clip from a speech given by then Texas Governor Ann Richards at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, in which she made several humorous references to then President George Bush (the first one, of course, not the second). Richards was known for her sharp humor, but what else makes that comment work? Perhaps her relaxed delivery and rapport with the audience? Or appeal to the working class values of the American people? or her ability to establish common ground with convention attendees? Both, I think, are good examples of the importance of pathos in a persuasive attempt, so be sure to check both of those speeches out (Im not sure if youll be able to see the Richards speech in its entirety, but youll get the idea Pathos continued: Now, one can go to far in their delivery, and the audience can usually tell when ones emotional appeal goes too far. Howard Deans bid for the 2004 Democratic Presidential nomination was killed by his overthe-top delivery of a speech given at the end of the 2004 Iowa caucuses (in which Dean finished third). Had it not been for this speech, we might have been addressing him as President Dean. Ive uploaded that speech, too, under Web Links. While his emotion was not alarming to those voters that were there, the perception of that clip, played over and over again on the 24/7 news channels, certainly affected Deans credibility.

So, you can see how ethos, pathos, and logos are not mutually exclusive categories--one affects the other! Logos: is an appeal to audience intellect, or to the rational side of our natures. This appeal relies on the speakers ability to construct a rational argument (based in evidence) and the audiences ability to process that evidence to arrive at some conclusion. Enthymeme is a common form of reasoning used by persuaders. Ethymemes follow a line of logic called syllogisms, which are built on a major premise (a statement, built on evidence, that is widely supported by the audience). If the major premise is not accepted by the audience, then the argument will not work and the speakers credibility and goodwill will be affected. Then, once the speaker is convinced that his or her major premise has been accepted, the speaker moves to the minor premise, a more detailed statement that connects the major premise to the conclusion the speaker wants the audience to draw. An abbreviated example of such an appeal might look like this:

Major premise: Excessive grease and fat in the American diet is a leading cause of heart disease. Minor premise: Much of the fast food we eat contains excessive amounts of grease and fat. Conclusion: Therefore, eating fast food can contribute to one having heart disease. Aristotle and Plato As noted in your text, substance, an appeal to logic and reason was important to Aristotle (again, see pages 73-76 for more details on ethos, pathos, and logos). Plato was Aristotles mentor; for all of Aristotles work in persuasion, he did not give much application to the pursuit of truth, as Plato did. His work should be considered a counterpart to Platos dialogic approach, in which one (Aristotles) largely considered audience and context, and the other, a pursuit of truth. Now, Plato believed that truth could only be arrived at through dialogue or the dialectic method, a form of discussion in which parties respond to questions from the other parties involved. The question asked defined the terms of discussion, and the answers introduced the issues at hand. This was followed by cross-examination. In the end, a resolution would be derived at with each side having a deeper understanding of the other. Platos method promoted discovery and public discourse, and in his day, this method was used to begin a dialogue about such important issues as slavery (although they certainly weren'tt settled then.) A cross-examination in a trial or a political debate has its roots in Platos dialectic method. See pages 78-79 for more information. Scotts Epistemic Approach

Platos dialectic method present a view of truth that we might call Big T, in which absolute truth, Plato said, does exist and is simply hidden. The dialectic method, then, will uncover it. Robert Scott, a contemporary rhetorical scholar, disagreed; with his epistemic approach, Scott said that truth is not an objective package. Truth, he argued, is never certain--it is a process of constant discovery, not something we can possess. Knowing, then, is more than just possessing facts; it is full of eureka moments we encounter in life, and countless discoveries we make during life. Think about your quest for knowledge as you finish your current degree. Scott would argue that your quest for truth would not end when you are handed your degree, but a lifelong process that you continue on your quest to be the best person you can be. So, Scotts approach to persuasion is a more personal one, a more interactive approach between one person and another as the first person goes on a lifelong journey of knowledge. With that said, why has Aristotles model been more influential? See page 80 for the answer. Burkes Dramatistic Approach According to Burke, language can reveal the attitude of that persuader prior to his/her action. Language, then, is strategic and has several other features that give it power:

(1)The negative: According to Burke, the negative is the act of saying something is not something else. Human beings have a complex language systems that allow us to make distinctions between different concepts, thus giving language its inherent power. (2) Hierarchy: Our language creates hierarchies because we use language to distinguish between people places and things, and according to Burke, one word has a higher standing than another (think of the classifications in college--freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior). (3) Perfection: the desire of humans (including persuaders) to take ideas and actions to its extreme. (Consider the words used in advertisements: fastest, strongest, best). (4) Guilt: Our desire for perfection (success) as well as where we may place in a specific hierarchy, may cause us to experience guilt. As a result, Burke says we use language to manage that guilt. (5) Identification: the primary function of language is to create identification between persuaders and audiences (persuaders also use language to create guilt in its audiencesbuy this product or you wont look your best). Burkes Dramatistic Approach The last one, identification, is the one discussed in your textbook. Adversely affected by the events of World War II, Burke focused his scholarship on the things that can unite, and not divide, us. He places the persuasive act, then, as part of a larger context, and its impact on the community. From his perspective, persuasion was a performance, made up of interactive parts that cannot be separated. Those interactive parts he called a pentad, and it is a study of the motives of the persuader:

(1) Act: a description of what takes place (an attempt to persuade, for instance);

(2) Scene: the background and context of the act; (3) Agent: the person performing the act; (4) Agency: means of accomplishing the act (language, the media, etc). (5) Purpose: why is the act being performed? Burkes Dramatistic Approach In his scholarship, Burke did draw parallels between the dramatic play and persuasion (see page 82). The pentad emphasizes the relationship between persuasion and the audience, and the idea that persuasion is found in the relationship between the actor and the larger context of persuasion (including the audience) itself. See pages 80-82 of the text for more information. Do you see any practical use of Burkes ideas to the study of persuasion? Fishers Narrative Approach Fishers ideas challenged the rational world paradigm which assumes that human beings base their decisions on arguments and evidence. Fisher, instead, promoted a narrative paradigm, which promoted the human experience as well as formal logic in a persuasive campaign or speech. A narrative is a story, and Fisher claims that humans are storytellers--and that we are constantly choosing and evaluating stories (e.g. closing arguments in a jury trial). In fact, our lives can be considered one long narrative, with plots, characters and other attributes of a good story. Humans respond to symbols (including language), and symbolic structures like narratives help us see the world through a persuaders eyes. Example: how many times do we hear the narrative of a Presidential candidates life when he/she is running for office? That narrative plays a role in his/her credibility as a candidate. Fishers Narrative Approach Narratives cut across a broad part of the human experience (or a good persuasive narrative should); they appeal to our feelings and our imaginations, and they should lead to a common world view. Fisher proposed that narratives as part of the persuasive process would succeed or fail depending on their coherence or fidelity.

(1) Coherence: the degree to which the story is consistent. Is it logically organized and told? (2) Fidelity: Is the story realistic? Is it the kind of thing that could really happen or did happen?

Analyze the Richards and King speeches according to these two concepts? Are the narratives in those speeches successful for their time, in that they are coherent and realistic? Do the meet Fishers three standards for fidelity? See pages 82-84 for more information. Power-Oriented Perspectives: Feminism and the Environmental Movement as Examples Persuasion is often used to challenge the position and power of the status quo, and the abuse thereof. Understanding the persuasive attempts of groups other than those in power (which history shows to be those of a WASP background) is important as we navigate this multicultural world.

The Womens Movement: Feminist criticism represents a part of the womens movement that examines the ways in which women have been oppressed, and looks to change the power relations between men and women. Feminist criticism looks at how women have been, and continued to be portrayed in the media (and the stereotypes that exist there), and how language and discourse continues to be dominated from the perspective of men. Feminism continued

In advertising, for example, women continue to be the object of sexual desire, especially in ads in which the core audience is men. The clich, sex sells, then, is not just a saying--it demonstrates the lengths that a male dominated advertising industry will go to to sell its product. The objectification of women, in most cases, is second nature, as is the language we use to devalue strong women who object to such images (bitch etc.). The ad in the next slide reinforces some of the above points. Youll see that the print ad (which came from Seventeen magazine) is for a brand of blue jeans, but what else is it selling? Persuaders need to understand and be attuned into the types of messages they are sending women, and how it can be more respectful to this growing political demographic. This requires much analysis and listening to womens needs, concerns, and values. See pages 84-86 for more information. Seventeen magazine ad for JLO jeans Power-Oriented Perspectives: Feminism and the Environmental Movement as Examples

The Environmental Movement: this movement, which attempts to halt mans continued overuse (some say abuse) of the Earths natural resources has picked up steam over the last decade. Over the last two decades, a growing amount of scientific evidence has supported the idea of global warming and the need to go green, but the dominant paradigm (still supported by millions of people) is that global warming is a falsehood. Those involved in the environmental movement have, for decades, tried to find a way to counter the status quo regarding the environment (which includes our ambivalent attitudes toward the environment. Perhaps the movements most powerful persuasive campaign came in the 1970s. Cut and paste the link below and watch the PSA (public service announcement), which was part of the Keep America Beautifulcampaign. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7OHG7tHrNM

What concepts from this chapter apply to this famous PSA? For further thinking and analysis of the issues brought up in this chapter, see the Questions for Further Thought on page 90.