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Rhetorical Foundations of Communication

by: Duncan Bradtke

Rhetorical Foundations of Communication COMM 3300

Marketplace > University of Colorado at Boulder > Communication > COMM 3300 > Rhetorical Foundations of Communication
Duncan Bradtke

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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Duncan Bradtke on Thursday October 29, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to COMM 3300 at University of Colorado at Boulder taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see /class/232036/comm-3300-university-of-colorado-at-boulder in Communication at University of Colorado at Boulder.


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Date Created: 10/29/15
COMM 3300 Lecture 21 PASSIONS Introduction A Passions are a central part ofour social and political lives B Problem of the passions Big question Is there any sense in which the emotions can be admitted into the arena of human discourse without resulting in irrational and reckless decision making C Holistic view of human responses to discourse emotions and reason are somehow integrated emotions are patterns of response D Ideas to be developed 1 Cognitive theory ofemotionsemotion is related to thought 2 Emotions are a necessary part of the holistic pattern by which we process and respond to our experiences 3 Question is not whether emotions are engaged but whether appropriate emotions are engaged so that we may make sound decisions 4 Since emotions can be evoked by language they tend to be unique to the circumstances of their arousal ie the are specific to the given case Thus the concern of a rhetorical perspective on emotions is with how the are brought about through the use oflanguage ll Emotions are signi cantly related to thought A We commonly talk ofemotions as ifthey were separated from us Common misconceptions 1 Myth of commodities We speak of emotions as if they were material objectswe keep them in storage bins and tally them on accountants ledgers o pentup love or anger o stored resentment 2 Myth of passive receiver Emotions are outside us and they are inflicted on us Here39s Robert Solomon a philosopher describing how this myth gets into our talk In place ofthese largely pushpull perspectives rhetoric holds an active view ofemotions and of the audience who experiences them In a rhetorical view unlike that of its cousin propaganda the audience is regarded as capable of reaching a judgment it isn39t a clump to be molded but a participant in the active process of creating social meanings and actions B Emotions and thought are integratedconsidered from an Aristotelian point ofview Aristotle writing in the 4th century BC has some sharp observations about persuasive communication 1 Audience response to a message is a central part ofthe persuasive process Hence it is important to considerthe bases for human response if we are to properly form our persuasive or rhetorical efforts 2 While in matters of science and criticism it is important that we behave as rational creatures this is not necessarily the de ning feature of human behavior in practical affairs In addition to being rational animals humans also are psychological animals C Human responses to practical matters are not made solely on the intellectual merits of the propositions under deliberation Eg Whom shall I marry 1 Practical decisions are influenced by our desires and appetites quotThe person I am with must make me feel worthyquot or quotThe person I marry must have an exciting personalityquot These are subjective states having more to do with our personal psychological traits than with any objective and rationally determinable set of conditions in the world 2 Aristotle saw such matters as evidence to say that humans were desiring animals and appetitive animals as well as rational ones 3 Our desires and appetites express themselves not only in terms of our physical needsfood shelter sexual releaseand psychological needs love security selfesteembut also in terms of our values Eg Having found your mate do you marry or live together If you marry is it because you value the ceremony or are you doing this for your parents And will it be a civil ceremony or a religious one and if religious whose religion All of these are matters of value 4 Aristotle believed that the satisfactiondeprivation of desires and appetites place us in a particular psychological state or disposition a Ourjudgment on practical matters is influenced by our psychological disposition b From a rhetorical perspective this view of emotions indicates that it is imperative that a communicator who intends to influence the thinking and actions of others bring them into a realtionship with the object of attention forthem to judge properly ie judge the matter in a way that supports your objectives 0 This relationship can be expressed in the form ofthe practical syllogism in which Major premise is usually a self report quotI39m the type of person who drinks water when thirstyquot Minor premise is usually a state of affairs in the environment quotl39m thirstyquot Conclusion is usually some form of appropriate action relating the state of affairs to the selfstate reported in the major premise You go to the water fountain to get a drink Summarize Humans are a complex animalsthey are guided by reason appetites and desires Appetites and desires in uence our practical conduct Appetites and desires also are expressed in our values Appetite and desire satisfactiondenial influences our psychological disposition to respondourjudgment on practical matters Therefore the relationship between the receiver and the object of attention will have a profound in uence on the judgments reached lll Aristotle39s logical considerations for an understanding how the emotions enter into the persuasive process Def Emotions are those things attended by pleasure and pain by which judgments are altered A He tells us there are three points to be determined in the analysis of any emotion and to be tended to in arousing them 1 What are the dispositions of persons prone to feel these emotions 2 For whom are they felt 3 Under what circumstances and conditions are they felt B These three considerations each play a different role in causing an emotional state Aristotle had a causal view of nature We explain the state of nature by examining the causes that bought a particular condition into being materia cause out of what is it made the From what nal cause for what end the For what efficient cause by what agent the By what Applied to the emotions 1 Material cause refers to a conscious state of pleasure or pain Those states wherein we experience pleasure the physical pleasure is the matter causing the emotion the From What 2 Efficient cause refers to an end or goal or tendency Those ends which are the objective ofthe emotion cause it draw it toward completion They are the For What 3 Ef cient cause refers to thought judgment or assessment that brings about the pleasure or the pain The By What Because the ef cient cause is a thought emotion is not irrational In sum Aristotle tells us that the three causes of an emotion are a thought a bodily feeling and something you want to do about it How to use this theory C Cognitive theory maintains that our emotions are aroused by our thoughts to arouse the emotions in an audience you need to encourage it to think in a particular way to change an emotional response you need to change the way the audience thinks about the referent you change a thought by making arguments and building narratives that engage the audiences frame ofreference in a new relationship one which their own experiences help them to verify and complete Eg Big bad Rhonda IV PATHOS AND PERSUASIVE REASONING Aristotle39s analysis suggests that emotions re ect judgments hence their cognitive status A A rhetorical perspective views emotions as interpretations or judgments not free oating but are about something or someone Have referents and express judgments about them they refelct a judgment as expressed by the idea of the practical syllogism see above Eg Ferguson Mall Syllogism 1 leads to objective decision that this is not a sound proposal lfwe cover the ground with pavement there must be suitable drainage for the water runoff The Jones site does not have suitable drainage We ought not to build a Mall there Syllogism 2 Same fact construed differently I39m the type of person who believes children ounght not be endangered This Mail will endanger our children l39m angered by this proposal This syllogism implies a rejection ofthe proposal but it is couched in a sub39ective judgment about the proposal The practical syllogism expresses a selfinvolving relationship to the object that is re ected in the concluding judgment Not all judgments involve emotions but all emotions express judgments whose particular character is to be selfinvolving B Judgments reflect criteria these criteria pertain to the future and involve selfesteem When we experience emotions we have thoughts about something that arouses feelings of selfinvolvement We form a judgment about a subject object relationship from which appropriate actions necessarily follow C Each emotional experience is in some way unique we do not have the emotion love but a certain type of love toward a speci c person It39s different every time They may have generic labels but they are speci c to the given case In other words memorizing a list ofemotions is less important that understanding the process whereby they are being evoked and experienced in a particular case D Emotions are dependent on language in other words we can have sign responses like other animals to danger say and take ight But language or a symbol system if you prefer makes it possible for us to create selfinvolving relationships that lead to judgments Objective data may be construed in entirely different fashions leading to different emotional states because they are interpreted in differeing fashions with respect to the self E Emotions are experienced in eventful ways They occur in time with respect to a referent they are situation speci c or unique to the con guration ofelements that de ne the given case they are judgments given meaning in language and they culminate in acts that express these judgementssometimes in ways that terminare the episodes of which they are a part In other words emotions are interpretive evaluations about some state that exists in terms of how we think things ought to be and the further actions to which these tend Lecture 20 ETHOS quotPersuasion is achieved by the speaker39s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think hum credible We believe good men more fully and more readily than others this is true generally whatever the question is and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided his character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion he possessesquot Aristotle Rhetoric 121356a412 l HISTORICALLY TWO VIEWS OF ETHOS 1 owned 2 created an attribute ll Aristotle held that Ethos was an artistic mode of persuasion along with logos and pathos That means it created by the speech itself lll Aristotle identi ed three components of ethos quothabits of mindquot 1 intelligence quotmental habitsquot phronesis 2 virtue quotmoral habitsquot arete 3 good will quotemotional habitsquot These traits suggest that there is a moral dimension to ethos These are not necessarily personality traits but character traits IV Discussion of the Clinton speeches V Issues for rhetorical theory 1 How does a positive judgment of speaker credibility come about 2 How do we know when a speaker is lying or isn39t behaving credibly


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