Library Research, Essay Example
The ambition to present an effective argument, one that actually shifts opposition opinion, exists in virtually limitless numbers of human exchanges. Such an argumentative process occurs when governments seeks to secure support from citizens, as it does when citizens desire change from government. Then, the identical purpose is in place when an individual merely wishes to obtain a service or form of agreement from another. In these situations, combinations of emotional persuasion frequently eclipse rational discussion, or the latter is exercised to accomplish the purpose without the former. As research indicates, however, the process itself is best practiced when both elements are expressed. Reason and logic are powerful components in argument, as psychological and emotional appeals move listeners. Nonetheless, for argument to be ultimately both valid and effective, all the elements of logic, emotional persuasion, pragmatics, and psychological influences are necessary. Consequently, only through a mutually cooperative process of incorporating emotional and psychological appeals into fact-based, rationale reasoning may an argument be at its most effective.
It is essential, before examining the interactive nature of effective argument mentioned, that a sense of its varieties of intent be understood. Argument may certainly exist to determine a result or reach a conclusion, but it is equally important in less defined arenas of societal and human activity. More exactly, argument often exists to sway without having any definitive goal in view. This type is in place to move the listeners to a means of thinking or viewpoint formerly not entertained. The listener holds one idea; the argument opens expands the thinking to more than one. It may be that a definitive object is the ultimate aim, but it is consensus of a kind that is more immediately desired (Kiefer).
This in place, research overwhelmingly supports a multiple, or multifaceted approach, to argument. Moreover, to appreciate the history of this approach is to comprehend its universal relevance today. It may be said, in fact, that Aristotle first presented a model for argument based on emotional and rational appeals working in concert, as he developed the foundations for rhetoric. Ultimately, the rhetorical devices of logos, ethos, and pathos work together to make the argument substantive. Ethos reflects the identity of the persuader, rendering it trustworthy; pathos applies to emotional appeal; and logos addresses the need for the argument to conform to reason and logic (Orsinger). The effectiveness of this rhetorical approach, in fact, is illustrated when the components are viewed as acting independently. For example, employing only pathos severely limits the ability to persuade because listeners are likely to feel that they are being manipulated, and particularly when the pathos stresses how the listener should feel (Orsinger). No matter how susceptible people are to such appeals, they nonetheless evince wariness if no foundation of fact supports the ethos. Similarly, logos used by itself runs the very real danger of alienating the listener, because an emphasis on it indicates a lack of emotional commitment on the part of the one making the argument. In the same way, no argument can be successfully presented if it relies on the speaker’s ethos, as valuable a component as that is. When all the components of rhetoric are in play, however, no factor going to the listener’s perception is ignored. The mind is expanded, as the heart and soul are addressed.
The work of Carl Rogers, which actually combines logic and emotional appeal in a perfectly complementary manner, then takes Aristotle’s basic framework and “fine tunes” it. To begin with, Rogerian argument commences on a platform of neutrality (Kiefer). This must eliminate any bias as perceived by the listener/reader, as intended by the speaker/writer, so logic is served psychologically. Rogerian style never seeks to directly challenge existing ideas, but instead offers other ideas as equally worthy of consideration. Then, if it more emphasizes reason and seeks to distance itself from emotionally-charged points of view, it nonetheless appeals to emotion by this very approach (Kiefer). More exactly, in Rogerian argument, the party to be appealed to is initially validated. Where there is no overt challenge, there is no reaction of feeling challenged, so the listener is better engaged.
It should as well be noted that argument, certainly in today’s world, is seen as strategic communication, and extensive research traces its evolution in terms of governmental agendas. What the research reveals, in fact, is that such communication, upon which important policies rely, is beginning to be exercised in a way reflecting the rhetorical principles. More exactly, it has been determined that public acceptance depends a good deal on how the policy is communicated to the people, and that strategic communication is far more than the conveying of information. On any level here, it must persuade, in that the governmental action must seem desirable to the people in some way (Eemeren, Garssen 62). High-level officials are learning that the basics of argument, particularly as a complex interaction of rhetorical elements, are vital in translating policy. A genuinely rational, stirring appeal is then the thrust of the argument in these scenarios.
The impetus to persuade creates the impetus for argument. Argument, however, need not encompass dispute. An acknowledgment and respect for the view held by the listener may go a long way to actually altering that view, just as appeals to emotion are as important as persuasion based on evidence and reason. The arena is, again, complex, as multiple degrees of impact vary in every argument situation. What matters, however, is that each component of rhetoric has its place and its purpose within the situation. Reliance upon any single factor is likely to harm, rather than enhance, an argument, as research abundantly suggests. A mutually cooperative and exponential process, one incorporating emotional and psychological appeals into fact-based, rationale reasoning, creates the most effective argument platform.
Eemeren, Frans H. & Garssen, Bart. Exploring Argumentative Contexts. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co., 2012. Print.
Kiefer, Kate. “What is Rogerian Argument?” Welcome to [email protected]. Colorado State University. n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.. Retrieved from http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/co300man/com5e1.cfm
Orsinger, Richard R. “The Role of Reasoning in Constructing a Persuasive Argument.” Constructing a Persuasive Argument 1 (2011): 71. Print.
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