Dr. Lee McGaan  

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Fall 2016 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30 - 10am, 11am - Noon & 1 -2pm TTh:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2016

Ethics, Audience, Field

       Ethics - What is moral or right in argument

Brockreide's Metaphor of Rhetor's

  1. Arguer as "Rapist"- treats opponents and receivers as objects to be manipulated for his own ends.  The rhetor presumes his own superiority and ignores the humanity of others.

  2. Arguer as "Seducer" - treats opponents and receivers as means to obtaining his own ends (objectifying).  The rhetor ignores the needs of others and operates by charm or deceit.

  3. Arguer as "Lover" - treats opponents and receivers as companions with whom a long term (mental) relationship is being developed.  The rhetor recognizes the humanity of others and operates with respect and openness to others.

Basic Elements of Ethical Argumentation

    1. Provide relevant grounds for your claims
    2. Do not lie, distort or take material out of context.
    3. Do not knowingly reason fallaciously
    4. Do not ignore counter evidence or hide it
    5. Do not hide your motives
    6. Do not intimidate, silence or objectify opponents
    7. Do not make arguments personal or take responses personally
  • Audiences As in all communication, argumentative messages must adapt to the audience and purpose (as well as thesis and other contextual variables)

    1. Audiences vary in such characteristics as age, gender, affiliations, social and economic background, education and intelligence, culture. These characteristics may cause people to evaluate arguments differently.
    2. Chaim Perelman describes a way of designing arguments for the universal audience, basing arguments on fundamental principles of reasoning and evidence (e.g. use of objective facts, application of formal logic, etc.). This is the approach of COMM 335.
  • Fields Fields are topics or areas of concern which we recognize as using specific, consistent kinds reasoning. (e.g. law, politics, biology, literature, economics, etc.)
    1. All academic enterprise is argumentation. Thus, disciplines are argumentation "fields"
    2. So are the professions (law, politics, science, etc.)
    3. Fields are defined by the traits of
      1. having consistent patterns of arguments
      2. preferred (field specific) warrants

Last updated 9/2/2008