Posts Tagged ‘rhetorical analysis’

  • 2006-07 Winner: “Persuasion for a Better Cause” by Ashley Thoreson

    Date: 2008.05.21 | Category: Selected Essays | Response: 0

    “Persuasion for a Better Cause” by Ashley Thoreson PDF

    Alan Gross, professor of rhetoric at the University of Minnesota, proposes two types of rhetoric that authors use to strengthen their arguments: logos and pathos.  These rhetorical strategies can be found in many articles, including those of scientific texts.  While scientific texts are thought to be objective, the presence of these rhetorical strategies is proof that most texts are actually subjective. Logos is an appeal to logic through the use of facts including mathematical, scientific, or statistical data to support an argument. Pathos is an appeal to emotion.  These two rhetorical strategies are effectively used in Peter Piot’s piece in Scientific American titled: “AIDS: A Global Response.”  In the article, Piot argues that there needs to be a shift in focus on research and funding from developed countries to developing countries regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic currently affecting the entire globe.  This paper will first address how through detailed statistics regarding the spread of the disease, Piot convinces readers that their attention needs to be refocused to stopping the spread of HIV in developing countries.  Then, I will address how through pathos, Piot communicates a sense of urgency to his readers and involves them personally in an issue that they are geographically detached from.  This is significant because it opens up the genre of scientific writing to subjective arguments; the article wields both facts and appeals to emotion in order to reprioritize scientific research.

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  • 2005-06 Winner: “Give Me Technology: Rhetorical Strategies in Scientific Writing” by Mark Sena

    Date: 2007.02.21 | Category: Selected Essays | Response: 0

    “Give Me Technology” by Mark Sena PDF

    In order for scientific breakthroughs to directly impact the general public, abstract ideas, theories and discoveries must be effectively transformed into real technologies which, when applied, benefit everyday life. Similarly, scientific literature uses the conventions of rhetoric to translate sheer unintelligible data into a wide understanding of its meanings and implications.  The public’s complete awareness of innovative science is necessary for its acceptance and incorporation into daily life.  As technology progresses from initial discovery to real world application, its broadcast through various forms of literature changes as well. Experimental scientists, writers of academic journals, and the media work together in a network to increase science’s comprehensive scope.  The communication of new ideas is dependent upon this network of writers.  At one end lie the scientists who are responsible for developing experiments, collecting data, interpreting it, and then formulating conjectures and conclusions from their research.  At the opposite end of the spectrum lie the journalists and reporters who focus their writing on the significance and implications of new science for the public.  Each group has a different persuasive purpose and caters to a vastly different audience. In order to relay information accurately from their sources to their readers, these groups employ appropriate modes of rhetoric in their writing. Rhetoric serves as a translational tool that modulates the information that a writer takes in and recasts it for a specific reader.

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  • 2002-03 Winner (Third Place): “The Science of Science”* by Nicholas Astete

    Date: 2003.07.13 | Category: Selected Essays | Response: 0

    “The Science of Science” by Nicholas Astete PDF

    “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

    Isaac Newton, who in 1676 wrote this sentence to colleague Robert Hooke, has himself become a giant in the eyes of the scientific community.  With keen intellectual insight, Newton made huge advances in the sciences—particularly by developing the particle theory of light and discovering the laws of physical motion and universal gravitation.  Alan Gross, however, would object to Newton’s “insight,” contesting his purported “discovery.”  While discovery implies apprehending the objective workings of nature, Gross in “Rhetorical Analysis” argues that “the claims of science are solely the products of persuasion” (389).  Newton is a giant, he would say, because of his eloquent yet invented arguments.  However, the act of rendering all scientific endeavors to rhetoric and persuasion is not something uncontroversial.  Though science is certainly linked with argumentation, this doesn’t give it license for speculation.  A scientific theory is not a stick man supported solely by its proponents’ glib tongues.  Rather, even the most beautifully constructed theories must cede to experimental data because science at its core demands rigor and specific, testable claims.

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