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PHC | Rhetoric | Rhetoric Lecture Notes

COMM 110 Lectures


I. Housekeeping chores: Read chpts. 1 & 2

A. Course Structure

1. Policy Sheet (If they're late, see me after class)

a) a little about me

1) my style (coach/instructor)

2) my idiosyncracies

2. Textbook

3. Establish office hours

4. Syllabus

a) desired atmosphere

b) shedule speech dates--no conflicts

c) The rationale for the course structure.

i. Everything works together--it is a unified whole.

5. Use the objectives to motivate them and set the tone.

II. Set the Tone

A. The objectives

1. Think more clearly

2. Speak more effectively

3. Listen more perceptively

B. This is a distinctly human art.

1. Thus the "Humanities"

2. Wayne C. Booth quote--"The knowledge a man must have."

3. The ancient concept of "excellence."

a) The "rational animal"

b) We are also a social creature.

C. What you'll get here is a set of tools for thinking about, speaking about, and evaluating ideas.----"The unexamined life is not worth the living."-Plato.

1. Don't believe a word I say--check it out for yourselves.

2. Take away excuses--(read Cardinal Newman.)

a) Liberal/Industrial/practical arts

b) Return to the objectives and cap it off.

D. Hand out Isocrates’ Antidosis.

III. Assignment: Tomorrow; Define public speaking and think up a simile. (ie, "Public Speaking is like . . . .")

Introduction to Speaking

Housekeeping chores: Read Chapters 4 & 5.

Assignment: Personal Attitude Speeches

A. Purpose




B. 2-3 min.

1) Watch time limits

2) Practice!

EXERCISE: Pair off. Everybody introduce their partner,(Major, where they are from, etc. ) then define public speaking, what it is like, their interests, and some topics they would like to learn more about.

(Preview of today's lecture.)

I. Rationale for the course structure.

II. Introduction to Speaking

A.Remind them of the key points from the motivational talk.

B. We are talking "Art of Speech-making"

1. Intuition vs. art

a) Why I like this course.

b) A nice blend of theory, application, practice.

2. Joseph Dunne’s definition of technef:

Techne is “The kind of knowledge possessed by an expert maker; it gives him a clear conception of the why and wherefore, the how and the with what of the making process and enables him, through the capacity to offer a rational account of it, to preside over his activity with secure mastery” (Joseph Dunne: Back to the Rough Ground. University of Notre Dame Press, 1993: p. 9).

trans: To excel in a field you must first examine its parts, so . . .

III. The Five Classical Canons.

A. Five Canons of Rhetoric

1. Invention- "What can I say?"

a) the actual practice of coming up with good ideas.

b) while researching, decide an "angle."

c) narrow the topic

2. Dispostion- "How will it make the most sense?"

a) organizing the material logically.

i. Plato's "clever butcher"

ii. "Can you see the value in this stuff?"

3. Style- (Text calls it "elocution") "Where is emphasis needed?"

a) Ornamentation.

b) Orchestration or Rhythm

4. Memory- "How can I remember the main points in order to make the speech flow?"

a) not memorization

b) mnemonics

5. Delivery- "Given this speaking situation, how might I most effectively deliver this message?"

a) Physical aspects- gestures, movement, eye contact

b) Vocal aspects- pacing, articulation, tone of voice.

B. To the classical mind, rhetoric was a way of looking at a matter with a view of persuading others toward it.

IV. Summarize

A. Drill

B. Mention exiV to help "tie it all together."

Initial Preparation

I. Stage fright

A. Tips for dealing with it. (See text pp. )

1. Deep breathing

2. Imagine pleasant thoughts.

3. First date/first speech analogy. (It's not usually as bad as you imagined.)

B. It's normal

1. "Pre-game jitters"

2. Learn to channel it

II. Criteria for Speech topic

A. Ask yourself:

Is it of interest to me?

Can I find literature on it?

Can I narrow it enough?

Does it have an inherent element of conflict, suspense, humor, etc?

Is it too abstract?

B. Try to do something original

1. List the old "dead horses."

2. You will always be rewarded for taking a risk.

III. Thesis statement

After you've picked a general subject and a specific purpose, you need to formulate a thesis.

1. It sets the parameters for the speech.

2. It is contractual.

3. Provide a sample introduction.

IV. Body of the speech

A. Assertion, support, transition.

B. We'll get into that in detail later.

V. Informative vs. Persuasive speaking

VI. Supporting Evidence

A. Source credibility

1. Personal credibility

2. Recent?

3. Publication's reputation

4. Solicit some from the class

B. Sources for supporting evidence

1. Personal knowledge

2. Interviews

3. Mags, books, Vital Speeches of the Day

4. Newspapers

5. Infotrac

6. Write for information. DO IT NOW !!!

-Encyclopedia of Associations

7. Stress the use of Gov't. documents.

VII. Bibliography as you go.

A. It's very time consuming to go back later.

B. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.

VIII. Drill for summary.

IX. Preview next lecture.

Organization and Outlining

Housekeeping chores--Assign Policy Speech Series.

PREVIEW the lecture.

What do we need to know for this next speech? [Organization, etc.] Right, so let's get going . . .

I. Three main parts of a speech

A. Introduction

1. Gain attention

2. Sets the tone

3. Provides a preview

a) thesis--"there are three types of motorboats"

b) preview--". . . which are: inboard, outboard, and jet."

B. Body

1. Assertion, Support, transition (HIT ON IT HEAVY!)

2. This is where you are going to say what you want to say about your topic.

a) demonstrate, on the board, where each of the three falls on an outline.

b) teach subordination of thought.

C. Transitions are a key element of a good speech.

1. Tie main points together.

2. Make the speech flow.

3. The paradoxical function of transitions

4. I know you're getting good when your transitions are crystal clear.

D. Conclusion

1. Purpose

a) summarize

b) provides unity

c) Close the speech with decisiveness

2. Ways not to end a speech!

a) "Thank You"/Divebomber/ Porky Pig techniques

b) Do not devalue your speech.

E. Outlining

1. Subordination

2. Provide examples of a complete sentence outline and a bibliography.

II. Extemporaneous vs. Memorized speaking

A. Extemp speaking style is what we're looking for.

1. Work from speaker notes--2 cards only.

2. No reading speeches!!!

3. Communicating with the audience vs. reciting a speech.

B. How to do extemp speaking:

1. Be familiar with your topic.

2. Practice.

III. All work is typed.

A. Complete sentence outlines for each speech. (Handout example)

B. Bibliography of all sources with informative speech. (Draw example on board.)

C. Why?

1. This is a University.

2. Forces you to a higher level of preparation.

3. Gives us a means of checking for plagiarism.

--Group excercise. Break into three groups, then have each group formulate a particular policy question for Abortion, gun control, or Seattle's busing problem.

Give Them Something to Shoot At!!!

How to use

Supporting Materials


Housekeeping: Read chpt 11.

Lecture Preview

I. 4 Secrets to Using Materials Effectively

A. Choose the best evidence for support.

1. only use direct quote when it is more succinct than you would be. 2-3 lines max.

B. Elaboration is the key to making your speech "come alive."

1. Paint the audience a picture--in technicolor!

a. How big is a budget deficit of $4 Trillion? (time of Christ, $250, 000/hr.)

b. The Great Wall of China is 1, 500 miles long. so what? how long is that?

C. Say more about less!

1. Don't simply ramble on with endless data.

a. elaborate through examples, analogies, etc.

b. hit the crucial points--FOCUS.

D. Always tie support back to your points.

1. Don't just "throw it out there."

2. A good speaker knows how to apply the information in a way which enhances the argument. Where's the impact of this point? Why are the numbers significant?

3. Explain the implications of what you are telling me--in other words, make the connection, don't assume the audience will follow you. (provide an example from the class of someone who made their statistics "come alive.")

4. Dead speeches are BORING!

III. Credibility

A. Source credibility.

B. More later on personal credibility.

Rhetorical Criticism

Before starting this lecture: Return and troubleshoot topic ideas.

Housekeeping Chores--

-Assign Rhet crit.

-“I Have A Dream” example


I. The Practice of Rhetorical Criticism

A. Look at the speaker. "For what?"--solicit responses.

1. credibility

2. presence

B. Listen

1. Analyze the substance of the speech.

a. Use the classical canons. (after all, it is a tool!)


What was the subject under discussion?

What was the speaker's position?


How was the material organized?

How well was it organized?


What types of arguments did the speaker use?

Did he use them well?

Does the speech flow well?

Is the speaker's analysis coherent?

2. Present an overview of the arguments.

a. Use the term topic speeches as an analogy.

1) A criticism will contain miniature versions of each.

2) General information, some analysis, plus arguments.

b. Support your arguments with specific examples from the speech.

1) Difference between an A & B paper--specificity and clarity of thought.

2) Argue three points well.

3. Show and discuss “I Have A Dream.”

II. Summarize through drill / Preview next lecture and assign reading.

Analysis of Controversy

Housekeeping chores:

Give a broad overview of the course for continuity's sake. (Tie back to first couple of lectures.) Remember, we're "cultivating our intellect" (a la Newman.)


A. How to identify "clash" in a controversy. The list of potential issues that can be brought forward in a speech is limitless. You must limit yourself to a few issues. The really critical issues.

1. Here's a tool.

2. Disagreements usually arise along these standard issues--thus "stock" issues.

a. Problem--Is there a problem in the status quo?

How signinficant is it?

b. Cause--Is the present system to blame for the problem?

What is the obstacle preventing change?


c. Cure-- Is it workable? Does it actually meet the need?

d. Cost--Is the cure feasible? Is the plan cost effective? Will the benefits outweigh the cost?

B. A pure clash between the aff. and neg. would be where the aff. says "yes" to each stock issue.

1. Solicit a controversy from the class.

2. Walk them through it.

C. Remember, I said real analysis takes place below the surface.

1. Demonstrate where the real clash is.

2. Bring each side's assumptions to the surface and place them on the examining table for all of us to see.


II. Categorical syllogism:

All A are B.

C is an A.

C is a B.

The classical one is:

All men are mortal.

Socrates is a man.

Socrates is mortal.

A. Aristotle's definition of "syllogism":

Pr. Analytics 24b.20--"discourse in which, certain things being stated, something other than what is stated follows of necessity from their being so."

1. (eg., All UW students are skiers.

Hubert is a UW student.)

2. When these propositions are combined, what "necessarily follows" from their being stated thus?

a) Obviously a third propostion, which asserts that "Hubert is a skier."

b) (Now "disect" syllogism, teach its parts, and apply this knowledge to the task at hand.)

B. Syllogisms aid in identifying assumptions and checking conclusions.

1. Here's how--

a) They must be formally correct.

1) Major premise, Minor premise, conclusion. 2. Major term, middle term, minor term.

b) John Jones, Math 101. (etc.)

1) Validity vs. Truth

i)You may have an argument that is based on valid form-- relates to logic. Is it true, though?--relates to evidence. If your argument has valid form and the evidences are true, the argument is sound.

2) Eg. of a false Major premise:

All animals are carnivorous., Cows are animals., Therefore, etc.

2. Walk them through a bunch of syllogisms. Have them identify the correct conclusions.

3. Summary through drill.

4. Activity:

a)"Supply the missing proposition . . ." Everyone together.

Transition--OK, now you know the basic rules of syllogism. Why is that important? Right ! . . .

Here is another very critical point to understand:

C. "Enthymeme" vs. "Syllogism"

1. Weaver quote:

Since a great many of the world's arguments appear in the form of enthymemes, it is of great value to acquire some facility in expanding the enthymeme into a complete syllogism. Then, whether or not we shall be persuaded by the argument will depend upon whether or not we accept both of the premises. And even if we can accept both of the premises, we must be able to see whether the conclusion emerges in accordance with the formal rules of the syllogism.

2. Use the "Tallmon" model to demonstrate how to identify an assumption.

The Toulmin Model.

GROUNDS ---------------> CLAIM





3. When someone gives you a claim about something, it must have some grounds.

"What are the grounds of your argument?"

a) the grounds are the facts of the matter.

b) The claim is a conclusion arrived at from the grounds.

c) The warrant is an idea or generalization which helped you arrive at that conclusion.

REMEMBER. . . this is very basic stuff.

I can drive a Ford. therefore, I can drive a Chevy. (Begin here)

(fact) (conclusion)

Why? because,

automobiles are alike! (basic, out-of-discourse assumption)

D. Why mess with this? (tie it into the Policy speeches)


grounds ---------------> claim

________ shot an | The arrow will land

arrow in that direction | somewhere over there.

| "OK, ask me the big question!!"



What goes up must come down

E. Key Critical Questions

You discover what is below the surface by asking "key critical questions."

  • "Why?" "Who says?" "Compared to What?" "What do you mean by that?" Solicit them.

2. Why is that so useful?

a) That is the level at which real analysis takes place. Maybe they based their argument on a bogus assumption.

b. Abraham Lincoln's argument against slavery.

III. CLOSURE!!!!!!!!

A. Make a direct application for the value of equiping oneself with the ability to zero-in on what is not being said.

B. Summarize by tying in to our definition of critical thinking.

Transition: ("What do we do with an assumption once we find one?")

Fundamentals of Style

I. What were some of the rhetorical aspects that we were looking for?

II. What do these have to do with rhetorical potency?

III. Teach the Five Canons.

A. Highlight how the bulk of this class has to do w/ invention.

B. Also, focus on style.

C. Especially the appeal to imagination.

IV. Integrate Ethos, Pathos, Logos with the Five Canons.

V. Faculty Psychology/ Bacon’s definition of rhetoric.


A. Tie all of this to the upcoming Persuasive Policy Speech.

B. A word on building lines of argument.

1. As opposed to spewing data.

2. Need for appeal to the “whole man.”

3. Rhetoric studies the means by which we move the whole man.

VII. Give them the glossary.

VIII. Watch “Gettysburg Address.” (Discuss the schemes and tropes)

IX. Hand out “I Have a Dream.”

A. Work as partners to find and discuss as many of them as possible.

B. Compare the way you listened to the speech earlier and now.

X. Close class by covering the assignment prompt.


I. Set the tone--"this speech is worth 20 %--it can really help or hurt."

A. Preview lecture.

B. Review--this will tie everything together.

II. Intro to Persuasion

A. Not half of a Policy Analysis Speech

B. Read from Rhetorica to set the parameters for the lecture.

1. What is a faculty? . . . hexis.

2. persuasion/coercion dichotomy--vital in a free society.

III. Modes of Persuasion--Aristotle asked himself, “How is it that we humans persuade one another?”

w -> A. ETHOS--"Credibility"

h 1. good will eg. Bill Cosby/Lee Iaccoca

o 2. good sense

l -> 3. good moral character "believability"-"Yeah, dat's da ticket!"


B. PATHOS--"Motives"

-> 1. Correct appeals to audience values and emotions.

m 2. Talk about the "strategic pause." eg. Nietzche--"Sick are they always, they vomit

a 3. Examples of Balance from speeches. their bile and call it a newspaper."

n ->

(Cover the assignment, explain why Logos is a whole lecture.)


(Review and tie-in to Ethos/pathos)

C. LOGOS--"logical appeals."

-> 1. Good reasons--"Why should I agree w/ you?"

2. Dialectic--What to do with assumptions once you find them.

a. Begin with an assumption. (proposition, assertion, statement, etc. )

b. Push it to its logical conclusion. (Key questions.)

c. Apply the law of contradiction.--Metaphysics: 1011b

(eg. Carneades' three proofs of free will. Elaborate!)

3. Common material fallacies.

a. Define "Fallacy."

1. Illogic passed off as true.

2. Error in thinking.

b. Relationship to persuasion:

Logos (Obvious relationship)


fallacies -

Pathos (Trying to substitute an emotional response where an intellectual response is appropriate.) Ethos (Ethos drops if you're caught in a fallacy)

c. "I'll make a statement, you guess the fallacy !"

d. Types: (Write each on board.)

1. Non-sequitur - "It does not follow" (Illogical leap.) I've read dozens of detective novels, therefore, I'd make a good detective.

2. Unrepresentative generalization- "I've interviewed 300 students who believe Pres. Reagan was lying, therefore, most Americans believe he was lying."

3. Hasty generalization- A pit-bull bit my uncle's cousin, therefore all pit-bulls are vicious.

4. Either/or- This fallacy abounds in our society. Very simplistic way of

(False dilemma) viewing the world. Hiroshima/Nagasaki--"Either we drop the bomb over a Japanese city OR 30 million Japanese and 1 million troops will die. (The alternative that they did not consider was to drop the bomb over the ocean as a demonstration of its destructiveness.)

5. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc- (after this, therefore because of this) Asserting causality without proving it. This is the fallacy behind most superstitions. Proving a causal relationship involves much more than this. The rooster crowed then the sun came up. Therefore, the crowing of the rooster caused the rising of the sun.

(solicit others)

6. Complex question- "Have you stopped beating your wife?" classic example. No matter how you answer it, you're in trouble. Why? The question itself is founded upon a presumption, (you are beating your wife,) so that one cannot answer it simply without admitting something which may be untrue. Lawyers often entrap witnesses with such questions. The way to expose the fallacy is to demand that the question be divided into its parts so that they can be answered separately.

7. Begging the question-The arguer assumes as true what he ought to be proving true. Racist books like Twain's Huckleberry Finn should be banned from all public libraries.

8. Ad hominem-(to the man) Nixon is a crook, therefore we should not even listen to his foreign policy advice.

9. Ad populum- (to the multitude) Exciting the audience by use of a "buzzword." (eg, "Facist," "Racist," etc., ) Misuse of Pathos--illegitimate appeal to emotions.

10. Red herring-Skirting the issue by changing the subject. Escaped prisoners from Norway would go to a market, buy a red herrring and drag it across the trail to throw the dogs off the track.

11. Appeal to ignorance- The accused person cannot prove their innocence, therefore they must be guilty.

12. Faulty analogy- (comparing apples to oranges.)

13. Straw man- Oversimplifies the opponent's argument to the point that little or no effort is required to knock it down. Regardless of one's feelings about their opposition, their arguments must be treated seriously and ethically.

14. Slippery slope-implies an inevitable slide to "who knows where". Imagine standing on the muddy bank of a river. You start to slide and, before you know it, you're in over your head. Pandora's box. Do not confuse with legitimate arguments from precedent.

e. Dialectic and the Common Material Fallacies are tests for truth.

4. Sources for arguments.

a. Testimony

b. examples

c. statistics

IV. The assignment

A. Take a strong stand.

1. Policy vs. value topic--(convince vs. persuade.)

2. Get below the surface.

3. Specific appeal to action.

a. Why? Because the end of persuasion is action!

B. Review by drill.