Letter from birmingham jail
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Letter from Birmingham Jail. Who is the speaker? Who is the audience?. Example 1. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. says, “I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ? ”.

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Letter from Birmingham Jail

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Letter from birmingham jail

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Letter from birmingham jail

  • Who is the speaker?

  • Who is the audience?

Example 1

Example 1

  • In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. says, “I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ?”

Letter from birmingham jail

  • Claim (main idea):

  • Extremism is not a negative thing.

  • Support (evidence of main point):

  • Paul was an extremist.

  • Warrants (underlying assumptions):

  • His audience is familiar with Paul’s teachings.

  • His audience respects Paul.

  • Extremism is considered negative in most cases.

  • Paul being extreme would make extremism okay.

  • His audience would want to be like Paul and would therefore consider anything Paul did to be positive.

  • Paul’s actions are considered extreme by most.

Example 2

Example 2:

  • Also in “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King says, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with Saint Augustine that ‘An unjust law is no law at all’.”

  • Claim (main idea): It is okay to disobey some laws.

  • Support (evidence of main point): Some laws are unjust.

  • Warrants (underlying assumptions):

  • Justice has a similar definition for everyone.

  • Saint Augustine is a familiar figure.

  • Saint Augustine’s words hold weight.

  • There are different types of laws.

  • There are ways to differentiate between just and unjust laws.

Letter from birmingham jail


Group activity analyze advocacy websites

Group Activity: Analyze advocacy Websites

  • http://www.aspca.org/

  • http://www.peta.org/index.asp

Questions to ask

Questions to ask

  • What is the purpose of these sites?

  • Do they speak to the same or difference audiences?

  • How are images, video , color, or other elements used for emotional appeal?

  • How do they use logical appeals?

  • What is the overall tone of each site( ie. is one more radical, commercial, or business-like? How does this affect ethos?

Logical fallacies

Logical Fallacies

•Ad hominem (literally, “to the man”): Instead of finding fault with the argument, one finds fault with the arguer, substituting irrelevant assertions about the person’s character for an analysis of the argument itself.

•Begging the question: Assuming a premise when trying to prove a conclusion. For example, “My client would not steal because he is an honest man.”

•Either/or reasoning: Reasoning based on either/or situations. For example, “Either you’re pro-choice or you’re against the advancement of women in American society.”

•Equivocation: Using the same term with two or more meanings or referents; ambiguity. For example, “All banks are beside rivers. Therefore, the financial institution where I deposit my money is beside a river”

•Faulty analogy: Using an overextended metaphor that may concentrate on irrelevant, inconsequential similarities between two situations. For example, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”

•Faulty causality: Assuming that because one incident follows another, the first necessarily causes the second. For example, “I got an A on my paper because I was nice to the teacher.”

•Faulty generalizations: Jumping to a conclusion from inadequate evidence. For example, “I got a C on my English paper. I suck at English.”

Logical fallacies cont

Logical Fallacies cont.

  • •Hyperbole: In contrast to understatement, hyperbole exaggerates conditions for emphasis or effect. There are a thousand reasons why more research is needed on solar energy.

  • •Non-sequitur: An inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premises or evidence, or a statement that does not follow logically from what preceded it

  • .•Red herring: Ignoring or avoiding the issue, or raising an irrelevant point to throw the audience off-track.175

  • •Slippery slope: Asserting that one step in the “wrong” direction will inevitably lead to the worst-case scenario

  • .•Straw man: Arguing against a position which you created specifically to be easy to argue against, rather than the position actually held by those who oppose your point of view. Attacking an exaggerated or caricatured version of your opponent’s position. For example, on the Internet, it is sometimes common to exaggerate an opponent’s position so that a comparison can be made between the opponent and Hitler.

  • •Understatement: The opposite of hyperbole, an understatement deliberately expresses an idea as less important than it actually is, either for ironic emphasis or for politeness and tact. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake interrupted business somewhat in the downtown area.



  • Economic citizenship and the rhetoric of coffee and do reading response.

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