Proposal Arguments Addresses problems by calling for action in practice or policy. My proposal regarding Toronto Pet Heaven
Enthymeme • Toronto Pet Heaven should be put out of business because they are practicing veterinary medicine without a license, they inflict undue suffering on vulnerable pets and owners, and the company also exploits pet owners financially by drastically inflating the costs of their service.
Logos/Ethos/Pathos (the rhetoric triangle) • If you don't have a particular intended audience in mind, or if you say that your essay is for "everybody" or "society" or "people interested in this topic," your writing will tend too general and unpersuasive. • Try to think in terms of a scale of resistance to your argument: Between “accord” and “resistance” there is a range of opinions. On what basis do they support or reject your position?
Scale of resistance for new stadium ballot initiative • Accord—those who offered strong support for the initiative . • Neutral—those who were undecided or uncertain. • Resistance—those who disagreed for a variety of reasons: Either they had no interest in sports, they were opposed to public funding of sports, opposed to raising taxes, were opposed to the re-zoning and increased traffic in the area, or were opposed to the retractable roof planned.
Resistance to ERA and the Draft for women • A student who proposes ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment will face resistance from various religious, conservative and feminist groups. • Right wing groups will argue that it destroys family values and traditional gender roles to have women register for selective service. • Feminists will object on the basis that women should reject the authority of the military-industrial complex and instead seek quantifiable changes to the power structure in the U.S.
Your Audience • Do you omit, refute, concede or incorporate your audience’s views into your argument? • Choices about structure, content and tone may differ depending on if your audience is sympathetic, neutral or strongly resistant to your views. • One-sided vs. Multisided arguments. • The need to overcome “the law of inertia.”
Do you want to persuade your audience through accommodation or refutation of their beliefs or values? • Your argument requires “presence” in order to have your audience recognize the immediacy of the problem. “Presence” links to pathos. • You are compelled through the “principle of charity” to fairly summarize opposing arguments.
Strategies for Rebutting Evidence Call into question the credibility of an authority. Question the accuracy or context of quotations. Question the way statistical data were produced or interpreted. • Deny the truth of the data. • Cite examples and testimony to counter the data. • Cast doubt upon the examples being representative, sufficient, or accurate. • Cast doubt upon the relevance of data or that it’s out of date.
Rogerian Argument • Psychologist Carl Rogers developed the strategy of “empathic listening” for addressing resistant audiences and resolving differences. • It emphasizes the ability to see an issue sympathetically from another’s perspective. Reserve judgments until you understand a person’s reasoning and values. • Arguments can be threatening. A Rogerian approach emphasizes compromise and synthesis of positions. • It stresses self-examination, clarification and accommodation and usually delays the thesis.
Your proposal argument should address a real problem based in a controversial issue. • Controversy implies at least two opposing views exist about an issue regarding the quality of civic life. • A proposal should be based on problem-solving in your local community. • Fashion, Creatine, legal drinking age or drug status, etc. are not real problems.
Narrow, local, concrete • Practical proposals call for action to solve a local or immediate problem. • Policy proposals offer a broad or sweeping plan to solve larger social, economic or political problems.
Is the proposal practical and does it really have a chance of being enacted? • What are the potential positive and negative consequences of the proposal? You are required to make predictions.
Local Topics • Avoid any topic on a national or international scale. Select a topic connected to your life at university or your community. • Offer a proposal to ban plastic shopping bags. • Offer a proposal to ban plastic water bottles. • Offer a proposal to have green bins installed in city parks to collect dog poop. • Offer a proposal to have a bike lane installed on Bloor Street.
More topics • What are problems you can identify on campus? (dorms, safety, financial aid, transportation) • At your place of employment? (customer traffic, merchandise display, company policy) • Problems in your neighbourhood? (lighting, safety, dangerous intersections, garbage dumping
Claim-Type Strategy and audience appeal • We should do X (Proposal Claim) • Because X is a Y (categorical claim). Appeals to audience’s values • Because X will lead to good consequences (causal claim). Appeals to audience’s idea of good/bad consequences. • Because X is like Y (resemblance claim). Appeals to audience’s feelings about favourable/unfavourable analogy/precedent.
5 parts to drafting your essay • In the first section, introduce your audience to a problem. Describe it and provide a summary. Say that it can be solved. • In the second part, present your enthymeme, your claim (we should/should not) +because +reasons. Explain the specifics of how your solution works.
In the third part, give a summary of all the opposing views or solutions and explain why they aren’t valid. You do that by accommodating or refuting alternatives. • For the fourth section, justify your proposal. It is feasible, solves the problem, and is the best solution. • Your fifth section offers a conclusion where you re-state your proposal, the main arguments and issue a call for your audience to act.
Legalizing Marijuana Audience: City Council to offer a referendum. Logos builds upon your audience’s willingness to adopt a more practical solution to solving the “war on drugs.” The present approach implemented for more than 30 years doesn’t work. Establish ethos or your credibility by stating you’re not a pot smoker. Draw upon pathos by describing how it eased your grandma’s glaucoma symptoms.
Part One • Define the problem: The prohibition on marijuana createsa powerful black market andgang warfare, results in hazardous illegal grow-ops and in wasted millions of dollars and police enforcement in the failed “war against drugs.” Studies say 40% of Canadians smoke marijuana recreationally, thus turning law-abiding citizens into criminals. In the midst of the growing financial crisis we could benefit from the added tax revenue.
Part Two Enthymeme: • Marijuana should be legalized because prohibition has allowed a violent drug cartel to flourish, prohibition criminalizes a large percentage of law-abiding citizens, and the taxes collected from legal sales would be beneficial in funding a host of social programs.
Proposal • Stop prosecuting people for possessing marijuana or growing it for personal use.
Part three • Canada’s prosecutorial policy on marijuana and drugs in general has not worked and has been a black hole to swallow funding and human resources. We have to abandon the commitment to following the model set by the U.S. And try something else. Cite number of drug busts and grow-ops each year. If pot smokers have their own supply, the consumer demand for black market weed disappears.
Part 4 and 5 • Justify your proposal by citing the percentage of law-abiding adults who smoke weed. Construct a resemblance argument by using Amsterdam as a set precedent for a mix of civic order and marijuana legalization. • Conclude by summarizing your argument.
Style tips from Lesson 3 • Clear writing recognizes that when you narrate events, characters are presented as subjects and their actions are presented as verbs. • Once upon a time, as a walk through the woods was taking place on the part of LittleRed Riding Hood, the Wolf’s jump out from behind the tree occurred, causing her a fright.
Once upon a time, as a walk through the woods was taking place on the part of LittleRed Riding Hood, the Wolf’s jump out from behind the tree occurred, causing her a fright. Subjects are not characters; subjects are instead actions expressed as abstract nouns, walk and jump. The verbs was taking and occurred do not name actions. Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood was walking through the woods, when a wolf jumped out from behind a tree and frightened her.
Simple Vs. Whole subjects • The Federalists’ argument in regard to the destabilization of government by popular democracy WAS BASED on theirbelief in the tendency of factions to FURTHER their self-interest at the expense of the common good. • The characters (italicized) are not the subject of the sentence (argument is), the actions (bold) are not verbs (caps), but are rather abstract nouns.
The FederalistsARGUED that populardemocracyDESTABILIZED government, because theyBELIEVED that factionsTENDED to FURTHER their self-interest at the expense of the common good. • Characters (italicized) are subjects (boldface) and all the actions are verbs (capitalized and boldface).
Action refers to all literal or figurative movement, mental processes, relationships, and conditions. Present action by using verbs. • Your writing will be unclear by offering too many abstract nouns derived from verbs and adjectives. The technical name for these nouns is nominalization. • You can nominalize a verb by making it a gerund: She flies (her flying) We sang (our singing).
Nominalization • FROM VERBS Discover discovery Resist resistance React reaction Intend intention Discuss discussion Evaluate evaluation Investigate investigation • FROM ADJECTIVES Careless carelessness Different difference Proficient proficiency Difficult difficulty Intense intensity Accurate accuracy Clear clearly
If you can place “the” in front of the word, it means it’s a nominalization. If you can place “to” in front of the word, it means it’s a verb. • Some nominalizations and verbs are identical such as hope, result, request, review and repair. • For revision, change confusing nominalization into verbs and make the character the subject.
The intention of the committee IS to audit the records. • The committee intends to audit the records. • The agency CONDUCTED an investigation into the matter. • The agency INVESTIGATED the matter. • We did a review of the evolution of the brain. • We REVIEWED how the brain EVOLVED.
WHEN TO USE NOMINALIZATIONS • As a subject, it refers to a previous sentence (These arguments depend on an unproven claim [...] This decision can lead to positive changes). • Nominalizations replace the awkward “the fact that” (The fact that she acknowledged the problem impressed me [...] Her acknowledgement of the problem impressed me).
A nominalization names what would be the object of the verb ( I accepted what sherequested [...] I accepted her request). • A nominalization refers to an overly familiar concept that almost acts like a character (Few problems have divided us as abortion on demand).
Now compare the following two sentences. Which one seems clearer? • 2a. Despite her knowledge of the need by cities for more money, the governor executed a veto of a bigger education budget to give encouragement to cities for an increase in local taxes. • 2b. Although the governor knew that the cities needed more money for schools, she vetoed a bigger education budget to encourage the cities to increase their local taxes.
Voice The car was driven by him or He drove the car • Voice describes the relationship between the action/verb in a sentence and the subject. • When the subject is the agent or is in command of the verb/action, it is in active voice. • When the subject is the target or receiver of the verb/action, it is in passive voice. • Passive voice occurs when the subject and direct object switch roles.
Active and Passive Voice • The passive voice is often a great enemy of concise writing, in part because the associated subject and verb is weak. If the direct object (“Rats and mice”) controls the action, the voice is passive: Rats and mice were experimented on by him. • If, on the other hand, the subject of a sentence (“He”) is on the delivering end of the action, the voice is said to be active: He experimented with rats and mice.
The program has been suspended by the dean. The dean has suspended the program. • The results of the experiment were studied by the researchers. The researchers studied the results of the experiment.
Nic Maronese Hip To Be Square • Douglas Haddow, in his piece “Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization” from the September issue of Adbusters, explores modern “hipster” culture by engaging it directly. He immerses himself in hipster parties, opening his piece by describing his experience at a popular club frequented by the type: a gaggle of smokers standing outside the club adopt what they believe to be a rebellious attitude by quietly cursing the club staff under their breath. • Haddowrecalls in detail the “music” – to his ears nothing more than a melodic massacre set to a techno beat – being spun by the DJ; he tries conversing with a young lady. When he asks, she assures him that this is, indeed, a hipster party, but that she is not a hipster.
He outlines in brief the history of the nature of Western culture, defining it by its tendency to simply buck the conventions of the previous decade’s culture: Western culture is best defined as counter-cultural. He finds that this trend, however, has slowed in the last decade; now the various youth counter-cultural movements that once defined the West have been amalgamated into a blasé genre that escapes definition. This is the genre Haddowrefers to as the “Hipster”.
Josie Elfassy How to Sell Maxi Pads and Dish Soap: an Ad Analysis As women, our lives constantly get in the way of having fun and pampering ourselves. Dishes, sudsy water, and the dreaded ‘that time of the month’ are our enemies and we try to put up a decent fight against them, but the attack is relentless. The only way we can shield ourselves from the horrors of this war is if we listen to the profound advice of Always maxi pads and Fairy dish soap. Ladies, salvation has finally arrived.
Fairy and Always use visuals and copy to attract their target audiences. Fairy uses crystal champaign glasses, a pile of plates, a granite countertop and a sleek faucet to show the clean-up of a dinner party. These visuals also set a standard for the Fairy brand. They create an image of a mid-upper class kitchen, and thus a mid-upper class consumer of their product. This ad suggests that wealthy, sensible women who throw parties are still stuck with the dishes, but all is not lost because Fairy will make sure their skin is not dried out by their soap. The target audience is any woman, age 27-45, young enough to feel empowered by the model who cares about her skin; old enough to be responsible for piles and piles of dishes. The ‘party’ element in the ad creates a narrative about the life of the single gal who has time to throw parties and worry about the dishes the next day while giving herself a facial. This fantasy is being used to allure married women, most likely with children, who can only dare to dream about the fun, single lifestyle.
Always has a slightly different audience. Although their audience is also clearly female, Always cater to a much younger crowd. The blue colors, the bumper car, the whimsical lines, and the text give the ad an uplifting tone. Always uses phrases such as ‘occasional bumps’ and ‘whatever day it happens to be’ to make light of the situation – the period. The ‘period problem’ is so simple that a contoured pad can solve all the issues that come with menstruation. The (plentiful) copy not only makes light of our problem, it also gives us a suggestion on how to live out lives, full of fun. Words like ‘always’, ‘ultra’ and ‘secureguard’ give the brand a dependable and trustworthy face while the ridiculously ironic slogan ‘Have a happy period’ turns the brand into a caring friend (even though it seems like mockery) . The simplification and ‘easy breezy’ attitude signal that the target audience is teenage girls who are still struggling to get used to womanhood, any woman over the age of 25 would be used to her ‘own’ brand and might be considered too old to try a new brand.
Both Fairy and Always use images, colors, and words to make themselves the saviors for all women who have to live ‘womanly lives’. These ads make their viewers into miserable mothers and teenagers locked away because of their misfortunes. The characteristics the ads assign to women are enough to make any of us wallow in self pity and dream of a fairy godmother to come turn us into a carefree and whimsical princess.