Rhetorical Triangle & Square

Triangle & Square
Structuring an Argument
Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so
spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more fully and
more readily than others: this is true generally whatever the question is, and
absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided.
 As
you move through this do the following:
1. Take notes – you can print the document or you can actually take notes. If
you print the document, you need to review it. Simply printing the document
will not suffice.
2. Complete “On Your Own…” Tasks that are included throughout.
3. Submit the “On Your Own…” Tasks to the assignment titled “On Your
Own” in turnitin.com. It must be submitted by 7:40 AM on 8/19/15.
4. Bring your notes & a copy (hardcopy or electronic) of your “On Your
Own…” tasks to class on Wednesday 8/19/15.
On Your
the quote on the first page. Compose a short
journal entry that responds to Aristotle’s quote.
Consider what he means, whether or not you agree
with him and whether or not it is valid in
contemporary society.
Structuring an Argument
are various ways to structure an argument:
1. Classical: discussed in this “lecture”
2. Induction and Deduction: discussed later this
3. Toulmin: discussed later this semester
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
Structure: developed by classical rhetoricians
for oral arguments way back in the day – think 5th
Century BC
Interesting fact: Intention by ancient rhetors was to
teach Greek farmers strategies for appealing their
cases in Greek courts.
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
 Includes
five parts that ancient teachers of rhetoric believed
were necessary for persuasion.
 Best for a mixed audience (hostile to neutral to favorable)
 Although this structure follows a specific order you may not
always need to include (in writing) all of these elements.
Rather, you will need consider all of these elements even if
you do not specifically include them in your writing.
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
 Caveat:
Not all arguments follow this structure. Arguments
are not always laid out in a single fashion and contemporary
arguments represent the current customs of society – think
hyperlinks, videos, images, etc.
On Your Own… #2
Why must the structure of an argument align to social customs
and beliefs of contemporary society? Be brief.
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
 The
five parts
Introduction (exordium)
Narration (narration)
Confirmation (confirmatio)
Refutation (refutatio)
Conclusion (peroratio)
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
1. Introduction (exordium): introduces the reader to the
subject under discussion. In Latin, exordium literally means
“beginning a web” which is important to note because whether
a single paragraph or several, the intro pulls the readers into
the text and establishes ethos.
On Your Own…#3
Define ethos. Why does it matter in an argument?
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
2. Narration (narratio)
Provides factual information and background material for the
audience. The level of detail depends on the assumed
audience. It is here that the writer must blend pathos and logos
to ensure that the audience recognizes the significance of the
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
3. Confirmation (confirmatio)
This is the core of the argument. It includes the proof
(evidence) needed to support the writer’s claim. This is where
a reader will see the most use of logos. As a writer, you want
to use specific and concrete evidence in this section.
On Your Own…#4
Define logos. That’s it. Plain and simple. 
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
4. Refutation (refutatio)
This section addresses the counterargument. By looking at the
opposing view you strengthen your own argument. You make
a bridge between your claim and your conclusion – what you
think and why. You can refute the counterargument throughout
or in a stand alone section.
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
5. Conclusion (peroratio)
This is where the argument draws to a close. The appeal used
here is typically pathos, sprinkled with ethos. As the writer,
you want to make sure that the audience understands why
what you claim is important – the “So what?” needs to be
addressed here as the argument finishes.
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
On Your Own… #5
Read “Not by Math Alone” by Sandra Day O’Connor & Roy Romer
(on my website).
You will notice that the paragraphs are numbered. Using the paragraph
numbers, indicate which paragraphs of the argument correspond with
the various parts of the Classical Argument Structure.
EXAMPLE: Para 1: Introduction
When you finish, each paragraph should be assigned to a facet of
Classical Argument Structure.
Rhetorical Triangle and Square
Aristotle used a triangle to show how the elements of: speaker,
audience, and subject.
How the writer (or in Aristotle’s time period, the speaker) perceives
these relationships is important.
Speaker: the person or group who creates a text (argument)
Audience: the listener, viewer, or reader of the text (argument)
Subject: Topic
Rhetorical Triangle and Square
Rhetorical Triangle and Square
As society has progressed, it has been determined that there is a 4th
element that should be analyzed/examined when looking at an
argument: purpose.
Purpose: This is the “big picture” reason for posing the argument.
We will be using the rhetorical square to analyze arguments in this
course. However, it is still important that you understand the
components of the triangle.
Rhetorical Triangle and Square
Subject: Consider the following
1. What is the subject of the argument?
2. What is the message about the subject?
3. How is the argument structured
4. Look at context: What is happening regarding this
issue on a local, state, national and international
level? How does this influence the argument?
Speaker/Author/Writer: Consider the following
1. How does the author/writer present him/herself
2. Why? What impact does this have on the
argument? How does the audience, because of the
author, view the subject?
Audience: Consider the following
1. Who is the intended audience?
2. What type of audience is the argument appealing
to? (favorable, neutral, hostile) How do you know
this? What is the audience influenced by?
3. What does the audience value?
Purpose: Consider the following
1. Why was the text written? Think big picture – not
simply the impact on your own life.
2. What philosophy or worldview does the writer
want to share?
Structuring an Argument: Classical Structure
On Your Own… #6
Go back to the “Not by Math Alone” article.
Use the rhetorical square, and the questions to consider in each box, to analyze
the argument presented in the article.
Your analysis should be divided into the four elements: subject, speaker,
audience and purpose.
Make sure you are thorough but not overly wordy. Label your analysis (Subject
1-4, Speaker 1-2, Audience 1-3, and Purpose 1-2).
Try your best with this – I know it is a challenging task!!
Analyzing Rhetoric
As you analyze an argument, you also want to consider the following:
Author’s bias (assumed & presented in the text)
Use of ethos, pathos and logos
Evidence of logical fallacies that detract from the argument
On Your Own Tasks: due to turnitin.com by
7:40 AM on 8/19/15. This is worth 30 points total.
Make sure you complete all 6 tasks:
Journal related to Aristotle’s quote (3 pts)
Why must the structure of an argument align to social customs and beliefs
of contemporary society? Be brief. (3 pts)
Define ethos. Why does it matter in an argument? (2 pts)
Define logos. That’s it. Plain and simple. (2 pts)
Complete the “Not By Math Alone” Classical Structure activity (10 pts)
Complete the “Not By Math Alone” rhetorical square (10 pts)