• Complementary, Not Contending Theories

    [This post originally published on February 1, 2013.]   In teaching argument, we tend to want to cover all the bases. We want to introduce our students to classical rhetoric, but we don’t want to leave out...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Selling Lies

    Cato is generally credited with defining an orator as a good man skilled in speaking. A successful speech, by classical standards, was based on reason but was also strengthened by the knowledge that the person speakin...
    Donna Winchell
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  • Maslow’s Hierarchy and the Election of 2016

    As a general rule, anyone who did not vote for Donald Trump for president wants to know why anyone else did. Along those lines, I was thinking about the way I introduce motivation when discussing argumentation, in ter...
    Donna Winchell
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  • Ownership in the Digital Age

      An arrest in connection with a series of rapes and murders in California by a perpetrator known variously as the Golden State Killer, the East Area Rapist, and the Original Night Stalker promises to bring clos...
    Donna Winchell
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  • Recognizing Fallacies in the Daily News

      In talking to my students about the common logical fallacies, I stress that it is not as important that they are able to label a fallacy as it is to recognize when there is a problem with the logic in a given ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Loaded Language

      Logos, ethos, and pathos as modes of persuading an audience have been the basis for the study of rhetoric since at least the time of Aristotle. Logos is logical appeal; pathos is emotional appeal.   Sch...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Gun Safety or Gun Control?

    The classroom can and should be a place where students learn to engage critically, and develop the skills necessary to enter nationwide debates as active, democratic citizens. In order to do so, they must understand t...
    Donna Winchell
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  • Symbolism and the State of the Union

      President Trump’s recent State of the Union Address was the 95th annual state of the union message delivered in person by a President to the American people. (In the past, some were written messages.) Th...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • What Information Do We Trust in an Age of Fake News?

      When applying the elements of argument to today’s headlines, once a claim is clear, a second critical step is to consider the support available for that claim. Support can take the form of factual eviden...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • New Year, New “News”

    As a new year and a new term begin, it’s time to look at the basic terminology of argumentation and how it relates to today’s headlines. A claim is a statement that your argument supports—the thesis ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Symbolism and Protest

      Standing for the Pledge of Allegiance used to be a matter of course, something most of us took for granted.  The rare exception when I was a child was the family who were Jehovah’s Witnesses and who ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Applying the Elements of Argument

      In our textbook we provide readings to help students understand the key terms of argumentation. We try to keep the readings as up to date as possible. We can predict what some of the hot button issues will be ...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Images from Hurricane Harvey

      As I write, pictures of the flooded streets of Houston are leading news broadcasts throughout the twenty-four-hour news cycle, and more rain is predicted. The power of visual rhetoric is clear as certain photo...
    Donna Winchell
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  • Et Tu?

      A heated controversy arose recently following the publication of a photo of comedienne Kathy Griffin, who was shown holding a (clearly fake) decapitated head representing President Trump. In a world that has s...
    Donna Winchell
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  • The Visual Rhetoric of a Presidential Trip Abroad

    There have been reports that President Trump’s staff are intentionally keeping the President so busy during his nine-day trip abroad that he has not had time to tweet. His Twitter account has, indeed, been uncha...
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell
  • Documentation in Flux

    As I revised Elements of Argument recently, for the first time I had to take a close look at the new MLA documentation guidelines. I found the use of the new term container a bit clunky, if perhaps...
    Donna Winchell
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  • When Truths Are Not Self-Evident

      The nomination hearing for Neil Gorsuch is the most recent reminder of the profound effect of each appointment to the Supreme Court and of some of the issues that most deeply divide liberals and conservatives....
    Donna Winchell
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  • Rhetoric and Reality

      One of my former colleagues was angered recently when NBC Nightly News on March 1st announced its story about President Trump’s speech to the joint houses of Congress with a banner that read, “Rhet...
    Donna Winchell
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  • Fake News and Alternative Facts

      In Alice in Wonderland, Alice and Humpty Dumpty have a conversation about words:  “’When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to me...
    Donna Winchell
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  • The Rhetoric of Protest

    Three people, three signs: “I’m the autistic kid, and I’m scared.” “I’m the neuro-typical brother, and I’m scared.” “I’m the mother, and I’m scared....
    Donna Winchell
    last modified by Donna Winchell