Chapter Four: Why does there need to be a strong balance between logic and emotion?
The purpose of a good argument is to persuade the targeted audience. In order to achieve this goal, the orator needs to bring solid claims, which to reach people, appealing both to their logical reasoning senses, but also to their emotional side. “ Good argumentation involves a balance between sound logic and critical emotions” (Makau & Marty, 2001, p. 113). Makau and Marty (2001) argue this claim by explaining that emotion is a human feeling connected to morality, influencing people to stand up for what they consider morally right, such as protecting the forests and wildlife or enforcing the persons with disabilities. The authors consider that in any human domain, including in policies created for medical and scientific practices, “ reasonableness is achieved by the delicate and balanced integration of sound logic and critical emotions” (Makau & Marty, 2001, p. 114). The explanation resides in the fact that the argumentative process is a two-way communication, wherein the sender of the message informs and aims to persuade his or her audience (through a balanced use of logic and emotion) and the receiver (the audience) responds to either being persuaded or not.
Therefore, the mechanism for understanding a claim and perceiving its moral value resides in combining a balanced integration of logic and emotion in the argumentative act. Logic and emotion connects the speaker or the initiator of a moral act to his or her audience, hence, both sides need to make use of both logic and emotion in a balanced manner. As Connolly (2009, p. 148) states, “ empathy, emotion, and reason are all necessary ingredients. If they fall into inequall balance, the allure and logic of the act of persuasion declines. The speech loses meaning and, of course, fails to persuade”. A cold speech, devoid of emotion and solely based on logic, fails to enhance audience in understanding the importance of taking the required actions to sustain a moral objective.
However, Remer (1996, p. 20) reminds that Cicero advised that a rhetoric act should “ inflame the minds of the hearers and to turn them in whatever direction the case demands”. For attaining this goal the orator should use more emotion than reasoning, because people become more affected by an emotional impulse than by a logical judgment (Remer, 1996).
There needs to be a strong balance between logic and emotions in order to shape a “ critical understanding”, which contributes to developing a “ reasoned interaction” and a “ responsive deliberation” (Makau and Marty, 2001, p. 115), necessary for attaining morally right goals.
Chapter Four: Discuss the coach reaction you found most interesting and why.
Swift’s research presents the results gathered from a qualitative study, wherein, among others, the respondents (coaches) were asked to value the importance of ethics in rhetoric. If in general, most respondents agreed that ethics is extremely important or even the most significant component of rhetoric, there were two coaches who indicated ethics as unimportant, or less important than other elements of rhetoric. One of these coaches’ reaction to ethics was that he considered it the responsibility of the students, because, as he stated, “ students know generally what is right/wrong in life” (Swift, 2008, p. 108).
According to this reaction, this coach sees ethics as an extension of the individual’s own perceptions about right or wrong. However, knowing how to differentiate between right or wrong is a matter of personal morals, which can be influenced by the community, culture, specific civilization or lifestyle. As such, what can be considered as morally right for the representative of a specific culture can be perceived as morally wrong for the representative of another culture. For instance, the marriage between minors is considered an action morally right in specific cultures, based on their millenary traditions, however, it is considered a violation of children’s rights, hence, morally wrong, in the occidental cultures.
Discussing the importance of ethics in law implies valuing “ normative theories and applying these sets of principles to practical moral problems” (Sofroniu, 2005, p. 22), which may differentiate from the personal moral perceptions about right and wrong. However, Sloane (2001) states that applied to law, ethics should shape the rhetoric act based on the appropriateness of the legal practices to the targeted community or audience. Sloane’s (2001) observation implies that the right and wrong distinction should be applied to the targeted audience’s moral code, not on the orator’s own moral perceptions. Nevertheless, in Swift’s research, the coach reaction was different, stating that it is the responsibility of his students to decide what is moral (hence ethical) and what is immoral (hence unethical), based on their personal considerations on right and wrong. The reaction of Swift’s coach on ethics indicates that ethics is not a field of the law practice that need to be adapted to the profession’s standards, but rather a personal system of qualifying the right and wrong, which can guide and shape the defensive or offensive discourse in the court of law.
Connolly, J. (2007) The state of speech rhetoric and political thought in Ancient Rome. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Makau, J. M. & Marty, D. L. (2001) Comparative argumentation. Illinois: Waveland Press Inc.
Remer, G. (1996) Humanism and rhetoric of toleration. Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University.
Sloane, T. O. (2001) Encyclopedia of rhetoric. Vol. 1. New York: Oxford University Press.
Sofroniu, A. (2005) The philosophical concepts of management through ages. Wilts: PsySys Limited.
Swift, C. L. (2008) This house would ethically engage: A critical examination of competitor and coach leadership in National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Debate Louisiana: Louisiana State University