APL 510 S3 Advertisement, Argument, Rhetoric

“This discussion board offers students the opportunity to select three advertisements and identifying the fallacy (or fallacies) in each. Students may not know the name of all of the fallacies at this point, but they should look for violations of the criteria of a good argument.”

Rhetoric and the application of rhetorical force and devices influence perceptions and expectations that drive decision making.  Arriving at the Truth of the matter requires an alignment of perceptions and expectations with the actual situation based on facts and evidence.

From an apologetic perspective, the foundation is based on facts and evidence that align with perceptions and expectations.

Three advertisements and a respective fallacy

  • 2016 Presidential Election
  • 2020 Presidential Election
  • Christian, Citizenship, Quality Management Apologetic. Link to the concept and examples: Password is apl510, https://wp.me/p9vJtr-1MC

An “advertisement“ could represent any action that is intended to influence a change in position with the intent to influence action (a decision).  It could include a headline in the media, public service or public relations campaign, or marketing related to a specific product or service. Products and Services range from a Christian apologetic-based movie and book such as Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ to a video-game.

An advertisement can provide an informal “argument” that suggests a conclusion based on a premise (s).  In marketing and advertising, creating a gap between “perceptions” and “expectations” influence consumer decisions more so than facts and evidence (logic, reason).

If consumers believe Brand “x” is better than brand “y”, they may be convinced to switch brands and if the product performs as expected, they may continue to purchase the product. Even though, the facts and data may identify that there is no difference between the two brands.

Perceived, Expected, Actual. Excellent (better/more perfect) quality is defined as the result of doing the right things, right. The three types of quality are Perceived (What people think it is), Expected (What they think it will be), and the Actual (supported with facts, evidence, data).  Perception and expectations may not represent reality (actual situation) but combined with an appeal to emotion, can have a significant influence on a decision.

  • Determining the “Truth” – either stated or implied in the advertisements would include a reconciliation among three types of quality, e.g., you made a change based on perception, you received what you expected, and the facts and data support the decision.
  • In the context of a Christian, Citizenship, and Quality Management apologetic, think of the political advertisements in the 2016 presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Assuming you voted, your decision reinforced your belief that you perceived and expected that one candidate would produce better results than the other.
  • The 2020 Presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden and respective advertisements repeats the cycle. Gallup routinely follows up with a survey that asks the question: “Are you any better off now than when you were four years ago?”g., did you get what you expected? [1] 
  • Gallups’s recent survey, conducted Sept. 14-28, 2020 showed 56 percent of voters said they were better off with only 32 percent saying they were worse off. Perceptions (better off) and expectations (expect things to improve) will continue to have an influence on how people will vote in 2020.
  • Based on subjective (surveys) and objective information (facts and data), are we a more perfect nation that we were four years ago? Will we be making progress in the next four years? 
  • From a Christian perspective, shouldn’t decisions contribute to a more perfect (better) outcome based on Biblically-based criteria? When do actions motivated by Love not result in positive outcomes in the long-term?

Fallacies and Deceptions. T. Edwards Damer defines a fallacy as a violation of one or more of the five criteria of a good argument.  He references that the word fallacy comes from the notion of deception. [2]

As Damer points out, fallacies distract from good arguments that are attempting to arrive at the “Truth” of the matter.

  • Fallacies either intentionally or unintentionally as a result of ignorance, are used to influence perceptions and expectations. Fallacies are used by the political campaigns and could include the fallacies associated with all the categories:  Relevance, Acceptability, Sufficiency, and Rebuttal.  In terms of facts and evidence needed to support Truth (actual situation) ”  specific fallacies include – insufficient sample, unrepresentative data, arguing from ignorance, and the fallacy of fake precision.
  • My advocacy and “advertisements” for the application of a Christian, Citizenship, and Quality Management apologetic method attempts to make the case that a new method is needed. Damer’s work does not reference the better and proven standards associated with numerical (numbers) based literacy in the context of process and Biblical based decision making. The aim of the new method is to support action that leads to more perfect outcomes. In summary, political advertisements (arguments) associated with the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections – with a cost in the billions, includes most if not all the fallacies identified by Damer. The intent of the campaigns is to influence voter’s perceptions and expectations that will lead to a position (support for a candidate) that then leads to a vote (a decision).
  • The Christian, Citizenship, and Quality Management apologetic align the three types of quality with proven methods in assessing progress in working to achieve more perfect outcomes in any aspect of life.

[1] Gallup. “More in U.S. Say They Are Better Off Than in Past Elections” accessed Oct 21, 2020 https://news.gallup.com/poll/285593/say-better-off-past-elections.aspx

[2] Damer, T. Edward. “Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments”, 7th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2013

Rhetoric – Dr. Mark Foreman. Video: Rhetoric and Critical Thinking (32:10)(Embedded)  This presentation covers the way rhetoric and rhetorical devices can subtly impede critical thinking. Several examples are offered.

  • Rhetoric – “the art of persuasive writing and speaking. The purpose is to persuade others to adopt a belief.”
  • Rhetorical Force. “The attempt to persuade someone to adopt a belief based on the psychological or emotive responses one has toward the idea.”
  • Common Rhetorical DevicesInclude: Euphisms and Dysphemisms, Weaselers, Downplayers, Stereotypes, Innuendo, Loaded Question, Ridicule/Sarcasm, Hyperbole, Proof Surrogates.

One thought on “APL 510 S3 Advertisement, Argument, Rhetoric

  1. […] Relative to quality, the three types of quality are perceived, actual, and expected. Dr. Mark Foreman in his presentation on Rhetoric reinforced that in addition to fallacies, the application of rhetorical force and devices influence perceptions and expectations that can drive decision making.[5]  Arriving at the Truth of the matter requires an alignment of perceptions and expectations with the actual situation based on facts and evidence. Additional information provided in the post: “Advertisement, Argument, Rhetoric” is available at the following link: https://wp.me/p7eYCh-hP […]

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