Speech Study Guide

Chapter Five: Content and Supporting Materials

Objectives • Discuss claims and types of reasoning. • Understand ethical proofs (the basic definitions). • Elaborate on reasoning fallacies. • Explain why evidence is important and be able to evaluate different types of evidence. 5.1 Claims Claims are debatable assertions a speaker makes. Speakers need to prove their claims by providing convincing evidence and reasoning to support those claims. Claims may take many different forms, typically arising out of persuasive or controversial issues. Claims of value assume a variety of forms, including what is effective or ineffective, just or unjust, moral or immoral, legal or illegal, and if something is beneficial or harmful. Claims of fact examine if something exists, what caused something to happen, or the scope and magnitude of a phenomenon. Claims of policy debate about what should be done or the future course of action. These types of claims are the hardest to prove because of their involvement in predicting the future. Speakers may choose to use qualifiers in order to better assert their claims. Qualifiers are words that indicate a speaker’s level of confidence in their claims and may include words such as possibly, probably, or beyond any doubt. Effective speakers will acknowledge any reservations there may be to their claims, that is to say, exceptions to their claims or the stipulated conditions under which a claim can no longer be held. When a speaker identifies one or two major reservations, a claim can be asserted more confidently. 5.2 Arguments The majority of speeches seek to persuade an audience of something. Ancient Greeks and Romans described persuasion as logical and well-supported arguments that are developed via rhetorical appeals: logos, ethos, and pathos. Argument means articulating a position with the support of logos, ethos, or pathos. In line with the Ancient Greeks and Romans, logos (logical) are a means of persuasive strategy by constructing logical arguments that support a speaker’s point of view. Ethos (credibility) highlights a speaker’s competence, credibility, and good character as a means by which to convince an audience to accept the speaker’s point of view. Pathos (emotional) is a persuasive strategy that appeals to the emotions of a listener to convince others of a speaker’s position. When addressing an audience of mixed diversity or unknown origin (such as a virtual audience), it is best to use logos as a means of persuasion because most individuals can be appealed to through the use of logic and reason. Stephen Toulmin developed a model to explain the form of everyday arguments. Toulmin’s model


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