Many of us hold false beliefs about matters that are relevant to public policy such as climate change and the safety of vaccines. What can be done to rectify this situation? This question can be read in two ways. According to the descriptive reading, it concerns which methods will be effective in persuading people that their beliefs are false. According to the normative reading, it concerns which methods we are permitted to use in the service of persuading people. Some effective (...) methods—a programme of brainwashing, say—would not be permissible. In this paper I compare “methods of rational persuasion” with what you might call “marketing methods” such as how one frames the problem of climate change. My aim is to show that “marketing methods” are preferable to “methods of rational persuasion”. My argument has two parts. First, I argue that the evidence suggests that “marketing methods” are more effective in persuading people to change their minds. Second, I argue that “marketing methods” are an acceptable response to the normative question. (shrink)
The main goal of this study is to develop a conceptual framework meant (a) to present the essential traits of persuasion, (b) to explain resistance to persuasion (mainly when the persuader tries to shape, reinforce, or change an attitudinal response), and (c) to provide a feasible strategy to overcome the coping behaviors associated with resistance to persuasion. Defined as the communication process in which “someone makes other people believe or decide to do something, especially by giving them (...) reasons why they should do it, or asking them many times to do it”, persuasion ensures a noncoercive social control by shaping, reinforcing, or changing target audience’s cognitions, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Persuasion involves volitional behaviors (that are inextricably intertwined with spontaneous, impulsive, mindless, or compulsive behaviors) and a significant cognitive load. Even if persuasion does not elicit negative feelings like various shortcuts to compliance (coercion, bribery, deception, manipulation of the dominant instincts, etc.), it generates ipso facto resistance to persuasion. Public relations specialists and other communication professionals can reduce or cope with resistance to persuasion by creating a low-pressure persuasion context, using evidential reasons, and following evidential rules. (shrink)
The paper develops ethical guidelines for the development and usage of persuasive technologies (PT) that can be derived from applying discourse ethics to this type of technologies. The application of discourse ethics is of particular interest for PT, since ‘persuasion’ refers to an act of communication that might be interpreted as holding the middle between ‘manipulation’ and ‘convincing’. One can distinguish two elements of discourse ethics that prove fruitful when applied to PT: the analysis of the inherent normativity of (...) acts of communication (‘speech acts’) and the Habermasian distinction between ‘communicative’ and ‘strategic rationality’ and their broader societal interpretation. This essay investigates what consequences can be drawn if one applies these two elements of discourse ethics to PT. (shrink)
A persuasion dialogue is a dialogue in which a conflict between agents with respect to their points of view arises at the beginning of the talk and the agents have the shared, global goal of resolving the conflict and at least one agent has the persuasive aim to convince the other party to accept an opposing point of view. I argue that the persuasive force of argument may have not only extreme values but also intermediate strength. That is, I (...) wish to introduce two additional types of the effects of persuasion in addition to successful and unsuccessful ones (cf. Van Eemeren and Houtlosser in Argumentation 14(3):293–305, 2000; Advances in pragma-dialectics. Sic Sat, Amsterdam, 2002; Walton in A pragmatic theory of fallacy. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 1995; Walton and Krabbe in Commitment in dialogue: basic concepts of interpersonal reasoning. State University of New York Press, Albany, New York, 1995). I propose a model which provides for modified versions of the standpoint of an agent needed in order to bring about two possible outcomes of a persuasion dialogue. These two outcomes I label partially-successful and over-successful. I call the potential, not yet verbalised, standpoint of an agent here the original topic t. Based on some aspects of relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson in Relevance: communication and cognition. Blackwell, Oxford, 1986; Wilson and Sperber in The handbook of pragmatics. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, 2006), I explain that the modified version of the original topic t is an implicature created from the original topic t and from a specific mental topic which belongs to, what I call the beneficial cognitive model (hence BCM). I define BCMi,t as a set of topics which are within the area of agent i’s interest of persuasion with respect to t. (shrink)
The very existence of society depends on the ability of its members to influence formatively the beliefs, desires, and actions of their fellows. In every sphere of social life, powerful human agents (whether individuals or institutions) tend to use coercion as a favorite shortcut to achieving their aims without taking into consideration the non-violent alternatives or the negative (unintended) consequences of their actions. This propensity for coercion is manifested in the doxastic sphere by attempts to shape people’s beliefs (and doubts) (...) while ignoring the essential characteristics of these doxastic states. I argue that evidential persuasion is a better route to influence people’s beliefs than doxastic coercion. Doxastic coercion perverts the belief-forming mechanism and undermines the epistemic and moral faculties both of coercers and coercees. It succeeds sporadically and on short-term. Moreover, its pseudo doxastic effects tend to disappear once the use of force ceases. In contrast to doxastic coercion, evidential persuasion produces lasting correct beliefs in accordance with proper standards of evidence. It helps people to reach the highest possible standards of rationality and morality. Evidential persuasion is based on the principles of symmetry and reciprocity in that it asks all persuaders to use for changing the beliefs of others only those means they used in forming their own beliefs respecting the freedom of will and assuming the standard of rationality. The arguments in favor of evidential persuasion have a firm theoretical basis that includes a conceptual clarification of the essential traits of beliefs. Belief is treated as a hypercomplex system governed by Leibniz’s law of continuity and the principle of self-organization. It appears to be a mixture consisting of a personal propositional attitude and physical objects and processes. The conceptual framework also includes a typology of believers according to the standards of evidence they assume. In this context, I present a weak version of Clifford’ ethical imperative. In the section dedicated to the prerequisites for changing beliefs, I show how doxastic agents can infuse premeditated or planned changes in the flow of endogenous changes in order to shape certain beliefs in certain desired forms. The possibility of changing some beliefs in a planned manner is correlated with a feedback doxastic (macro-mechanism) that produces a reaction when it is triggered by a stimulus. In relation with the two routes to influence beliefs, a response mechanism is worth taking into consideration – a mechanism governed to a significant extent by human conscience and human will, that appears to be complex, acquired, relatively detached from visceral or autonomic information processing, and highly variable in reactions. Knowing increasingly better this doxastic mechanism, we increase our chances to use evidential persuasion as an effective (although not time-efficient) method to mold people’s beliefs. (shrink)
In the last decade Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has started to focus attention on forms of persuasive interaction where computer technologies have the goal of changing users behavior and attitudes according to a predefined direction. In this work, we hypothesize a strong connection between logical fallacies (forms of reasoning which are logically invalid but cognitively effective) and some common persuasion strategies adopted within web technologies. With the aim of empirically evaluating our hypothesis, we carried out a pilot study on a (...) sample of 150 e-commerce websites. (shrink)
This essay offers a start on sorting out the relationships of argumentation and persuasion by identifying two systematic ways in which definitions of argumentation differ, namely, their descriptions of the ends and of the means involved in argumentative discourse. Against that backdrop, the traditional “conviction-persuasion” distinction is reassessed. The essay argues that the traditional distinction correctly recognizes the difference between the end of influencing attitudes and that of influencing behavior—but that it misanalyzes the means of achieving the latter (...) (by focusing on emotional arousal) and that it mistakenly contrasts “rational” and “emotional” means of influence. The larger conclusion is that understanding the relationships of the phenomena of argumentation and persuasion will require close attention to characterizations of communicative ends and means. (shrink)
In this paper, the author argues that literary works have distinct cognitive significance in changing their readers’ beliefs. In particular, he discusses ‘philosophical fictions’ and truthclaims that they may imply. Basing himself broadly on Aristotle’s view of the enthymeme, he argues that a work of literary fiction persuades readers of its truths by its dramatic structure, by illustrating or implying the suppressed conclusion. Further, he suggests that it is exactly this ‘literary persuasion’ which distinguishes literary works from merely didactic (...) works prone to overt ‘argumentation’ and instruction. (shrink)
I argue that argumentation is not to be identified with (attempted) rational persuasion, because although rational persuasion appears to consist of arguments, some uses of arguments are not attempts at rational persuasion. However, the use of arguments in argumentative communication to try to persuade is one kind of attempt at rational persuasion. What makes it rational is that its informing ideal is to persuade on the basis of adequate grounds, grounds that make it reasonable and rational (...) to accept the claim at issue. (shrink)
The primacy in modern medical ethics of the principle of respect for autonomy has led to the widespread assumption that it is unethical to change someone’s beliefs, because doing so would constitute coercion or paternalism., In this Viewpoint we suggest that persuasion is not necessarily paternalistic and is an essential component of modern medical practice.
In Plato’s Laws, the Athenian Stranger maintains that law should consist of both persuasion (πειθώ) and compulsion (βία) (IV.711c, IV.718b-d, and IV.722b). Persuasion can be achieved by prefacing the laws with preludes (προοίμια), which make the citizens more eager to obey the laws. Although scholars disagree on how to interpret the preludes’ persuasion, they agree that the preludes instill true beliefs and give citizens good reasons for obeying the laws. In this paper I refine this account of (...) the preludes by arguing that the primary purpose of the preludes is to motivate correct action, and that for citizens who lack rational-governance this is achieved via useful false beliefs. That is to say, in many cases, the prelude functions as a “noble lie” (γενναῖον ψεῦδος). (shrink)
In this paper we show how dialogue-based theories of argumentation can contribute to the construction of effective systems of dispute resolution. Specifically we consider the role of persuasion in online dispute resolution by showing how persuasion dialogues can be functionally embedded in negotiation dialogues, and how negotiation dialogues can shift to persuasion dialogues. We conclude with some remarks on how persuasion dialogues might be modelled is such a way as to allow them to be implemented in (...) a mechanical or computerized system of dialogue or dialogue management. (shrink)
The article deals with the question of persuasion by comparing two passages taken from a text written by Victor Hugo entitled Claude Gueux The first passage is taken from the first part of the text in which Hugo tells the story of the murder of the director of the Clairvaux prison workshop perpetrated by a prisoner, Claude Gueux, followed by the latter’s trial and execution. The second passage studied is taken from the second part of the text in which (...) Hugo argues against the death penalty. This article begins with an intuitive sense that the styles of these passages are “different”: the second one clearly shows Hugo’s persuasive intention, which is to say his effort to make his position be accepted. That said, does this extract have semantic properties that the descriptive passage does not have? The hypothesis advanced is that the organization of contents is of a similar nature in both passages of Claude Gueux and that it is only in an enunciative way that the passages are distinguishable. This enunciative difference allows the militant passage’s locutor to portray himself in a favorable light and, herewith, to convince the reader to his point of view. It is, hence, but in an indirect manner that Hugo’s persuasive intention appears; as it is without a semantic mark. (shrink)
Persuasion is a fact of social life, one upon which positive and negative views can be taken. Argumentative rhetoric is often functionally defined as aiming to persuade. Different views on persuasion are taken in argumentative studies, and many other disciplines focus on persuasion. This article takes an “inter-discursive” view of argumentation, and, following the “Hamblin’s trend”, suggests a possible replacement for the concept of persuasion by the inter-discursive concept of alignment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson reputedly said, "If you build a better mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door." In this article, Emerson's actual quote is seen to infer a simple rule: quality supply attracts quantity demand. Such a rule could imply that enitre businesses related to persuasion, such as public relations, advertising, and marketing seem at best unnecessary and at worst unethical. However, Emerson's logic may not apply in modern market places driven by multiple competing images. (...) This article proposes eithical thresholds for persuasion and examines the relationship of these thresholds to public relations theory. Two case studies are analyzed in which better-mousetrap logic is applied to test the viability of these thresholds. (shrink)
Persuasion dialogue sometimes helps us to clarify our ideas; this paper attempts to find out what clarification consists in. It criticizes Walton’s view, which explains clarification as making implicit commitments explicit and proposes a different approach according to which clarification consists in replacing narrowly individuated views with epistemically better ones which retain elements of the earlier views. It also argues that clarification so conceived is not one of the main goals of persuasion dialogue but rather an accidental even (...) if welcome side effect. (shrink)
In his youth, John Stuart Mill followed his father’s philosophy of persuasion but, in 1830, Mill adopted a new philosophy of persuasion, trying to lead people incrementally towards the truth from their original stand-points rather than engage them antagonistically. Understanding this change helps us understand apparent contradictions in Mill’s cannon, as he disguises some of his more radical ideas in order to bring his audience to re-assess and authentically change their opinions. It also suggests a way of re-assessing (...) the relationship between Mill’s public and private works, to which we should look if we are attempting to understand his thought. (shrink)
Persuasion is a special aspect of our social and linguistic practices – one where an interlocutor, or an audience, is induced, to perform a certain action or to endorse a certain belief, and these episodes are not due to the force of the better reason. When we come near persuasion, it seems that, in general, we are somehow giving up factual discourse and the principles of logic, since persuading must be understood as almost different from convincing rationally. Sometimes, (...) for example, we can find persuasion a political speech that relies on our feelings, emotions and values, but we can also find a persuasive person a dodger, busy in his own questionable activities that are intentionally performed in order to mislead and manipulate other people. However, I do not want to try to define a general notion of persuasion from the beginning. I would rather start with a conception that already has a place, even if controversial, in the philosophical debate. In particular, the version that I have always found particularly provocative is that provided by Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. This peculiar version of the idea of persuasion, which is often associated with the possibility of overcoming deep disagreements, is quite famous in the literature and often understood as indicating certain intrinsic limits of our reason-giving practices. The following are Wittgenstein’s famous remarks on persuasion: -/- 608. Is it wrong for me to be guided in my actions by the propositions of physics? Am I to say I have no good ground for doing so? Isn’t precisely this what we call a ‘good ground’? -/- 609. Suppose we met people who did not regard that as a telling reason. Now, how do we imagine this? Instead of the physicist, they consult an oracle. (And for that we consider them primitive.) Is it wrong for them to consult an oracle and be guided by it? If we call this “wrong” aren’t we using our language-game as a base from which to combat theirs? -/- 611. Where two principles really do meet which cannot be reconciled with one another, then each man declares the other a fool and heretic. -/- 612. I said I would ‘combat’ the other man, – but wouldn’t I give him reasons? Certainly; but how far do they go? At the end of reasons comes persuasion. (Think what happens when missionaries convert natives.) -/- This paper is not devoted, as far as possible, to focus on interpretative matters about Wittgenstein’s late philosophy. Rather, it aims to investigate whether there are problems and incompatibilities between this particular conception of persuasion and our contemporary understanding of our reason-giving practices and of our belief-revision procedures. The first part of this study will be concerned about assessing this conception of persuasion and trying to shed new light on it (and on its consequences); most of the work here is done by looking at some truisms and normative features of our practices regarding the rational updating of our beliefs. It also addresses the question: Is the resistance to reasons of Wittgenstein’s persuasion capable to avoid the strict dynamics of belief revision? The second section of this study concerns the possibility of limiting the scope of this conception of persuasion, thanks to some of our contemporary ways of understanding rational discursive practices (I will focus especially on Robert Brandom’s game of “giving and asking for reasons”). If our rational practices require at least a certain degree of epistemic responsibility, then how is it possible that one invokes the end of reasons (that would explicitly mean giving up this responsibility)? A third section is the attempt, on this basis, to try to revise our contrasting conception(s) of persuasion (with an eye open on the near doxastic territory). Are there other conceptions of persuasion which are more compatible with our rational practices and do not entail any version of the “end of reasons” that are so compatible with our individual and social epistemic responsibility? (shrink)
This text will focus on the transformations of the practices and ideas of communication in recent history and in the context of the globalization. The lecture will examine first persuasion and then manipulation and seduction. These second issues are explained through the fact that in the context of the rise of mass as historical subject, conscience, and thus persuasion become obsolete. The approach examines the theoretical model of communication in this two historical contexts and concludes that a partial (...) sector of communication, "therapeutic communication", tends to model nowadays the process of communication as such. Based on the new practices and theoretical models of communication a new type of ideology appears, an ostensive one. (shrink)
This paper examines the attitudes toward political persuasion at work in the writings of Han Feizi (280-233 BCE). Particular attention is given to differentiating Han Feizi's thought from Western analogs under which it has suffered hermeneutically, especially comparisons with Plato's so-called "noble lie." After probing some of the psycho-social assumptions of ancient Greek versus Chinese political discourse, Han Feizi's own view is reconstructed, according to which practices of deception and secrecy are permissible under specific moral and political conditions. It (...) is argued that not only is the account which emerges a more charitable interpretation of Han Feizi, but also that it is independently attractive as a helpful and realistic lens through which to view contemporary anxieties concerning political discourse and transparency. (shrink)
Los científicos tratan de persuadir a sus colegas y, en última instancia, al conjunto de la sociedad, para que acepten sus tesis, descubrimientos y propuestas. Desarrollan para ello una serie de estrategias que pueden ser estudiadas como un “juego de persuasión” en el que intervienen, además de los procesos de argumentación formal e informal típicamente estudiados por la lógica y metodología de la ciencia, aspectos tradicionalmente considerados “sociológicos”. En este artículo se analiza el debate sobre la ciencia del cambio climático (...) como un juego de este tipo, desde un enfoque inferencialista, sobre la base del esquema presentado en Zamora Bonilla (2006a). (shrink)
This study extended the scope of previous findings in human–computer interaction research within the computers are social actors paradigm by showing that online users attribute perceptions of moral qualities to Websites and, further, that differential perceptions of morality affected the extent of persuasion. In an experiment (N = 138) that manipulated four morality conditions (universalist, relativist, egotistic, control) across worldview, a measured independent variable, users were asked to evaluate a Web site designed to aid them in making ethical decisions. (...) Web sites offered four different types of ethical advice as participants contemplated cases involving ethical quandaries. Perceptions of the Web sites’ moral qualities varied depending on the type of advice given. Further, the Web sites’ perceived morality and participants’ worldview predicted credibility, persuasiveness, and attitudes toward the Web sites. (shrink)
In this brief commentary of Kamila Debowska-Kozlowska’s insightful analysis of persuasive outcomes (Processing topics from the Beneficial Cognitive Model in partially and over-successful persuasion dialogues. Argumentation, 2014), I articulate some suggestions for future development of her ideas. My main claim is that, while instances of partially and over-successful persuasion are indeed worthy of further theoretical inquiry, the topical analysis proposed by Debowska-Kozlowska may benefit from integration with other approaches.
Issues of genre and persuasion are central to ethical thought and practice. Until recently, there has been an asymmetry between religious ethics and moral philosophy in regard to these issues. Renewed attention to these issues in moral philosophy creates a new context for their consideration in religious ethics--one in which the relation of religious ethics and moral philosophy is less determinate than it has been in previous discussions. The four essays that comprise this Focus Section reflect this new context (...) while also making new contributions to perennial concerns of genre in ethical thought and practice. (shrink)
Jacob Glazer and Ariel Rubinstein proffer an exciting new approach to analyze persuasion, using formal tools from economics to address questions that argumentation theorists, logicians, and cognitive and social psychologists have been interested in since Aristotle's Rhetoric. In this note I examine to what extent their approach is successful, and show ways to extend it.
This book develops a sophisticated account of propaganda and its intriguing history. It begins with a brief overview of Western propaganda, including Ancient Greek theories of rhetoric, and traces propaganda’s development through the Christian era, the rise of the nation-state, World War I, Nazism, Communism, and the present day. The core of the book examines the ethical implications of various forms of persuasion, not only hate propaganda but also insidious elements of more generally acceptable communication such as advertising, public (...) relations, and government information, setting these in the context of freedom of expression. This new edition is updated throughout, and includes additional revelations about a key atrocity story of World War I. (shrink)
Narrative representations can change our moral actions and thoughts, for better or for worse. In this article, I develop a theory of fictions' capacity for moral education and moral corruption that is fully sensitive to the diversity of fictions. Specifically, I argue that the way a fiction influences our moral actions and thoughts importantly depends on its genre. This theory promises new insights into practical ethical debates over pornography and media violence.
A concern central to virtually all full-blooded instances of religious ethics is how persuasively to represent a world central to our fulfillment that far exceeds our normal understanding. The treatment of three kinds of language in an early Daoist text, the Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), contains an especially profound discussion and expression of such persuasive presentations in religious ethics. This study examines it and concludes by viewing Dante's Commedia through the perspectives Zhuangzi's ideas and practices present.
In this paper I argue that to explain and resolve some kinds of disagreement we need to go beyond what logic alone can provide. In particular, following Perelman, I argue that we need to consider how arguments are ascribed different strengths by different audiences, according to how accepting these arguments promotes values favoured by the audience to which they are addressed. I show how we can extend the standard framework for modelling argumentation systems to allow different audiences to be represented. (...) I also show how this formalism can explain how some disputes can be resolved while in others the parties can only agree to differ. I illustrate this by consideration of a legal example. Finally, I make some suggestions as to where these values come from, and how they can be used to explain differences across jurisdictions, and changes in views over time. (shrink)
This article takes a linguistic perspective of argumentation, as proposed by Marion Carel and Oswald Ducrot with the “Théorie des blocs sémantiques” (SBT: Semantic Block Theory). This theory argues that the meaning of a linguistic entity is determined by a collection of discourses that this entity calls to mind. Describing the meaning of a word, a syntagm or an utterance amounts to specifying the argumentative linkages (“enchaînements argumentatifs”) allowed by these entities. We propose a semantic and argumentative analysis of syntagms (...) mujer fácil , femme facile [easy woman] and hombre fácil , homme facile [easy man] that, in Romance languages in particular, hold different meanings: both hombre fácil/homme facile describe a man’s character or nature, whereas mujer fácil/femme facile, in their most common usage, imply a certain sexual behavior. We will compare the argumentative linkages that make up the meaning of mujer fácil/femme facile with those of other expressions that are part of the same semantic block. Also, this analysis will connect the proposed description to certain proverbial discourse about women, and it will call attention to the role that these expressions can play in a persuasive strategy. (shrink)
Whereas professional persuasion is a means to an immediate and instrumental end, ethical persuasion must rest on or serve a deeper, morally based final end. Among the moral final ends of journalism, for example, are truth and freedom. There is a very real danger that advertisers and public relations practitioners will play an increasingly dysfunctional role in the communications process if means continue to be confused with ends in professional persuasive communications. Means and ends will continue to be (...) confused unless advertisers and public relations practitioners reach some level of agreement as to the moral end toward which their efforts should be directed. In this article we advance a five-part test that defines this moral end, establishes ethical boundaries that should guide persuasive practices, and serves as a set of action-guiding principles directed toward a moral consequence in professional persuasion. The TARES Test consists of five principles: Truthfulness, Authenticity, Respect, Equity and Social Responsibility. We provide checklists to guide the practitioner in moral reflection and application of TARES Test principles. (shrink)
Media argumentation is a powerful force in our lives. From political speeches to television commercials to war propaganda, it can effectively mobilize political action, influence the public, and market products. This book presents a new and systematic way of thinking about the influence of mass media in our lives, showing the intersection of media sources with argumentation theory, informal logic, computational theory, and theories of persuasion. Using a variety of case studies that represent arguments that typically occur in the (...) mass media, Douglas Walton demonstrates how tools recently developed in argumentation theory can be usefully applied to the identification, analysis, and evaluation of media arguments. He draws upon the most recent developments in artificial intelligence, including dialogical theories of argument, which he developed, as well as speech act theory. Each chapter presents solutions to problems central to understanding, analyzing, and criticizing media argumentation. (shrink)
Is economics a science? Deidre McCloskey says 'Yes, but'. Yes, economics measures and predicts, but - like other sciences - it uses literary methods too. Economists use stories as geologists do, and metaphors as physicists do. The result is that the sciences, economics among them, must be read as 'rhetoric', in the sense of writing with intent. McCloskey's books, The Rhetoric of Economics and If You're So Smart, have been widely discussed. In Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics he converses (...) with his critics, suggesting that they too can gain from knowing their rhetoric. The humanistic and mathematical approaches to economics, says McCloskey, fit together in a new 'interpretive' economics. Along the way he places economics within the sciences, examines the role of mathematics in the field, replies to critics from the left, right and centre, and shows how economics can again take a leading place in the conversation of humankind. (shrink)
Psychological studies on fictional persuasion demonstrate that being engaged with fiction systematically affects our beliefs about the real world, in ways that seem insensitive to the truth. This threatens to undermine the widely accepted view that beliefs are essentially regulated in ways that tend to ensure their truth, and may tempt various non-doxastic interpretations of the belief-seeming attitudes we form as a result of engaging with fiction. I evaluate this threat, and argue that it is benign. Even if the (...) relevant attitudes are best seen as genuine beliefs, as I think they often are, their lack of appropriate sensitivity to the truth does not undermine the essential tie between belief and truth. To this end, I shall consider what I take to be the three most plausible models of the cognitive mechanisms underlying fictional persuasion, and argue that on none of these models does fictional persuasion undermine the essential truth-tie. (shrink)
Public health communications often attempt to persuade their audience to adopt a particular belief or pursue a particular course of action. To a large extent, the ethical defensibility of persuasion appears to be assumed by public health practitioners; however, a handful of academic treatments have called into question the ethical defensibility of persuasive risk- and health communication. In addition, the widespread use of persuasive tactics in public health communications warrants a close look at their ethical status, irrespective of previous (...) critiques. In this article, we review some ethical objections previously advanced against the use of persuasion in public health communications, and also consider some novel but potentially relevant objections. We conclude that persuasion is ethically problematic in some circumstances and attempt to clarify what these circumstances are. However, whereas persuasion may be ethically problematic in some circumstances, it need not be viewed as intrinsically problematic. (shrink)
We ought to treat others’ moral views with respect, even when we disagree. But what does that mean? This paper articulates a moral obligation to make ourselves open to sincere moral persuasion by others. Doing so allows us to participate in valuable relationships of reciprocal respect for agency. Yet this proposal can sound tritely agreeable. To explore its full implications, the paper applies the general obligation to one of the most challenging topics of moral disagreement: the morality of abortion. (...) I consider and reject arguments that abortion decisions have special features exempting them from the obligation to be open to moral persuasion. Further, I argue that viewing fetal ultrasound images can accomplish morally persuasion. Accordingly, in at least some cases a woman seeking abortion has an obligation to view fetal ultrasound images as a means of being open to moral persuasion. However, this conclusion does not support recent laws compelling women seeking abortion to view ultrasound images; such laws are in fact incompatible with the respect for agency that underwrites the obligation to be open to persuasion. (shrink)
Media argumentation is a powerful force in our lives. From political speeches to television commercials to war propaganda, it can effectively mobilize political action, influence the public, and market products. This book presents a new and systematic way of thinking about the influence of mass media in our lives, showing the intersection of media sources with argumentation theory, informal logic, computational theory, and theories of persuasion. Using a variety of case studies that represent arguments that typically occur in the (...) mass media, Douglas Walton demonstrates how tools recently developed in argumentation theory can be usefully applied to the identification, analysis, and evaluation of media arguments. (shrink)
In gorgias, socrates stands accused of argumentative "foul play" involving manipulation by shame. Polus says that Socrates wins the fight with Gorgias by shaming him into the admission that "a rhetorician knows what is right . . . and would teach this to his pupils" . And later, when Polus himself has been "tied up" and "muzzled" , Callicles says that he was refuted only because he was ashamed to reveal his true convictions . These allegations, if justified, directly undermine (...) Socrates' claim to be improving his interlocutors by argument. For if Socrates' use of shame tends to produce insincere assertion, then elenchus cannot serve as a tool for moral reform.In an important recent paper, Jessica Moss presents a new apologia for Socrates on these old charges. According to Moss, although Socrates adopts a strategy of shaming rather than reasoning his interlocutors into agreement, this is legitimate because his appeals to shame function as appeals to a moral sense, which connect a person to his own "deep" convictions. Moreover, she claims that shame "can be a more effective tool of persuasion than reason," for it is capable, where reason is not, of dislodging a person's "intuitive" moral beliefs. This essay argues that each of these points is mistaken. (shrink)
Friendly persuasion, in contrast to deterrent measures like tax audits and penalties on underreported taxes, is a positive and possibly a cost effective method of increasing taxpayer compliance. However, prior studies have failed to show that friendly persuasion has a significant impact on compliance (Blumenthal et al., 2001; McGraw and Scholz, 1991). In our study, in contrast to prior studies, we examine the impact of generating and reading reasons supporting compliance as friendly persuasion on individuals' income reporting (...) behavior as well as control for gender effects. Specifically, we predict an interaction effect between friendly persuasion and gender on compliance behavior. We carried out a 2 (friendly persuasion and control) × 2 (men and women) full factorial experiment, where participants earned $30 by completing two questionnaires. Participants in the friendly persuasion group were required first to generate and second to read a list of reasons why they should comply fully. Afterwards, participants in both groups were asked to report the income they earned and pay tax on the reported income. The results show a significant main effect for gender as well as a significant interaction effect between gender and friendly persuasion on income reported. Women in the friendly persuasion group reported significantly higher income compared to men in that group. Other comparisons were not significant. Policy implications for increasing taxpayers' ethics and compliance are highlighted. (shrink)
Dialogical egalitarianism is the thesis that any proposition asserted in dialogue, if questioned, must be supported or else retracted. Dialogical foundationalism is the thesis that some propositions are privileged over this burden of proof, standing in no need of support unless and until support for their negation is provided. I first discuss existing arguments for either thesis, dismissing each one of them. Absent a successful principled argument, I then examine which thesis it is pragmatically more advantageous to adopt in analytic (...) philosophical dialogue. This requires identifying the goal of such dialogue, to the attainment of which the thesis would be so advantageous. To identify this goal, I draw on Douglas Walton’s typology of dialogues for an analysis of the types of dialogue of 110 representatively selected journal articles in current analytic philosophy. 95% of articles are found to instantiate persuasion dialogue. In light of the thus prevalent goal of persuading one’s opponent, I argue that the adoption of dialogical egalitarianism in analytic philosophical dialogue is pragmatically inescapable. (shrink)
This article approaches the relationship of normative argumentation studies and descriptive persuasion effects research by pointing to several empirical findings that raise questions or puzzles about normatively-proper argumentative conduct. These findings indicate some complications in the analysis of normatively desirable argumentative conduct – including some ways in which practical persuasive success may not be entirely compatible with normatively-desirable advocacy practices.
A speaker wishes to persuade a listener to take a certain action. The conditions under which the request is justiﬁed, from the listener’s point of view, depend on the state of the world, which is known only to the speaker. Each state is characterized by a set of statements from which the speaker chooses. A persuasion rule speciﬁes which statements the listener ﬁnds persuasive. We study persuasion rules that maximize the probability that the listener accepts the request if (...) and only if it is justiﬁed, given that the speaker maximizes the probability that his request is accepted. We prove that there always exists a persuasion rule involving no randomization and that all optimal persuasion rules are ex-post optimal. We relate our analysis to the ﬁeld of pragmatics. (shrink)
In some sections of On Certainty, Wittgenstein uses the term “persuasion,” pitting it, on the one hand, against “giving reasons”, and comparing it, on the other, to conversion, while, finally, defining it as “giving someone one's own picture of the world.” In this essay, I analyse these sections, in an effort to fit them into the broader context of On Certainty, and to clarify the meaning and the limits of the comparison between persuasion and conversion. My aim is (...) to show that persuasion as Wittgenstein understands it here is quite similar to what we could call “re-education.”. (shrink)
In ‘Rational Persuasion as Paternalism', George Tsai argues that providing another person with reasons or evidence can be a morally objectionable form of paternalism. I believe Tsai’s thesis is importantly correct, denying the widely accepted identification of rational persuasion with respectful treatment. In this comment, I disagree about what is centrally wrong with objectionable rational persuasion. Contrary to Tsai, objectionable rational persuasion is not wrong because it undermines the value of an agent’s life. It is wrong (...) because it is contrary to an agent’s will. (shrink)
Los científicos tratan de persuadir a sus colegas y, en última instancia, al conjunto de la sociedad, para que acepten sus tesis, descubrimientos y propuestas. Desarrollan para ello una serie de estrategias que pueden ser estudiadas como un"juego de persuasión" en el que intervienen, además de los procesos de argumentación formal e informal típicamente estudiados por la lógica y metodología de la ciencia, aspectos tradicionalmente considerados "sociológicos". En este artículo se analiza el debate sobre la ciencia del cambio climático como (...) un juego de este tipo, desde un enfoque inferencialista, sobre la base del esquema presentado en Zamora Bonilla (2006a).Scientists try to persuade their colleagues, and ultimately the whole society, of the acceptability of their claims, discoveries and proposals. In order to reach that goal, they develop a number of strategies that can be studied as a 'game of persuasion', in which, beside the processes of formal and informal argumentation typically studied by logic and methodology of science, there are also 'sociological' aspects intervening. This paper analyses the debate on climate change science as a 'persuasion game', from an inferentialist point of view, according to the lines of Zamora Bonilla (2006a). (shrink)
The article calls for a departure from the common concept of autonomy in two significant ways: it argues for the supremacy of semantic understanding over procedure, and claims that clinicians are morally obliged to make a strong effort to persuade patients to accept medical advice. We interpret the value of autonomy as derived from the right persons have to respect, as agents who can argue, persuade and be persuaded in matters of utmost personal significance such as decisions about medical care. (...) Hence, autonomy should and could be respected only after such an attempt has been made. Understanding suffering to a significant degree is a prerequisite to sincere efforts of persuasion. It is claimed that a modified and pragmatic form of discourse is the necessary framework for understanding suffering and for compassionately interacting with the frail. (shrink)
This article presents three studies examining the importance of identification with characters in research on media entertainment. In Study 1 it was found that identification with characters was associated with spectators' degree of enjoyment of feature films of different genres. Study 2 showed that identification with characters predicts the affective impact of a dramatic film and, also, it was associated with greater cognitive elaboration and a more complex reflexive process during the viewing of the dramatic film. In Study 3 it (...) was observed that identification with characters predicted the incidental impact of a full length fictional film on attitudes and beliefs. These results support the centrality of the construct of identification with characters in narrative persuasion research. (shrink)