chapter  11
22 Pages

Persuasion

Although the aim of argumentation is to get the audience to accept a claim as reasonable, the aim of persuasion is to cause or influence actions. This distinction is based on the perception that language is an action that works in a performative way. As such, persuasion is a special type of argument. Friends, relatives, and coworkers try to influence one another regularly. For example, your parents may have tried to influence your choice of college and major. Your teachers try to influence you to think independently, and many of them try (unconsciously, perhaps) to influence you to behave as they do. Then there's the TV commercial and the print ad, inescapable forms of persuasion in our society, which advertisers use in an effort to influence behavior and deliver viewers and readers to their clients. Persuasive language is everywhere.