Rhetorical Analysis

The article “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” informed readers about how our memory works, and whether or not we should recall them as a reliable source. By using Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson as the primary example for their argument and also through the use of Logos they further explained their viewpoint on the topic and pulled together their argument [any use of ethos or pathos?].

After thorough reading of “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, there was a very informative tone to the article that I noticed with their use of Logos. They built their case around an accidental quoting of a George W. Bush speech done by Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson [use of ethos] in which he publicly stated that the former president said something that he in fact did not. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] With their use of Logos in the very first paragraph, they continued this tone by informing us about how relative our memory can actually be, and how it is shaped by how we remember and experience certain events. Through Logos, they referenced events in court cases where suspects recall events unclearly and use Dr. Tyson’s mistake to also question whether or not our memory is a reliable source when it comes to serious situations such as evidence in a court case. Arguments made in this article to help their position on the topic read as, “Memory failures that resemble Dr. Tyson’s mash-up of distinct experiences have led to false convictions, and even death sentences.” [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Towards the end, the tone of the article switched from informative to persuasive. I noticed a call to action and the usage of the words “should,” and “must”. This agreed with their point of view that people should understand the fact that our memory isn’t always going to be correct, and we as humans should acknowledge that we make mistakes [use of pathos] . Dr. Tyson stated a public apology and as a scientist he understood that there are always variables that could prove something true or false, and wasn’t going to ignore his own mistake.

The top three comments under the tab for “Readers’ Picks” were also supported by Logos. The top comment was from Dr. Tyson himself in which he left a link to his own page informing more about the topic, and his mistake in recalling a false statement by the former president George W. Bush. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Another commenter, used Logos to argue against one specific sentence in the article in which the writers claimed George W. Bush to be intelligent. This commenter went on to use a few quotes, that were either politically or grammatically incorrect, against the former president to bring evidence for why he doesn’t agree with the statement calling Mr. Bush intelligent. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Whereas, the commenters under the tab for “NYT Picks”, for the most part went off of personal relation to the article and why they agreed or disagreed with it. Neither of the commenters used Logos Pathos or Ethos to back up their opinions. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] The approach in ranking the comments proved effective in my opinion at least for the “Readers Picks” because instead of contributing another comment, a person can deeply agree with one they’ve read and thumbs it up, bringing that comment to the top of the thread. This gives the readers and the writers a view at the majority’s standing point on how they feel about the topic.


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