Rhetorical Analysis

This rhetorical analysis serves to explain and identify the use of appeals within Christopher F. Chabris’ and Daniel J. Simons’ standpoint on “Why Our Memory Fails Us” and comments, as well as find the validity in the rating system the New York Times provides for its readers. [Analyze and relate to rhetorical triangle.] 

[Analyze rather than summarize. How do the authors use the rhetorical triangle to convince the reader and how do they support their arguments?] In “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, they build their case by stating overconfidence contributing as a problem on relying on one’s memory. With this, they begin the article by giving an example of Neil Degrasse Tyson where he says he clearly remembers former president George W. Bush making a statement that implied he was against Islam. When in reality George W. Bush never said of what Neil Degrasse Tyson believed, it was actually two separate events that manage to formulate into what he thought he heard. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Simons and Chabris defend Tyson, and later Bush along with Hillary Clinton, by stating studies that have proven overconfidence can be tied to the option of being less correct. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] The authors’ article ties Tyson’s, Bush’s, and Clinton’s misgivings to their overconfidence in memory, like everyone else it ties itself to the fear of admitting being wrong. They have found, through the heavy use of logos, in case studies where overconfidence can be tied to being ultimately wrong. Along with the use of pathos, Chabris and Simons made it clear that we are in the end human beings who make common mistakes.

Based on the top three comments, there is a clear use of three appeals between the separate authors. The first top commenter, Neil Degrasse Tyson, defends his credibility and intelligence using the ethos appeal by attaching two links explaining that he knows what he remembers to be true, where Christopher F. Chabris’ and Daniel J. Simons’ idea of overconfidence comes into action. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] The second commenter uses the logos appeal by contradicting what Chabris and Simons stated that George W. Bush, along with Hillary Clinton and Neil Degrasse Tyson, is an intelligent individual by providing points in time where the former president found himself saying things of that made no sense. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] The third commenter offers the pathos appeal by explaining his personal experiences, where he explains that the everyday person having a wrong memory is simple mistake of being human, that even though most individuals connect it to be done on purpose or out of malice, they are simple mistakes that should be recognized as mistakes. [excellent analysis]

There is a striking difference between the readers’ choice and the NYT top three picks of comments. However, I do believe that the New York Times ranking system for comments is effective because it tops the comments that prove valid points to the argument within the article and suggests other examples, as well as other ideas about the idea of the subject discussed.  [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] I do agree that the Times ranking system is needed because usually when reading comments, readers skim through stopping at the ones that catch their attention, but with the ranking system it gives readers the option of reading ideas and information other individuals find valid and to the point.


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