Rhetorical Analysis: “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons

Thesis statement: Does Chabris and Simons explain the reason why our memory fails us sometimes? [The second paragraph is your thesis statement.]

Authors employ the rhetorical criterion of communication to present logic, facts, and truth to their audiences, whom they analyze their emotions to understand the best approach. Rhetorical arguments are based on the facts that are communicated by the authors, the credibility of the authors, and the emotions of the audience towards the understanding of the message. [Analyze rather than summarize.]

Chabris and Simons, in their work “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, also employ the three major aspects of rhetorical arguments to communicate the reasons to why they believe our memories cannot be trusted sometimes. The two authors have used the logos and ethos to demonstrate Dr. Tyson’s mistakes and the ways in which our memory fails us. [Restates the second paragraph.]

The logic, truth, and facts, are firmly presented by this article. However, the arguments still lack adequate credible source for support. In most paragraphs of their work, they have used the phrase “what Mr. Bush said” but the credibility of what was stated is not supported by any relevant evidences or sources.

However, Chabris and Simons present themselves to the audience in a professional way. The information mentioned about the two of them gives the supportive ideas to authenticate the points that they communicate. One of the two authors serves in the National Academy of Sciences. This part expresses the ethos part of their article [good point] , showing that they have ideas over the topic they are discussing about. However, this does not imply that all they mention are the facts and truth. It may mean their opinion. Facts require supportive evidences from reliable sources. [What about the scientific studies they authors cite? They’re a use of logos.]

As far as pathos is concerned, Chabris and Simons express few instances of emotional appeals to the audiences. According to them, misremembering does not mean a person is telling lies. They also say people make mistakes; this does not imply that they should be attacked for them. These two arguments give the pathos aspect of their article, appealing to the audiences that sometimes people misremember or make mistakes. Therefore, others should understand not to attack them for the mistakes but offer them chances to correct them. [good point] 

[How do the commenters use the rhetorical triangle to make their points?] The first three comments on the Reader’s Pick argued against some of the arguments of Chabris and Simons. According to Tyson, Chabris and Simon should base their reasoning and perceived facts on evidences, and not just opinions of others. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Dow, in the second comment, says that “I think your memory of Mr. Bush being an intelligent person is faulty.” This phrase is an implication that the stated logics in the article are just opinions lacking supportive evidence. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] The third comment argues that not always do people honestly misremember, sometimes people deliberately communicate incorrect information. He argues that Chabris and Simons should have given the cases where people honestly misremember. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] The NYT Picks talks about humans in general but don’t necessarily attack the authors for their content but rather express a general idea. Peter C commented, “We humans need to be trained and educated in understanding and accepting these fallibilities because they affect our behaviour, how we relate to the world and those around us so much.”


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