Lauren Bedevia Team #15 – Assignment One

Thesis: Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons explore the topic of how one’s memory is unreliable in the New York Times article, “Why our Memory Fails Is.” Chabris and Simons incorporate rhetorical tools such as logos, pathos, and ethos to support their argument. (Your thesis statement is somewhat incomplete. It makes good points but it needs to offer something more, something for you to defend or support more thoroughly. Overall you made some excellent points and your writing style is quite good.  I’d like to see more analysis than a summary of the articles in future assignments. Overall, well-written, good use of language, well-done.

Logos is used heavily in this article to prove to the reader that memory is unreliable. For instance, the authors used a lot of antidotes throughout the article. Chabris and Simons used experiences of memory failing from successful people such as Neil deGrasse Tyson on President Bush and 9/11, along with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. Logos is also used when they mention a paper written by cognitive psychologists, Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto in which tested how well people could recall words from lists they had studied, and how measured they were in their recollections. At the end of the study, it was concluded that people express both bad memory and good memory with confidence. Both authors approach their logical explanations with an informative tone.

Chabris and Simons also use Pathos to support their argument. They want to reassure the reader that we can have a failing memory. They use Rhetorical questions such as,” Do our heroes have memories of clay?” This question encourages the reader to think deeper and dare to question the memory of powerful, successful figures such as Clinton, Bush, and Tyson. There is something consoling in how Chabris and Simmons use Pathos to tell the reader that even the most powerful people remember events in a different way.

Ethos is used in the article to convey to the reader that memory can be failing. The case where Daniel Simons served in a jury serves as an example of how ethos is used in the article. According to the article, a comprehensive report was released that consisted of procedures that prevented any false memory and mistaken identification, including videotaping police lineups and improving jury instructions. This case proves that besides Simons and Chabris, there are others that believe that one’s own memory can be unreliable.

In conclusion, Chabris and Simons use rhetorical tools such as logos, pathos, and ethos to inform the readers on how our memory fails you whether you are a politician, astrophysicist, or the average Joe.

Comments help us understand where we fall in the range of perspectives about a view (Don’t read the comments! (Why do we read the online comments when we know they’ll be bad? D’Costa).  This statement can be applied to the comments section of Chabris and Simon’s article. The top three comments indicate Tyson’s perspective along with different perspectives of Hillary and Bush’s career history. Tyson uses ethos in his comment in which, he provides links to whoever would like to further read about his comments on Bush. The links could either prove that the authors have a false memory of Tyson’s comments or prove that Tyson is clinging to what he remembers.  The two comments under Tyson, criticize the article and use pathos to influence anyone who reads their comments. The commentators criticize the author’s choice of using Bush and Clinton as examples of intelligent people. The Times ranking the comments is effective because it can expose the readers to different perspectives beyond the author(s) of the article, which allows readers to explore their own understanding and opinions.