Assignment 1 by Katherine Yi IDS 3309 Team 6

Thesis statement: In the article “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simmons, Simons they both used logos, ethos, and pathos to explain their reasoning.

Katherine – Overall a good first effort. Your analysis of rhetoric is generally on target. Your writing is good, though you need to edit more carefully to avoid minor grammatical errors and unclear sentences.

Chabris and Simmons use logos in their article by mentioning multiple experiments where psychologists test memory and show proof that our memory changes over time. They use these experiments to further prove their argument and show that they’re using logical reasoning and factual proof to persuade readers into believing their argument. Good.

Pathos is used in this argument where they choose a side and become bias. Do you mean, Pathos is used when the authors choose a side and show their bias. “Do our heroes have memories of clay?” from there to the end of the article they’re giving their opinions. This makes readers think about all the people who are in power and question how they respond to things depending on their memory. Along with this the authors show a bit of their resent resentment towards politicians by stating “Politicians should respond as Dr. Tyson eventually did: Stop stonewalling, admit error, note that such things happen, apologize and move on”. This shows that there are some emotions in this argument and that the authors have something against politicians.

Ethos is then used in this argument by the authors stating, “This is why the National Academy of Sciences report strongly advised courts to rely on initial statements rather than courtroom proclamations”. Chabris and Simmons want to show that they are credible and reliable by including a national academy into their argument.  The authors use other trustable trustworthy sources to establish credibility prove that they are trustworthy, and their credibility remains to us readers.

The authors rely more heavily on facts and studies rather than playing on the emotions of the readers. emotions on the readers. Their tone is very formal and informative, but certainly at the end the tone changes. They become a little frustrated with politicians not admitting to their mistakes, but then the tone changes again, by the authors saying “We should be more understanding of mistakes by others, and credit them when they admit they were wrong. We are all fabulists, and we must all get used to it”. They changed the tone by becoming understanding and forgiving people when they make mistakes. Overall, Chabris and Simmons use all rhetorical techniques to prove their argument. As should everyone should. These three techniques come together to convince readers that their argument is correct.

The top three reader’s picks were chosen because they were factual by giving reference links and had given good counter arguments. One of the top reader picks were was Dr. Tyson himself, (two sentences here might be better) he uses pathos to persuade the reader to be fair and give him a chance to explain himself. With the second comment, the person doubts the author’s authenticity and uses logos to give multiple quotes from Mr. Bush, which prove against the authors memories and then gave proof by giving a reference link. This could be a bit clearer. The third comment, they use uses ethos and logos to persuade readers by reminding them that we’re all human, and it’s natural for us to make mistakes. We shouldn’t be fussing over someone’s small mistake.

Victoria Martinez: Rhetorical Analysis, IDS 3309, Team 6

The authors of the New York Times “ Why Our Memories Fails Us” and Comment is King” Virginia Heffernan, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, have written articles that elaborate on the three rhetorical techniques known as Pathos, Logos, and Ethos.

Victoria- Overall, your grasp of rhetoric is good. However, the assignment called for an analysis of the rhetoric used by Chabris and Simons, and the 3 top comments. Discussing the rhetoric of Heffernan and Bush left little time for a thorough analysis of C&S. Your analysis of the comments was good.
For a first essay, your writing is fine, but needs more careful editing. Your prose flows well, though some sentences lack clarity,

In Heffernan’s article, her way of using logos, is based on the commentary of Anne Applebaum’s writings. For example, she shows the reader comments such as “liberal fool” by a commenter, Jbburrows. Another comment she utilizes is “Anne gets just about everything wrong, by Lloyd667. Heffernan makes use of these comments to make her claim, that people should be paying more attention to ways they can better online journalism rather than break it down. Heffernan’s way of using pathos is used through one of the reader’s comments that state this, “Awful place. Awful change. Awful analysis. Awful writer. Awful country. Awful.” She’s pointing out here that, Applebaum’s readings are being degraded, rather than being contributing towards online journalism.  Ethos was used when the Foreign Policy magazine wrote that she was “the world’s most sophisticated thinkers,” showing credibility. The analysis is good, but the assignment is to analyze the rhetoric used by Chabris and Simons, not Heffernan.

In the second article, “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, the authors’ analyze use Ethos, Logos.  An example of Logos in the article would be “two- thirds of the named stats actually have Arabic names, given to them at a time when Muslims led the world in astronomy. This was stated to show evidence that Bush’s comment that “Our God is the God who named the stars” should not have been said, but even with that evidence, Dr. Tyson still misinterpreted what Bush was referring to. This goes to show the authors’ claims that our memory fails us in times when we may think we remembered correctly.

Bushs’ Bush’s statement can be pathos. For example “the same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today.” Mourning relates to pathos because it is what we do based off of our emotions. Bush does indeed use pathos, but your analysis should focus only on Chabris and Simons and the 3 comments on their article. The misinterpretation of Dr. Tyson is an example of ethos. Again, you should focus on the use of ethos by Chabris and Simons. Critics began pointing those facts out and accusing him of lying and eventually criticizing his credibility and reliability. Another example would be “Memory failures that resemble Dr. Tyson’s mash-up of distinct experiences have led to false convictions, and even death sentences.” This shows that not being certain or reliable can lead to extreme consequences. New paragraph here The top readers’ comments are have their own Ethos, logos and Pathos. Be consistent in capitalization. In, Neil Degrasse Tyson’s comment it can be seen as Ethos because he states OpEd (?) beginning with your own name, showing credibility.  The second comment by Keith Dow is an indication of logos because he uses quotes from President Bush to validate his position. The last comment from Jacob Sommer is an example of pathos because he relates the article to his personal points of pathos from the mistakes that have been made from our memory.  Overall, good analysis of the comments.

The approach to ranking comments is very affective effective I believe, because it shows that the reader connected well with the article and it gives other readers different viewpoints from the writings.

A Rhetorical Analysis of Why Our Memory Fails Us

Laura – Excellent piece. Strong analysis gets right to the point. Good use of supporting evidence. Good knowledge of rhetoric and its uses. Your writing is also quite good. Prose is concise and flows smoothly. Good job!

Our memories can fail us, and we are better for knowing it.

According to authors Chabris and Simmons for the New York Times, our memories cannot always be trusted. Throughout their article, Why Our Memory Fails Us, one can see the use of logos and ethos to prove their point on the weakness of our memories.  

Good. Through logos, the authors present solid facts to convince the reader that our memories can indeed fail us. By informing us of the vast damage that false memories have caused in wrongful convictions, they propose it is only logical to question our memories. Good. Chabris and Simmons also present a study which proved that people confidently remember false memories. Once again, they use scientific data and facts to support their notion. The authors also use real-life situations in which memory has been less than perfect. There are a few stories of failed memory as well- Hillary Clinton, and Dr. Tyson. The authors use these stories to prove their point- our memories are not infallible. Excellent.

Ethos is also part of the article’s rhetoric. The authors enjoy the credibility given to the New York Times as a reliable source of information. Also stated in the article, both authors have written a book. They benefit from trustworthiness we attribute to published authors.  Good. Also, writing about a topic in which they have professional expertise.

One might argue that the authors also use pathos in their rhetoric. They present stories throughout the article that move us towards sharing their beliefs on the problem with our memories. In telling us the story of Dr. Tyson, the authors show us how even an expert could be wrong-all the while thinking he was right. The stories of former President Mr. Bush and Hillary Clinton also appeal to our emotions. As a reader, one connects with the people aforementioned and thus humanizes this dilemma with our memories.

In terms of the comments to the article, the first one is by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson himself. His comment was very short and he shared a link to two Facebook posts. His message’s rhetoric is entirely ethos. He is relying solely on his position as a renown astrophysicist to make his point. He is resting on his laurels, on his fame as an astrophysicist. He states he has nothing further to say. His rhetoric is, in my opinion, successful. I believe him and trust in him as a renown renowned physicist.  

The second comment was by Keith Dow. His approach is entirely pathos. He criticizes the authors for calling former President George W. Bush “intelligent”. He shares five quotes in which Mr. Bush sounds less than smart. Dow uses the five quotes to move us to think as he does- Mr. Bush is not intelligent.

Lastly, the comment by Jacob Sommer is also heavy with pathos in its rhetoric. The author pulls at our heart strings in saying that we all make honest mistakes. He states people’s mistakes are often not done with malice. Here, the rhetoric is simple and understated. That one should be kinder is what it seems to say.