Critical Reasoning…Propaganda, fallacies and loaded language

This final assignment is due by Thursday, September 3rd, by 11:59 pm EST through


Because I must meet a deadline for final grades, it is very important that final assignments be submitted on time.  If there is an emergency, please contact me immediately through e-mail.


I will be holding office hours during exam week on Monday, August 31st, between 11 am and 1 pm.


 This essay is based partly on the video we have watched for class in the last unit:  chapters 4 – 5 of “The Persuaders ” and the  reading assignment “Metaphors We Live By ”, by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, the links for which  can be found on Blackboard Learn, under the reading and video assignments for Week  9 of this course.  This essay is also partly based on the assigned readings   on loaded language and propaganda, in your text on pp. 458 – 469;  on fallacies in chapter 7 of your text;


LENGTH OF ESSAY AND POLICY ON PLAGIARISM:  After watching the above video and doing the assigned readings, you should type an approximately   3 page double-spaced essay  (of font size 10 or 11) which interweaves the answers to the main  questions (in capital letters) below , with details from the assigned video and readings to support your answers.   You need not summarize the video for this essay, and you need not discuss everything in the video, but you must include specific examples to support your points and you must show evidence of having watched the video, as well as having done the assigned readings.



Video Link (The Persuaders):http ://www .pbs .org /wgbh /pages/frontline /video/flv /generic.html ?s=frol 02p74&continuous=1


                I will not accept essays that are shorter than 2 double-spaced pages (44 lines of text of 10 or 11 size font).   Your essay may be longer than 3 pages, but should not exceed  5 pages.  You are not expected to use any outside sources in your discussion (that is, you are expected to only use assigned readings and videos for the course, as stated above), but, if you do use outside sources, you must include citations.  Failure to cite outside sources will be counted as plagiarism, for which there are penalties (see the syllabus).


Keep a copy of your final essay in print or saved electronically just in case I claim that I never received it.  This is for your own protection.


Chapters 4 – 6 of “The Persuaders” discusses different ways in which marketers and political consultants and political campaigners use various techniques to “persuade” the public to either buy certain goods or to support certain political positions or candidates and it never explicitly connects this “persuasion” to propaganda, while the article by George Lakoff discusses the different ways that metaphors inform the way we think generally and also politically.

 Interweave into one essay a discussion of the following questions (#1, #2 & #3):  The main themes are in CAPITAL LETTERS, and the questions beneath the main themes are guidelines and reminders of what we have, or will, discuss in class.


1)      MAIN QUESTION TO BE ADDRESSED:   Given Lakoff’s metaphor that “argument is war” (as found in the assigned articleMetaphors we Live by ),  and given Rapaille’s approach to marketing and Frank Luntz’s approach to politics and language in the video, “The Persuaders” , do these undermine the traditional approach to argument, and aims, in critical reasoning, as discussed in the first week and last weeks of this course (see also the description of the course in the syllabus)?   In answering this question, you should address what critical reasoning is, by reference to the description on the syllabus, to any class discussions throughout the term on critical reasoning , recognizing assumptions, identifying types of evidence, identifying and evaluating arguments, etc.  Do such techniques found in these videos undermine critical reasoning, and how or how not?


2)      WHAT TO ADDRESS IN ANSWERING THE MAIN QUESTION ABOVE :  In answering the main question above, you should explain how the metaphor “argument is war” influences our expectations of what a good argument is and compare and contrast it to what we learn in a critical reasoning class AND  discuss one or more of the following:  Rapaille (on marketing) AND/OR Luntz (on use of language in politics, etc) as they are presented in the video “The Persuaders” (chapters 4 – 6).  You may also discuss other metaphors that Lakoff mentions that might inform how we view and act upon arguments, ideas, theories, etc.  In other words, you should feel free to draw upon the entire article by Lakoff and Johnson.


 In other words, w hat does the use of marketing techniques, and political consulting and campaigning techniques and/or metaphors, imply for critical reasoning, as we have discussed the latter in this class? 

 In your discussion, use specific examples to illustrate your points.  You should discuss what role appeal to emotions and/or appeal to unconscious desires and/or appeal to assumptions (either conscious or unconscious) play in each of these approaches (whichever ones you choose to discuss) and whether or not these are necessary to argumentation (see also the questions below). Although you are expected to consider our class discussions in answering these questions, you need not agree with everything discussed in class, and you need not confine yourself to examples discussed in class.

3)       IN YOUR DISCUSSION OF THE ROLE OF EMOTIONS IN #2 ABOVE, ADDRESS BRIEFLY PROPAGANDA AND/OR FALLACIES:  Under what circumstances might appeal to emotions become “propaganda”? Using pp. 458 – 462 in your text as a reference, discuss in what ways that marketing, public relations AND/OR political consultants, may or may not use a variety of propaganda techniques that are mentioned in the text.   Do any of the techniques that are mentioned in the video – and be specific (details are important) – involve the propaganda techniques (that is, the fallacies, such as glittering generalities, identification, association, testimonials) mentioned in the text, or any manipulation and deception (through language, or through emotional appeals, or otherwise)?   Although we might not have time to discuss every one of the propaganda techniques (or fallacies) in class, you should consider a few of them in light of the marketing and political consulting techniques found in “The Persuaders”.    In what ways do these various propaganda techniques (or fallacies) appeal to emotions or try to deceive or manipulate us or attempt to distort the evidence?  (In addition, you may discuss some of the fallacies in chapter 7, such as appeal to the people, or appeal to pity, or appeal to force, in answering this question on the appeal to emotions.  Notice that chapter 7 does not include a separate fallacy called “appeal to the emotions”.)   Where would you place marketing, and political consulting, as they are presented in the “Persuaders” on the continuum presented on p. 459 of your text?  You need not confine yourself to what we discuss in class, but justify your answer.