The Rhetorical Implications of a Lightning Bug: Making and Adapting Arguments in Visual Rhetoric

A lightning bug eating a large cookie

As part of the rhetorical analysis unit in my Rhetoric and Writing class, I created a lesson that, because I like terrible puns, I called "The Logos of Logos." My goal was to introduce the students to the idea of visual rhetoric, with an emphasis on drawing out implied arguments from images. I've written this experience up as a blog rather than a lesson plan because I find what happened in the classroom far more interesting than my original lesson plan.

Using Mind Maps to Analyze and Assess Reasoning

Mind map depicting arguments about traffic congestion

Chris Ortiz y Prentice raises an interesting question in “Why we just can’t seem to teach logos.” As Chris says, analysis challenges both instructors and students as we struggle to understand the multi-faceted Greek term “logos.” Given rhetoric’s long and at times contentious relationship with formal logic, I agree that we should take a broader approach to the analysis of reasoning in persuasive texts.

Why We Just Can't Seem to Teach Logos

Computer drawing of a sculpture of Aristotle

When it comes to argumentation, what's the hardest subject to teach: pathos, ethos, or logos? Based on my experiences teaching RHE306 and RHE309K and from asking my colleagues this question over the past two years, I believe the answer is indisputably LOGOS.

What's so hard about teaching logos? I think the big reason is that, when you're talking about persuasion and then you introduce the word “logos,” students' brains immediately recall the word “logic.” Instructors hesitate to allow this understanding. Many, including myself, dispute it outright.


Creative Commons License
All materials posted to this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. We invite you to use and remix these materials, but please give credit where credit is due. In addition, we encourage you to comment on your experiments with and adaptations of these plans so that others may benefit from your experiences.


User login