Rogerian Arguments

Powerful Essays
The expression argument has two meanings in scholarly writing. First, it means a composition that takes a position on one side of a divisive issue. You might write an argument against the death penalty, or for or against censorship of pornography. But argument has another meaning, too. It means an essay that, simply, argues a point. You might assemble an argument about the significance of ancestor myths in a certain aborigine culture, or you might write an argument defending your understanding of any poem or essay that is read in your philosophy class. (Winthrop University) You are not necessarily taking one side of a divisive issue, but you are required to defend your points with credible evidence. You are taking a position. In a sense, then, an argument is another word for a thesis. An argument needs to be narrow enough for you to support in the length of essay assigned. Typically, we think of winners and losers of arguments. Our practice of argument goes back to traditional Greece when speakers tried to influence fellow voters in the early democratic debates over guiding principles. (Kiefer) Building on this ritual of pro and con, our legal system goes even further to put emphasis on the adversarial nature of many arguments. But arguments don't always have to believe that readers make a yes/no, innocent/guilty, on/off decision. Many arguments build toward compromise. An approach most authors don't describe is called Rogerian argument. Rogerian expression was introduced by Young, Becker and Pike in their 1970 textbook, Rhetoric: Discovery and Change. (Brent) Traditional rhetoric, Young, Becker and Pike asserted, assumes an adversarial affiliation in which the speaker uses modes of influence to break down the audience's oppositi...

... middle of paper ... a jury. But classical arguments do not work as well in situations where a loving, congenial or even friendly relationship needs to be maintained. So, again, Rogerian argumentation can be thought of as a “kinder, gentler” way to argue—and one that may often serve you well.


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Brent, Douglas. "Rogerian Rhetoric: An Alternative To Traditional Rhetoric." Argument Revisted, Argument Redefined: Negotiating Meaning in the Composition Classroom (1996): 73-96.

Kiefer, Kate. "What is Rogerian Argument?" 1993-2011. Colorado State University. 3 August 2011.

Rogers, C. R., and D. Ryback. "One Alternative to Planetary Suicide." The Consulting Psychologist (1984): 35-54.

Winthrop University. "Rogerian Argumentation." 2000. Winthrop . 4 August 2011.
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