USING THE ENTHYMEME IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND GROUNDING OF RHETORICAL ARGUMENTATION IN COMPOSITION

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

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In the assessment of the application of the enthymeme in argumentative composition, the writer’s main point is the conclusion of the enthymeme. Furthermore, using enthymemes allows writers to amend unsupportable and unclear claims in argumentation. A partial solution may be provided by illustrating that the enthymeme remedies organizational problems in arrangement of composition.

Emmel, Green, and Gage each describe what an enthymeme is. Emmel states that enthymemes create a level of realization and intention in discourse by moving individuals between ideas and the connections in relationship to those ideas (Emmel, 1994, p. 138). Green describes enthymemes as a logical necessity that provides writers with structured discourse (Green, 1980, p. 623). Gage argues that enthymemes represent the rhetorical conditions fundamental in all compositional decisions by using every aspect of logical, ethical, and emotional proof in their construction (Gage, 1983, p. 39). Although Gage and Green share similar opinions on logical invention and process, it is at this position that Gage’s stance differs from that of Green’s in that the enthymeme functions in emotional and ethical argument and not solely rooted in logic whereas Emmel’s focus is on the enthymeme as a pedagogical tool for the process of discovering and shaping argument through dialogue.

Although similar terms are being addressed by the authors, they go on to state their differing accounts of the role the enthymeme has in creating composition. Emmel contends that the enthymeme enables writers to be aware of the inherent connections and thought processes involved in the complete composition of a paper (Emmel, 1994, p. 133). Green describes enthymemes as a pedagogical instrument to help students structure and control the development of composition (Green, 1980, p. 624). Gage contends that the enthymeme strategically develops the process of construction of an entire essay by providing essential logic and structure in arranging the parts of a composition (Gage, 1983, p. 39). Green believes that the enthymeme allows writers to develop compositional argument. However, Gage believes that the enthymeme permits writers to logically arrange their ideas until the composition’s conclusion. Unlike Gage and Green, Emmel places more importance on the conceptualization capabilities of the enthymeme as a teaching tool for composition than in the process of constructing of a logical paradigm.

The issue of common errors in composition that an accurate understanding of enthymemes can resolve is further cause for debate. Emmel claims that enthymemes provides direction and clarifies discourse by offering two relevant propositions that disclose a crucial relationship of one premise supporting the other (Emmel, 1994, p. 134). Green believes that rhetorical problems occurring from the use of predication in composition eventually becomes repetitious and mundane because they lack cohesion and ultimately fail due to the writer’s failure to use verbs of consequence or influence (Green, 1980, p. 630). Gage asserts that the use of verbs that do not predicate the terms in an enthymeme produces an illogical sequence of stages that creates repetition and an inability to arrive at a conclusion in composition (Gage, 1983, p. 44). Contrary to Emmel, Green and Gage discuss the task of the enthymeme and how various verbs respond effectively or ineffectively in practical discourse.

So it follows at least with Emmel, Green and Gage, that the enthymeme allows writers to ground terms in the development and arrangement of argumentation in composition because the process of creating enthymemes compels writers to identify redundancies, circular arguments and incomplete thought processes.

References:

Emmel, B. A. (1994). Toward a pedagogy of the enthymeme: the roles of dialogue, intention and function in shaping argument. Rhetoric Review, 13(1), 132-149. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/465783

Green, L. (1980). Enthymemic invention and structural prediction. College English, 41(6), 623-634. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/375907

Gage, J. T. (1983). Teaching the enthymeme: invention and arrangement. Rhetoric Review, 2(1), 38-50. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/465636

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