I. My Original Philosophy of Persuasion (A Flashback)

At the beginning of the semester I walked into persuasion 3080 with the mindset that our assignments would make us feel as if we were on a debate team. After all, I thought persuasion merely involved how well someone convinces another person to hold similar values. My original philosophy statement primarily focused on persuasion as types of things that are persuasive. By identifying persuasion as things it shaped and restricted my philosophy of persuasion to that of oral and written communication that is convincing. To give you an example of my original beliefs, my original statement listed things in society that are persuasive such as advertising, politics, and social media. However, these things are simply mediums in which persuasive arguments are delivered. More specifically, I defined persuasion as the study and application of writing efficiently and effectively. I also perceived persuasion to be a compilation of strategic speech that everyone understands at one point or another.

My original philosophy statement also illustrated my lack of perspicuity between persuasion and argumentation. For years I was under the impression that the two things were essentially the same. I think that persuasions common association with argumentation led me to believe they must be the same in any case. Given this confusion, I guess you could say I really didn’t have an idea of what persuasion means to me. Once I read George Pullman’s text on persuasion, he clarified that argumentation is a non emotional way of convincing people to change their views of things.

This clarification got me thinking. It’s clear that persuasion and argumentation are no the same thing. My first philosophy of persuasion listed all sorts of persuasive mediums. Given these mediums, how are they persuasive and appealing and what does this reveal about my values? Then it all clicked, these mediums had a commonality that helped me identify them as successfully persuasive. What makes them convincing are the emotional connections they make with their audiences, whether intentional or unintentional. Identifying this quality further distinguishes argumentations from persuasion. As a result, this proves that I value emotions and I view persuasion as an empathetic form of art and communication that draws people together.