III. Ethics and Persuasion

Given my philosophy of persuasion, it is safe to say that I think ethics and persuasion go hand in hand. IN my opinion, you can’t have successful persuasion unethically. In a sense you can’t have one without the other. As mentioned in the first post, I found persuasion and argumentation to be different because of their levels of emotional engagement. An argument is a non-emotional way of convincing someone to shift their perspective. On the other hand, persuasion involves an emotional connection. Persuasion without ethics is merely argumentation.

Ethical persuasion relies on ones ability to consider the values of the audience and to create a message and deliver it in accordance with those values. Based on my own experience, the most convincing arguments have come from people that I can relate to. As a person that values the feelings of others, I tend to ethically persuade unintentionally. Would a person giving a message with views that don’t align with your own persuade you to change you beliefs or make your preconceived notions even stronger? I know I couldn’t be moved by a message that goes against my own values. Lets be honest, who would you believe more, a stranger or someone who has similar experiences as you? Given this idea, unethical persuasion is almost paradoxical.

Lets say you’ve experienced a traumatic event such as an armed robbery. If there was a seminar held on the issue of gun violence what would you most likely be expecting to hear? Personally I would expect a victim of gun violence to share their story. Would a person that has not experienced gun violence be able to share a more moving story than one who has? Emotional connections are necessary when trying to convince an audience of something and I believe they are the most effective when it comes to persuasion.