Reading Responses

Pullman: Introduction “Interesting Finds”

George Pullman’s introduction of Persuasion is carefully constructed so as to identify the purpose of the text, what persuasion is, and how easily manipulated it can be. The first interesting idea that Pullman proposed was the fact that persuasion is an art form within the world of literature and communication. In my post about “My philosophy of persuasion” I also described it as such and was intrigued to confirm my theory. I also found it interesting to think of persuasion as a technology, since the more modern definition of technology refers to electronics and innovations. Pullman further describes persuasion as an “interdisciplinary practice,” which means there are multiple techniques and strategies used in efficient and effective uses of persuasion.

Furthermore, Pullman defines persuasion as a “techne.” He uses this term to illustrate how irregular the art form is although it does have guidelines. Therefore, it is constantly changing and evolving. One concept that I do find challenging within this reading is how argumentation is a “subset of persuasion.” I will admit that I believed that persuasion and argumentation were essentially the same concept since persuasion is most commonly associated with arguing. Pullman’s text describes argumentation as a non emotional subset or tactic of persuasion, although it can turn a belief or conviction into evidence.


  1. Mrs. A

    Nice summary. Is this “reading against the grain”? or reading with it? And what do you think about that?

    1. admin

      I would like to believe that I am reading with it , as I am attempting to actively engage in the presented arguments. However, I am not reading against the grain because the initial reading isn’t causing me to stop and ask questions about the presented statements. If one finds themselves reading against the grain then it causes problems in the interpretation of the speaker’s argument.

      1. Mrs. A

        Great point. There is a place for “reading with the grain” and a very important one. AND it’s not necessarily *not* critical thinking when it’s done. To attempt to understand and convey another’s argument is an act of engagement, surely. When, then, does it become “mere summary” and not really useful?

  2. I have to say, the portion of the chapter where Pullman describes an argument as a subset of persuasion is evident within this post. In the beginning, you described how you and Pullman shared similar ideas on persuasion being an art form within the realm of literature, and the fact that Pullman, a scholar and professor, wrote about that in his book, adds credibility to your statement. The two of you shared the same idea, and came to the same conclusion, without him having to manipulate your thinking in any way; he further solidified your way of thinking in a non-argumentative persuasive manner. That adds a sort of hierarchical understanding to persuasion as it pertains it is compared to arguing as a subset, it seems.

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