Term Paper, 2012, 20 Pages
Formal argumentation strategies that are used in advertising can be classified into two types: enthymematic argumentation and exemplary argumentation, which is subdivided into inductive and illustrative examples.
The term enthymeme refers to a pattern of argumentation which consists of three elements: argument, conclusion, and 1 generic premise. It is a three-step argumentation procedure “where one can deductively infer from the indisputably general to plausibility of a singular case” (Ottmers 1996: 74). According to Ottmers (cf. Ottmers 1996: 74), in an argumentation the argument is used to make a disputed claim probable and plausible. The argument transfers the contentious statement to a conclusion. This works by using a general principle that Ottmers describes as generic premise. It provides a connector between an argument and a conclusion. This three-step argumentation procedure represents the basic prototype of an enthymeme.
In everyday speech the enthymeme has five characteristics: first of all an enthymeme is not definite in its formal structure. In other words: the element’s order may vary. Secondly, the three elements should not necessarily be made explicit. An enthymeme may be abridged in a way that one or even two elements are not mentioned. In this case the recipient has to fill this gap. Ottmers points out that there are three abridged variations of enthymemes: a variation without a generic premise, a variation with the lack of a conclusion, and a version with the absence of an argument (cf. Ottmers 1996: 75). He also highlights that there can also be an absence of the generic premise and the conclusion at the same time (cf. Ottmers 1996: 75). This variation is typically used in advertising to assure conciseness and briefness. Furthermore, the degree of popularity of a topic depends on the degree of abbreviation. Ottmers found that advertisements which deal with an unfamiliar and complex topic tend to describe argumentation steps in detail, whereas advisements dealing with non-contentious statements tend to describe argumentation steps less detailed (cf. Ottmers 1996: 75).
Thirdly, enthymeme argumentation aims plausibility and not at the ultimate truth. Ottmers concludes that an enthymeme is not used in cases of ultimate knowledge but in situations where decisions have to be made. This is why enthymeme argumentation centres on the person to whom an argumentation is addressed to, on his or her educational background as well as on intellectual skills, specific knowledge, and his or her emotional condition (cf. Ottmers 1996: 76). Fourthly, the
1 Correlating to Ottmers „Schlussregel“.
argument must not be contentious itself because it has to support a contentious statement. Finally, enthymeme conclusions are partly based on specific, everyday-logic conclusion procedures and partly on conventionalised procedures that are discussed in rhetorical theory under the notion Topoi. Topoi play an important role concerning plausibility of an enthymeme argumentation. For Ottmers (cf. Ottmers 1996: 78), the inference from an argument to a conclusion must not be chosen arbitrarily. In fact there must be a plausible relation between both constituents.
As I already mentioned above, there are two basic forms of argumentation. Among enthymeme Argumentation there is a second formal argumentation strategy namely, argumentation through exemplification. The example was already known by Aristotle as parádeigma and served as a second basic procedure of persuasion. Without mentioning explicitly, Aristotle used two types of examples: the inductive and illustrative example (cf. Ottmers 1996: 81). Since argumentation through exemplification has less persuasive power than enthymeme argumentation, Aristotle recommends using the inductive example only if it is impossible to apply enthymeme argumentation. In contrast, the illustrative example serves as closing words for every enthymeme.
With respect to their structure inductive examples and enthymemes share similar features but differ in complexity. The inductive example is often used in situations of contentious generic premises. They do not prove the validity of generic premises but increase plausibility through inductive generalisation (cf. Ottmers 1996: 83). 184.108.40.206. Illustrative example
Although the illustrative example constitutes one of the two types of argumentation through exemplification strategies it cannot be seen as an independent argumentation procedure. The illustrative example simply serves the purpose of further supporting the claim. Furthermore, it is difficult to differentiate inductive and illustrative examples because it is not always clarified if an example explicitly supports a generic premise or an argument. According to Ottmers investigation (cf. Ottmers 1996: 84), illustrative examples may be identified by expressions like “for example” or “for instance”. If these expressions are not used it is very difficult to distinguish illustrative examples from inductive example. Additionally, it is complicated to differ between enthymeme argumentation and argumentation through exemplification as illustrative examples originate from enthymeme argumentation. However, inductive examples are applied infrequently since it is problematic to create a plausible argumentation with this type of generic premise.
As mentioned above Topoi provide a plausible relation between arguments and conclusions. They are crucial for a successful enthymeme argumentation. Furthermore, the quality of a generic premise is of great importance. Ottmers classifies Topoi into two broad types: Topoi based on everydaylogic generic premises and Topoi with conventionalised conclusions. In addition to that, he defines some characteristic features that I will introduce before dealing with the different categories of Topoi (Ottmers 1996: 87). One important feature of Topoi is dualism:
“On the one hand, they can be defined as formal, context-abstract argumentation schemes, on the other hand, they can be defined as structures which are context-relevant and binding in concrete situations of argumentation” (Ottmers 1996: 88).
Hence, topical dualism can be used for general situations and for concrete situations of argumentation. This means that the effectiveness of Topoi always depends on the “filled” content. On the basis of topical dualism, Ottmers points out (cf. Ottmers 1996: 89) that every Topos is “open” for various argumentation contents and directions. However, he also mentions that different argumentations which are based on the same Topos are not equally adequate for their respective argumentation steps based on the fact of dualism; Argumentation Theory aims to classify Topoi with reference to their formal and content character. In the following two chapters I will outline the sub-types for each group.
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