May 8Liked by Jason Preston

Agreed, our brains respond to compelling stories more than logic. Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow gets into some of the potential reasons for this.

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Tightly related here: the role of rhetoric, which is quite commonly denigrated (starting with Socrates and the "sophists"?) as if it's all "idle" rhetoric.

But rhetoric — our own and others' — is one the main ways we seek to *understand* things. Certainly when I'm arguing for something, especially in writing, I'm not just seeking to convince others. I'm crafting my own understanding, which I'm hoping others will share and adopt. ("How do I know what I think till I see what I say?" —Perhaps W.H. Auden.) Could also describe it as crafting a "story" that "makes sense."

The emotional appeal is one corner, BTW, of Aristotle's "rhetorical triangle." Well-traveled ground, this. Logos is the understanding above, while pathos is the emotional appeal. Then there's ethos...

Logos appeals to reason. Logos can also be thought of as the text of the argument, as well as how well a writer has argued his/her point.

Ethos appeals to the writer’s character. Ethos can also be thought of as the role of the writer in the argument, and how credible his/her argument is.

Pathos appeals to the emotions and the sympathetic imagination, as well as to beliefs and values. Pathos can also be thought of as the role of the audience in the argument.




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Ah cool!

I am consistently impressed with how much depth there is in the history of study on basically every topic.

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