Assembling Arguments
255 pages

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Assembling Arguments


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255 pages

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Scientific arguments—and indeed arguments in most disciplines—depend on visuals and other nontextual elements; however, most models of argumentation typically neglect these important resources. In Assembling Arguments, Jonathan Buehl offers a concentrated study of scientific argumentation that is sensitive to both the historical and theoretical possibilities of multimodal persuasion as it advances two related claims. First, rhetorical theory—when augmented with methods for reading nonverbal representations—can provide the analytical tools needed to understand and appreciate multimodal scientific arguments. Second, science—an inherently multimodal enterprise—offers ideal subjects for developing general theories of multimodal rhetoric applicable across fields.

In developing these claims, Buehl offers a comprehensive account of scientific persuasion as a multimodal process and develops a simple but productive framework for analyzing and teaching multimodal argumentation. Comprising five case studies, the book provides detailed treatments of argumentation in specific technological and historical contexts: argumentation before World War I, when images circulated by hand and by post; argumentation during the mid-twentieth century, when computers were beginning to bolster scientific inquiry but images remained hand-crafted products; and argumentation at the turn of the twenty-first century—an era of digital revolutions and digital fraud.

Each study examines the rhetorical problems and strategies of specific scientists to investigate key issues regarding visualization and argument: 1) establishing new instruments as reliable sources of visual evidence; 2) creating novel arguments from reliable visual evidence; 3) creating novel arguments with unreliable visual evidence; 4) preserving the credibility of visualization practices; and 5) creating multimodal artifacts before and in the era of digital circulation.

Given the growing enterprise of rhetorical studies and the field's contributions to communication practices in all disciplines, rhetoricians need a comprehensive rhetoric of science—one that accounts for the multimodal arguments that change our relation to reality. Assembling Arguments argues that such rhetoric should enable the interpretation of visual scientific arguments and improve science-writing instruction.



Publié par
Date de parution 20 janvier 2016
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9781611175622
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,3150€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Assembling Arguments
Studies in Rhetoric/Communication Thomas W. Benson, Series Editor
Assembling Arguments
Multimodal Rhetoric Scientific Discourse
Jonathan Buehl

The University of South Carolina Press
2016 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press Columbia, South Carolina 29208
25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data can be found at
ISBN 978-1-61117-561-5 (cloth)
ISBN 978-1-61117-562-2 (ebook)
The lyrics reproduced from Joni Mitchell s Both Sides Now
on P. 139 are used with permission.
Words and Music by JONI MITCHELL
1967 (Renewed) CRAZY CROW MUSIC.
All Rights Administered by SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING,
8 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203.
All Rights Reserved
For Gretchen
Series Editor s Preface
Part 1 Motives and Methods for a Multimodal Rhetoric of Science
1 Scientific Visuals: Rhetorical Potential and Rhetorical Problems
2 Toward a Multimodal Rhetoric of Science
Part 2 X-Ray Diffraction Crystallography
3 From Agreements to Images: The Rhetorical Foundations of X-Ray Crystallography
4 From Images to Arguments: Assembling a Multimodal Argument in 1912
5 From Arguments to Alternatives: Rhetorical Recirculation in 1912
Part 3 Seafloor Spreading
6 Mapping Motion through Magnetism: The Rhetorical Conception of the Vine-Matthews-Morley Hypothesis
7 From Artifact to Argument to Object of Agreement: The Assembly and Circulation of Magnetic Anomaly Maps
8 From Profiles to Timelines: The Assembly and Circulation of World-Moving Arguments
Part 4 The Twilight Zone between Clouds and Aerosols
9 Naming the Sky: Rhetorical Definitions and Atmospheric Science
10 Revising the Twilight Zone: The Assembly of a Multimodal Scientific Dissociation
11 Tracking the Twilight Zone: The Circulation of a Multimodal Dissociation
Part 5 Image Editors and Moving Images: Technologies of Argumentation
12 Learning from the Era When Science Met Photoshop: Toward an Ethical Rhetoric of the Digital Scientific Image
13 Integrating Moving Images into Scientific Arguments: From Pseudomovies to See Movie 1
14 Assembling Lessons from Assembling Arguments
Series Editor s Preface
In Assembling Arguments, Jonathan Buehl observes that since scientific argument is typically presented both verbally and visually, a multimodal rhetoric of scientific argument is needed to account for and to refine the methods of scientific argumentation. Professor Buehl develops a model for multimodal scientific argument intended to be useful both for philosophers and historians of science and for scientists who are themselves seeking to develop persuasive scientific arguments. The model is derived from and put to the test in an analysis of five cases of multimodal scientific argument: X-ray diffraction crystallography; sea-floor spreading as the mechanism of continental motion; the review and revision process of a study, relevant to climate change, of a concept of twilight zones between clouds and aerosols; the ethical problems of adjusting images for presentation; and the affordances created by new possibilities for digital distribution of moving images as part of scientific persuasion.
The detail, variety, and comprehensiveness of Buehl s close readings in the case studies themselves provide a model for analysis. Assembling Arguments is richly illustrated, both illuminating and exemplifying the principles of argument that Buehl seeks to discover and communicate. More than this, Buehl offers a clearly stated framework, based on rhetorical principles, to guide other such studies and the creation of multimodal scientific arguments.
Thomas W. Benson
Assembling Arguments could not have been written without the sustained support of my mentors, colleagues, friends, and family.
While studying at the University of Maryland, I found generous mentors who shaped my thinking and prepared me well for life after graduate school. I will be forever indebted to Jeanne Fahnestock for introducing me to the discipline of rhetoric, for always reading my work so carefully, and for guiding this project from curiosity to dissertation to book. Earlier versions of this work benefited greatly from the attentive reading of Jane Donawerth, Shirley Wilson Logan, and Michael Marcuse; their tutelage continues to shape my approaches to rhetoric, historiography, and academic life.
Since arriving at Ohio State University, I have been buoyed by my colleagues in the Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy program. Cynthia Selfe has been the best New Faculty Mentor a green assistant professor could hope to have. Wendy Hesford, Roger Cherry, and Louie Ulman all provided thorough feedback on sections of the manuscript as it evolved, and I have appreciated the supportive guidance of Nan Johnson, Beverly Moss, Scott DeWitt, Kay Halasek, Dickie Selfe, Eddie Singleton, Brenda Brueggemann, Jim Fredal, and Harvey Graff over the past six years. My graduate seminars at OSU have enrolled keen-minded students who sharpened my own approaches to research methods and visual rhetoric. I am especially grateful for the help of Erika Strandjord, who assisted me in the laborious task of coding data for my study of digital videos.
For years I have relied on the technical expertise of Amy Spears and the staff of the Digital Media Project and on the fiscal acumen of Tiffany Quattlebaum and Nicole Cochran in the Department of English. Both the Department of English and the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State graciously provided funds for subvention and permission fees, for which I am grateful.
I admired the work of Alan Gross long before we became colleagues and collaborators; I ve valued his support for this project and his help throughout the book publishing process. Publishing a first book has seemed less daunting with good friends like Tommy Davis and Bill FitzGerald on parallel journeys.
I am indebted to all those who granted me permission to reprint their images and texts. I am especially grateful to the authors of On the Twilight Zone between Clouds and Aerosols -Ilan Koren, Lorraine Remer, Vanderlei Martins, Yinon Rudich, and the estate of Yoram Kaufman-for allowing me to reprint material from their manuscript drafts. Without the generosity of Lorraine Remer and Ilan Koren-through both sharing their memories and reviewing my scientific explanations-I never could have told the twilight zone s remarkable rhetorical story. I wish them luck and success as they continue their vital research on atmospheric phenomena.
I thank Jim Denton, my acquisitions editor at the University of South Carolina Press, for believing in this project, for bearing with an author completing a first book, and for finding reviewers whose keen comments helped me to refine my arguments as I assembled them. With patience and skill, Bill Adams and the production staff at the press ensured that this book looks like I imagined it would.
I don t know where I would be without the love and guidance of my parents and first mentors, Daniel and Susan Buehl. They inspired in me the love of language and learning that carried me through this project and my life. My sister, Michelle, was my role model long before she entered academic life; I ve followed her footsteps so often because she always knows where to go.
To my dear wife, Gretchen: You have been my adviser, my sounding board, my bersetzer, my critic, my motivator, my motivation, and my biggest fan. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for your patience. Thank you, for everything.
Part 1
Motives and Methods for a Multimodal Rhetoric of Science
Chapter 1
Scientific Visuals
Rhetorical Potential and Rhetorical Problems
Neither the bare hand nor the understanding left to itself are of much use. It is by instruments and other aids that the work gets done, and these are needed as much by the understanding as by the hand. And just as instruments improve or regulate the movement of our hands, so instruments of the mind provide suggestions or cautions to the understanding.
Francis Bacon, Novum Organon, Book I, Aphorism II
There are several ways to truth; the scientific way is one of these. There are several ways of perceiving a scientific truth, but the simplest is the visual one.
Blodwen Lloyd, Science in Films
In 2006 Geoffrey Chang, an award-winning researcher at the Scripps Research Institute, retracted five papers that described the structures of complex cellular proteins. In the first and most influential of the retracted papers, Chang and his colleagues described the arrangement of the atoms in MsbA, a protein in the bacterium Escherichia coli. MsbA is an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter-a biochemical mechanism that moves molecules between the layers of a cell s membrane. ABC transporters are proteins of interest because pathogens might use these mechanisms to eliminate antibiotic molecules. Thus, these proteins could be crucial elements in the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria strains.
Chang s breakthrough paper-with its convincing stereoscopic visualizations of MsbA s structure-warranted publication in Science in 2001. (One set of his stereoviews appears in plate 1, following page 148.) * Chang then used the structure as the basis for other work, including determining the structures of MsbA for the pathogens Vibrio cholera (Chang 2003) and Salmonella typhimurium (Reyes and Chang 2005). Unfortunately, the molecular structure presented in 2001 was inaccurate, and hence the other structures were also flawed.
As Greg Miller reported in a news feature for Science , a blip in the code of an in-house data-analysis program flipped two columns of data, inverting the electron density-map from which [Chang s] team had derived the final protein structure (1856). This error propagated through the visualization process, resulting in a faulty determination of the protein s structure. Specifically, the flipped data changed the chirality or hand of portions of the visualized molecule. A molecule s chirality can significantly affect how it reacts and functions; for example, the tuberculosis drug ethambutol is a left-handed molecule whose right-handed counterpart causes blindness (Li and Haynie 451). The difference between Chang s representation of MsbA and a representation based on the correct chirality is demonstrated in plate 2 (following page 148).
Chang s unintentional error had serious consequences for the scientific communities studying ABC transporters. MsbA was the first ABC transporter to be mapped successfully, and other crystallographers studying this class of proteins built on Chang s work when conducting research on similar structures. In the light of Chang s retraction, they had to reconsider their work (Greg Miller 1857). Moreover, Chang s error had significant consequences even before it was revealed; specifically, researchers working with different protein-characterization methods faced skepticism when their findings did not corroborate Chang s structure. As Greg Miller noted, the biochemist David Clarke had a hard time persuading journals to accept [his group s] biochemical studies that contradicted Chang s MsbA structure, and grant applications that did not agree with Chang s structure were, in Clarke s words, given a rough time (Greg Miller 1857). Chang s erroneous structure had become a persistent but troublesome fact.
The errors in Chang s MsbA structure were formally recognized when Kaspar Locher, a researcher working on a similar bacterial protein (Sav1866), compared his work to Chang s structure. According to Miller, After pulling up Sav1866 and Chang s MsbA from S. typhimurium on a computer screen, Locher says he realized in minutes that the MsbA structure was inverted (1856). Locher and his coauthor, Roger Dawson, included a stereo-view graphic (plate 2) to compare the two proteins in their Nature report documenting the structure of Sav1866. The MsbA structure was presented as a purple wire structure; their Sav1866 structure was presented in green.
The purpose of Dawson and Locher s paper was to define the Sav1886 structure and not to contradict Chang s MsbA structure specifically, so they included the visual in an online supplement and not in the body of the paper. Nevertheless, the visual comparison serves three purposes: (1) It demonstrates the incompatibilities between the structures as they were defined; (2) it preempts the rejection of the Sav1886 structure on the grounds that it does not agree with Chang s structure; and (3) it shows that Chang s structure can be compatible with Sav1886 if the underlying data of the MsbA structure is corrected. The article s text presented a verbal refutation whose conclusion clearly stated the problem: The observed architectures of MsbA and Sav1866 remain incompatible, even when considering that the proteins may have been trapped in distinct states, and the differences-if real-would indicate a convergent evolution of the two proteins (182). This explicit refutation was clearly necessary, given the accrued authority of the Chang structure, and Dawson and Locher s text is brief but thorough. They argue that their structure is consistent with similar proteins; hence, it is more accurate than the Chang structure, which is inconsistent with these other findings. Moreover, by changing the chirality of part of Chang s structure in Part B of their figure, Dawson and Locher bring it in line with previous expectations for both it and analogous proteins. Thus, they do not dismiss the entirety of Chang s work, just the faulty premise that led to a faulty structure.
Rhetoricians would identify Dawson and Locher s rhetorical tactics as visual and verbal forms of arguments from incompatibility and analogy. The superimposed structures in Part A of their figure offer a state of affairs contradicting the aligned structures in Part B-and both states cannot be true. Although the true structures of Part B are not identical, they are visually like each other-as one would expect of homologous structures.
Through word and image, Dawson and Locher rhetorically restructured reality for their field, but their powerful argument is only part of what makes this case so interesting. Through Miller s report, we get a sense of Locher s multimodal composition process-the conception and assembly of the argument. Seeing Chang s structure on the screen prompted Locher to realize its faults immediately; the protein-structure database provided the raw material Dawson and Locher needed to craft a refuting visual argument. Reactions of other scientists to the entire ABC-transporter episode reveal other rhetorical issues at the heart of modern science.
In a Nature letter to the editor titled Pretty Structures, But What About the Data?, the biochemist Chris Miller reacted to the Chang incident by elaborating on what he sees as systemic problems in the culture of protein-structure scientists:
The mistake so clearly illustrates two lessons that we aging baby boomer professors ram down the throats of our proteomically aroused graduate students: (i) that those lovely colored ribbons festooning the covers and pages of journals are just models, not data, and (ii) that you invite disaster if you don t know what your software is actually doing down there in the computational trenches. Students have a hard time subsuming these dicta into their souls for two reasons: the tyranny of authority (the vanity journals occupying the vanguard) and the inherent beauty of the macromolecular models that emerge, as if by magic, from the user-friendly crystallographic software accumulated over decades through the generous labor of the field s talented reciprocal space-cadets. *
Miller s comments and the case at large illustrate concerns about agency and algorithmic premise-driven visualization ( know what your software is actually doing ), the emotional appeal of visual artifacts ( the inherent beauty of the macromolecular models ), disciplinary history and conventions ( [visualization] software accumulated over decades ), the ethos of specific publications (the tyrannical authority of prestige journals), and the representational and rhetorical status of images ( [visual] models are not data ). Such concerns are not limited to proteomics, nor are they unique to our technologically saturated era. Digital technologies have enabled new possibilities for representing data and circulating arguments; however, anxiety about the rhetorical and epistemological status of scientific images has always been part of science, beginning in the period often called The Scientific Revolution.
Communicating science has always been a messy multimodal enterprise in which instruments and representations of their output allow scientists to make contestable claims about reality. Daniel Freedberg s The Eye of the Lynx describes how Galileo Galilei and his colleagues in the Lincean Society-the first scientific academy-capitalized on the power of images when documenting celestial and terrestrial phenomena. Visual representations of Galileo s telescopic observations provided crucial support for his astronomical arguments. Similarly, Frederico Cesi, the founder of the Lincean Society, and other Linceans used microscopes to draw images of unprecedented detail; they also developed illustrated compendia to catalog and classify plants, animals, fossils, and fungi. Although these early-modern scientists found images useful in arguing about and documenting nature, the rhetorical power of these scientific images came with physical constraints, representational limitations, and epistemological risks.
Material constraints affected how images were reproduced and circulated. Cesi wanted to publish Galileo s depictions of sunspots in folio form, but he had to settle for quarto-sized images (Freedberg 125). Woodcuts provided the means for reproducing images in the society s compendia, such as the Tesoro Messicano, a descriptive tome of species from the New World that the Linceans copied from Spanish manuscripts. However, the woodcut medium created rather rudimentary images that could not capture many of the details critical for identifying a species (304). Moreover, although the Linceans embraced visualization, they were also wary of images. As Freedberg has explained, Cesi struggled with the relationship between detail and abstraction in creating usable images: From the beginning Cesi s work was riven by a fundamental tension between the desire to picture everything and the desire for order. Pictures showed too much. They could convey texture and color and irregularity in meticulous detail; but it was precisely this that detracted from their ability to show what was essential and regular about a thing (349).
Cesi and the Linceans were also challenged by seemingly precise but impossible images. In compendia and taxonomic codices, detailed images of absurd anthropomorphic plants and fictional beasts could masquerade as visualized facts. In some cases, obviously false images were even propagated for political reasons. For example, the Lincean Johannes Faber knowingly used image and text to defend the existence of Dracunculus Barberinus, a fabricated species of winged reptile named after the powerful Barberini family. The Linceans patron Cardinal Francesco Barberini owned a supposed Dracunculus specimen, so they could not afford to ignore or openly debunk the false dragon (Freedberg 362-66).
Despite the four hundred years of scientific development and technological change between them, the contemporary protein crystallographers Dawson and Locher have much in common with the members of the Lincean Society. Both groups faced rhetorical tasks requiring combinations of images and text, and their rhetorical performances were both enabled and constrained by available technologies of observation and reproduction. For different reasons, each was challenged by the ability of scientific images to construct false but seemingly factual representations. Dawson and Locher needed an image to refute Chang s accepted protein structure; Faber used an image to validate a ridiculous fact, the existence of the Dracunculus. As these cases and dozens of others demonstrate, visualization offers creators of scientific discourse immense rhetorical potential and introduces equally significant rhetorical problems; however, a comprehensive rhetorical account of multimodal scientific argumentation has yet to emerge. This neglect has been noticed by rhetoricians of science and scholars in other fields of science studies.
In the past ten years, rhetoricians have identified scientific visuals as a significant but understudied aspect of scientific persuasion. Jeanne Fahnestock observed in a 2005 state-of-the-field piece that practitioners of an improved rhetoric of science will have to continue and increase their engagement with the pervasive and persuasive role of visuals in scientific texts ( Rhetoric of Science: Enriching the Discipline 283). More recently, Alan Gross has identified the same gap to establish exigency for his cognitivist approach to verbal/visual interaction. In characterizing the rhetoric of science through five foundational texts (Bazerman, Prelli, Moss, Condit, and Ceccarelli), Gross observes that none of these major works in the rhetoric of science analyze a single visual ( Presence as a Consequence 266). Moreover, he explains, major texts that have engaged the visual when explicating texts-such as Gross, Harmon, and Reidy s Communicating Science and Fahnestock s Rhetorical Figures in Science - do not by any means treat [visuals] as semiotic equals (266).
Calls for a rhetorical approach to scientific visuals have also been heard in other sectors of the science-studies landscape. Peter Galison has observed that his field- History and Philosophy of Science (HPS)-needs a syncretic understanding of argumentation and visualization. In his 2008 essay Ten Problems in the History and Philosophy of Science, Galison identifies understanding technologies of argumentation as the third problem on his hit list of intellectual challenges:
When the focus is on scientific practices (rather than discipline-specific scientific results per se), what are the concepts, tools, and procedures needed at a given time to construct an acceptable scientific argument? We already have some good examples of steps toward a history and philosophy of practices: instrument making, probability, objectivity, observation, model building, and collecting. We are beginning to know something of the nature of thought experiments-but there is clearly much more to learn. The same could be said for scientific visualization, where, by now, we have a large number of empirical case studies but a relatively impoverished analytic scheme for understanding how visualization practices work. So, cutting across subdisciplines and even disciplines, what is the toolkit of argumentation and demonstration-and what is its historical trajectory? (116)
Understanding technologies of argumentation is important for philosophical and historiographical reasons, but it is also important for developing science-writing pedagogy. Technical communication scholars need to better understand the multimodal practices of scientific argumentation so that we can better prepare our students to create effective arguments in the twenty-first century.
Assembling Arguments: Multimodal Rhetoric and Scientific Discourse demonstrates that rhetoric-the millennia-old discipline of studying and producing persuasive discourse-can provide the analytical machinery needed to grapple with the multimodal means used to create scientific arguments. I demonstrate this capacity by applying rhetorical theory to six questions related to situations faced by scientists and scientific editors: How do scientists produce persuasive visuals? How are visualization practices established as scientifically credible? How do scientists deploy visualized data to assemble new arguments? How do scientists use verbal and visual means to transform problematic data into acceptable support for novel claims? What are the practical and ethical implications of modifying visual artifacts for scientific arguments? How have scientists and scientific editors perceived the rhetorical affordances and practical constraints of new technologies?
I approached these questions through case studies of multimodal scientific arguments; these cases then informed the model of multimodal rhetoric described in chapter 2.
My first study (part 2) takes a rhetorical approach to a classic case from the history of science-the development of X-ray diffraction crystallography. When German physicists bombarded a crystal sample with X-rays in 1912, scientists were still trying to define the recently discovered phenomena. Were X-rays particles? Were they waves? The German experiment resulted in compelling visual evidence that X-rays are indeed waves, but physicists disagreed over how to interpret the X-ray images. The multimodal arguments surrounding this debate demonstrate how arguments based on causality, analogy, and incompatibility can integrate images and text to create new visualization tools.
My second study (part 3) examines another classic case-the confirmation of sea-floor spreading as the mechanism of continental motion. Although the continental drift hypothesis had been circulating since Wegener proposed it in 1912, many scientists considered it mere speculation because no one could empirically verify how the continents had moved. Marine magnetism data collected in the 1960s supported a hypothesis that volcanic upwelling in midocean ridges was slowly forcing the continents apart. However, the data required rhetorical fashioning to become appropriate support for the argument. The logical resources offered by rhetorical figures were visually encoded to create paradigm-shifting arguments from causality and transitivity.
My third case (part 4) presents the rhetorical history of a 2007 article that made controversial claims with significant implications for climate studies. What the article s authors described as twilight zones between clouds and aerosols are complex regions of the atmosphere around clouds whose properties were not accounted for appropriately in contemporary climate models. Initially rejected by local peers and peer reviewers, their paper required significant revisions before it was accepted. These scientists developed and refined an array of verbal and visual strategies to overcome resistance and to argue the twilight zone into existence. By coordinating close readings of multiple drafts with comments from the authors and an empirical reception analysis, I was able to track the production of their multimodal dissociation argument and its circulation as a viable knowledge claim.
My last two cases examine how digital media enrich and complicate multimodal argumentation in scientific contexts. First, I study the ethical problems and rhetorical possibilities of adjusting images with digital tools. High-profile instances of scientific fraud and more ambiguous cases of honest scientists modifying images inappropriately forced scientific editors to mark clearer boundaries between rhetorical presentation and dishonest fabrication in the Age of Photoshop. Disciplinary discussions of imaging practices-when read through the terms of Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca s The New Rhetoric -reveal otherwise tacit assumptions about the rhetorical and epistemological functions of the modern scientific image.
My final case study provides a rhetorical history of moving images in formal scientific arguments. After describing how celluloid film and VHS tapes have supported written arguments in the past, I analyze a sample of contemporary arguments incorporating digital videos. Although scientists recognized the persuasive affordances of moving images long before the advent of the Internet, the electronic distribution of scientific articles created new opportunities to activate those affordances.
Although each case offers close readings of specific texts, contexts, and technologies, together they demonstrate the model of multimodal rhetoric described in the next chapter. But, before describing this model and the rhetorical tools I used when developing it, I need to address two conceptually large but syntactically simple questions that readers unfamiliar with rhetorical studies of science might be asking: Why rhetoric? Why science?
Why Rhetoric?
Until recently, much of the research on scientific visuals has come from scholars studying the history of science, philosophy of science, and sociology of science or from art historians interested in scientific images. Scholars working in these disciplines certainly offer important insights on the history, status, and functions of scientific visualizations; however, as Fahnestock, Gross, and Galison have separately argued, the primacy of visual communication in scientific knowledge-making warrants the development of a comprehensive rhetorical understanding of the intersection of scientific visualization and argumentation. But what might that entail? What are the differences between a rhetorical approach and other approaches?
First, as Alan Gross has argued, the rhetoric of science differs from the history, philosophy, and sociology of science in that it foregrounds the explication of communicative artifacts: Rhetoric stars the texts, tables, and visuals, that is, it makes their hermeneutic unraveling central ( Starring the Text ix). Second, rhetoricians star the text because we teach the text.
Rhetoricians who study scientific discourse often teach (and train others to teach) science writing, technical communication, and similar courses: Our research informs our teaching, and our teaching informs our research. The pedagogical motives for studying the rhetoric of science are summarized well in the introduction to Bazerman s foundational work Shaping Written Knowledge : As a university teacher of writing I was charged with preparing students to write academic essays for their courses in all disciplines. Since academic assignments bear a loose relationship to the writing done by mature members of disciplines, a serious investigation of writing within the disciplines promised to turn up information useful to teaching undergraduates (3). Bazerman s pedagogical needs led him to produce thorough interdisciplinary accounts of the experimental article as socially situated discourse. Ultimately, his work and the work of others have influenced how science writing is taught to university science students. For example, Penrose and Katz s textbook Writing in the Sciences: Exploring the Conventions of Scientific Discourse marshaled the rhetoric-of-science corpus to help students navigate the rhetorical situations of the scientific life. Moreover, as Moskovitz and Kellogg (2005) and Zerbe (2007) have argued, rhetorical approaches to science can inform general composition courses, thereby improving students scientific and cultural literacies while introducing them to academic writing.
The research that evolved into Assembling Arguments was also motivated by pedagogical concerns. As an instructor of science writing in both university and industrial settings, I ve encountered teaching moments involving visuals in which common prescriptions to be clear, be ethical, and add captions were insufficient. For example, when developing report-writing course materials for a biotechnology company, I incorporated examples from drafts of documents in the company s archives. One visual argument had some seemingly unusual features that worked well in stimulating student conversations about visuals. In a side-by-side comparison of two chromatograms, the author had adjusted the y-axis scale of one graph; it was in units half as large as the scale of the other graph. However, the author made no mention of the scale differences in the figure caption or in the report text.
Some students were appalled by the undocumented scale adjustment; others did not care about the adjustment at all; still others thought the adjustment was appropriate and perhaps necessary for the report s argument. For the latter group, the x-axis position was important, not the modified y axis; moreover, the scale adjustment highlighted information in the one graph that they might not have seen otherwise. The most cynical students chalked up the mistake as a by-product of composition practices; they assumed the author just plugged in whatever graphs came out of the system.
Different groups had different opinions, so I had no clear sense of what was correct in this institutional context. However, it was clear to me that these simple graphics, produced by a standard instrument, were enmeshed in a network of tacit rhetorical practices. To help these students, I needed to account for the rhetorical activities taking place between the instrument recording the data and the documents establishing scientific facts.
After encountering problems in the classroom and puzzling over historical and contemporary scientific texts, I sought tools to make sense of what were seemingly specialized rhetorical tasks of scientific work-inventing new visualizing instruments from uncertain premises, repurposing older data graphics to support new hypotheses, convincing skeptical peers with image and text, and policing norms of representation when new technologies disrupt conventional practices. At first glance, the tools that helped me make senses of these practices might seem oddly eclectic-the rhetorical figures of classical rhetoric, the argumentation theory of Cha m Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, the visual grammar of Kress and van Leeuwen, Burke s terministic screen. But each member of this eclectic set exposed specific aspects of scientific rhetorical situations and the multimodal compositions of persuasive scientists. In thinking through how these tools worked-and how they worked together-I developed a rhetorical model meant to be a simple but productive framework. This model for understanding multimodal arguments repurposes existing theory to account for how people coordinate cognitive, material, and social resources to conceptualize, assemble, and circulate persuasive arguments. Although Assembling Arguments is not an explicitly pedagogical tract, I reflect on this model s implications for teaching in my concluding chapter. Those reflections consider what a focused study of multimodal scientific discourse might mean for rhetorical education at large.
Why Science?
There are many satisfying reasons for studying science through humanist lenses. We study science because its powerful discourse is the dominant discourse of our time. We study science to grapple with the ethical and epistemological issues entailed by its practices and applications. We study science to enable our students-within and beyond the academy-to create knowledge with its discourses and to understand the knowledge created by others. These are all fine reasons for humanists to study science. Indeed, rhetoric can support each of these projects by providing tools for probing the discursive guts of science. By understanding scientific discourse, we can help scientists communicate more effectively and help citizens respond to science thoughtfully and critically. However, for rhetorical theorists, there is another, more pragmatic reason for approaching science with the tools of rhetoric: Theorists interested in visual communication-and multimodal communication more broadly conceived-should study science because science offers methodological advantages.
Scientific arguments are productive subjects for rhetoricians interested in multimodal persuasion for four reasons. First, scientific situations are good sources for theory-building cases. Science works because scientists argue, and they argue through multimodal means. As Lemke has shown, every page of a scientific article tends to include at least one visual element (87-113). Gross, Harmon, and Reidy have gone so far as to say that this interaction between the verbal and the visual is the rhetorical core of scientific communication (218). Although such visual-verbal interaction has traditionally been the rhetorical heart of the scientific paper, new technological developments in academic publishing (such as embedded multimedia files) and scientific representation (such as data sonification) have allowed and will allow scientific rhetors to include a wider range of multimodal components in their arguments. * Second, scientific discourse is highly conventional. Once identified, the conventions of a given discourse community can help a rhetorician establish the novelty or typicality of specific cases. Third, the audiences of science discourses are relatively easy to identify. Assessing the audience for a rhetorical artifact is a key task in rhetorical analysis, and rhetoricians can make reasonable assumptions about the audiences of a scientific artifact based on its genre (for example, research report, review article, or grant proposal) and the institutional channels of its circulation (for example, the journal of a published article or the grant-making organization). Finally, scientific artifacts typically possess built-in features for tracking the effects of scientific arguments. As scholars of both visual rhetoric (for example, Finnegan; Messaris) and the rhetoric of science (for example, Harris; Ceccarelli; Paul; Paul, Charney, and Kendall) have argued, empirical methods for studying reception are crucial for generating responsible rhetorical analyses. Although citations of a published article can never tell the whole story of rhetorical reception, examining citation histories is a consistent way of determining how ideas circulate or fail to circulate through discourse communities. Similarly, grant awards can provide tangible evidence of rhetorical success. In short, if you want to assemble a theory of how people argue with images (and sounds and other nondiscursive modalities), studying scientific cases can provide unique methodological affordances. Such affordances are needed to advance the so-called visual rhetoric project to its logical conclusion-a comprehensive multimodal theory of rhetoric.
* Stereoscopic visualizations (or stereoviews) are visualizations that create the illusion of three-dimensional objects through two-dimensional representations. Two versions of the same image are placed side by side but slightly offset. If you stare at a stereoview long enough, a three-dimensional image should appear to hover in between the doubled images.
* The phrase reciprocal space cadets alludes to the concept of reciprocal space, a crystallo-graphic concept developed by P. P. Ewald in the 1930s. Ewald played a significant role in the development of X-ray diffraction crystallography, the case discussed in part 2 of this book.
* Like data visualization, data sonification represents observable phenomena but with sound instead of visuals. For example, a team of Japanese researchers has sonified the movements of the nematode C. elegans , and empirical tests with a group of biologists revealed unique affordances of sound in research: There are some moments when the worms briefly stop their motion. With sounds, such moments are easily detected. But with video, the participants tend not to notice such moments, and [they] have the perception that the worms are moving smoothly without any interruption (Terasawa et al. 4).
Chapter 2
Toward a Multimodal Rhetoric of Science
It doesn t matter how beautiful your guess is; it doesn t matter how smart you are. If it disagrees with experiment, it s wrong.
Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
Attributed to Yogi Berra, Albert Einstein, and Johannes van de Snepscheut
In his 2007 review of fifty years of visual rhetoric scholarship, Lester Olson observed, while we now have a wide range of conceptually-driven and historically-situated case studies [of visual rhetoric], we do not have a substantive treatise that might accurately be described as a theory of visual rhetoric (14). The shape and scope-indeed, the very possibility-of such a theory hinges on one s definition of visual rhetoric. Is visual rhetoric a special class of rhetoric? Is it a subordinate subset of verbal rhetoric? Or is visual communication part and parcel of all rhetoric? For Cara Finnegan, if visual rhetoric is visual rhetoric, and verbal rhetoric is rhetoric, then the iconophobic dominance of text remains unquestioned, and visual rhetoric is forever subordinated to the traditional artifacts of public address ( Visual Studies 244). She prefers to think of visual rhetoric as an approach to theory- a project of inquiry that considers the implications for rhetorical theory of sustained attention to visuality (244). Arguably, the ultimate consequence of sustained attention to the visual is a rhetoric that is not just iconophillic but truly multimodal-a rhetoric that accounts for the complete range of representational resources activated as means of persuasion.
It is hardly controversial to mark a rhetorical artifact as either perceivable or not perceivable through vision. A purely sonic radio address is not visual; neither are Braille documents and tactile pictures-haptic renderings of images used by people with vision impairments. However, most rhetorical forms have some visual component. Even when delivering a speech without the aid of visual support, a speaker also delivers his or her appearance-clothing, posture, gesture, mien, and so on. As Stephen Bernhardt has observed, we are always seeing the text when we read a text. Visually informative texts use visual affordances, such as Gestalt principles of proximity, contrast, and continuity, while other artifacts are only visual in that they inscribe words in sequence (94-104). Extreme examples of less visually informative (but nonetheless visual) documents are manuscripts from the scriptura continua tradition produced by ancient scribes, who did not even add spaces between words (see Saenger); however, even these documents were still seen by those who read them. At the other end of the visual-rhetorical spectrum are visual artifacts that communicate without any discursive means, such as the iconic photographs described by Hariman and Lucaites in No Caption Needed. Rhetors who use iconic images-such as the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima or the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center before or during the events of September 11, 2001-rely on cultural memory to make meaning.
Although rhetorical artifacts might be coded and plotted based on levels of discursiveness and visuality, these are not the only categories of symbolic performance we can assess against calibrated scales. All rhetorical performances could be plotted on a sonic continuum, with soundless verbal texts at one end and exclusively tonal artifacts -such as fugues-at another. * The scripted speech-written language transmitted through spoken utterance-would fit somewhere in the middle of this continuum. One might even arrange rhetorical performances on scales according to haptic or olfactory (and presumably even gustatory) criteria, though the chemical modalities of smell and taste cannot encode language. Of course, modalities without words are significantly limited; nevertheless, their rhetorical potential underscores the need for holistic multimodal theories of rhetoric-the logical conclusion of the visual rhetoric project. The largest challenge of a more capacious model of rhetoric is accounting for the interactions across modalities, a challenge that has been investigated from different theoretical perspectives and with diverse methodologies. This critical and methodological diversity is demonstrated in the range of approaches to the visual-verbal interaction problem.
Accounting for Multimodality: Learning from the Visual-Verbal Interaction Problem
How do words and images interact to create meaning? Many conceptual frameworks have been used to address this question-a question that has vexed and continues to vex semiotic theorists, cognitive theorists, and rhetoricians. Different approaches foreground different aspects of multimodal meaning-making. In this summary, I compare several approaches to frame the problem space that influenced the development of my own approach to multimodal rhetoric.
In his oft-cited essay Rhetoric of the Image, the semiotician Roland Barthes recognized two types of word-image interaction: anchorage and relay. Anchorage occurs when words fix the meaning of an otherwise polysemous image; for example, a newspaper caption explains the meaning of a photograph. Relay occurs when words and image complement each other to create meaning. In describing relay s function in comic strips, Barthes explains that the words, in the same way as the images, are fragments of more general syntagm and the unity of the message is realized at a higher level, that of the story, the anecdote, the diegesis (157). In The Photographic Message, Barthes alludes to a third process- illustration, the visual-dominant counterpart to the text-dominant anchorage. Through illustration, the image helps to fix the meaning of the text. Barthes s identification of the one-way and bidirectional processes in which image and text interact offered a useful initial taxonomy; however, other theorists have sought finer-grained and empirically grounded theories of image-text relations.
Alan Gross s essays on verbal-visual interaction adapt the cognitive scientist Allan Paivio s Dual-Coding Theory (DCT) as the foundation for a multimodal approach to scientific rhetoric. In the DCT framework, image and text are routed through different associative structures in the brain. Verbal codes are processed through sequential associations; visual codes are processed according to spatial associations. A third system of referential associations governs the cognitive interaction between these dual codes. For Gross, the fundamental differences between visual and verbal processing require a reconsideration of the text-based approaches so often applied to visual artifacts; that is, we need to stop expecting images to act like verbal texts because these visual phenomena are processed differently by our brains. Instead, rhetoricians need parallel sets of tools for accounting for images, text, and their interaction. When analyzing scientific arguments from Lavoisier and Wegener, Gross uses linguistics, logic, and narrative theory to account for the operations of the text, and he uses Gestalt principles (figure-ground, enclosure, similarity and contrast, continuation, perception of wholes) and Peirce s theory of signs (that is, a sign can act as an icon, index, or symbol) to account for visuals. Although this division of semiotic labor leads to convincing readings of these cases, Gross admits that some tools fall short of the psychological realism he requires of a fully articulated and empirically validated rhetoric based on DCT: For all of these components, however, the criterion of psychological realism raises the epistemic stakes. It is now insufficient that they be compatible with DCT; instead, they must be integral; they must actually constitute DCT s fine-structure. At this point in the progress of cognitive psychology, we cannot, as a general rule, meet this standard. Gestalt Theory does meet it; Peirce s semiotics does not. But the principle will continue to hold that as cognitive psychology advances, so should the hermeneutics of verbal- visual interaction ( Toward a Theory of Verbal-Visual Interaction 150). Limitations aside, Gross makes an important point in developing and applying his approach: We should aim for theoretical constructs that reflect actual cognitive operations, a point I will return to in the next section.
In Visual/Verbal Collaboration in Print, Susan Hagan also discusses cognitive theories of multimodal meaning-making (including a reference to Paivio s DCT), and, like Gross, she recognizes that images and texts have fundamental but complementary differences. However, Hagan uses a different approach to classify the conceptual and material relations that govern what she calls cross-modal collaborations. Hagan sorted the visual/verbal interactions occurring in a set of 130 documents into four categories of interplay on the basis of the perceptual (structural) and cohesive (content) ties that link visual and textual elements. In a typographic interplay , the visual and the verbal are blended in the same space-that is, the meaning of a word is influenced (or not influenced) by the visual attributes of its letters. Because typography is part of every visually accessed text that includes words, typographic interplay occurs both in isolation (when we read plain text) or when image and text are combined through one of the other patterns of interplay. In parallel interplays , images and text are loosely linked by exophoric (nonspecific) cohesive ties; the text does not refer directly to the images on the page, which leaves the reader to infer the conceptual relationship between them. Sequential interplays develop more explicit ( tight ) connections between image and text to organize the reader s behavior; this type of interplay cues the reader when to move from text to image. Interweaving invites the audience to process big-picture ideas quickly through non-sequential relationships created by overlap collocation (one modality on top of another) and other ties (72). Hagan s terms are more nuanced than those in Barthes s taxonomy, and they reflect her primary concern: determining how rhetors can use cross-modal collaborations to create unexpected meaning for their audiences. This unexpected meaning is possible because there are typical forms of cross-modal collaboration that can be modulated for novel rhetorical purposes. Thus, Hagan s study emphasizes the expectations and conventions of image-text interaction.
Several theorists have separately modified aspects of M.A.K. Halliday s systemic functional linguistics (SFL) to account for relations between image and text. Most notably, Kress and van Leeuwen s (1996, 2006) social semiotic approach in Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design adapts Halliday s three metafunctions of language (the ideational, the interpersonal, and the textual) to the task of explicating images. For them, visual language contains features that communicate ideas, maintain relationships between the reader and the text, and create coherent visual compositions. They further articulate the categories of their visual grammar through analyses of images ranging from illustrations in elementary-school textbooks and news images to advertisements, paintings, and films. Although primarily concerned with how images themselves make meaning, Kress and van Leeuwen address image-text interaction in their chapter on the composition of images. In that chapter, they describe three types of meaning-making involved in creating visual compositions: information value (relations generated by spatial placement of visual elements), salience (relations generated by attention-inducing factors such as contrast and color), and framing (relations generated by lines that group or divide elements). They then explain that these three principles of composition apply not just to single pictures ; they apply to composite visuals, visuals which combine text and image, and, perhaps, other graphic elements, be it on a page or on a television or computer screen (177). Unlike Gross, who (supported by Paivio) insists that text and image make meaning with different cognitive codes, Kress and van Leeuwen claim that semiosis is ultimately the product of a unified code: In our view the integration of different semiotic modes is the work of an overarching code whose rules and meanings provide the multimodal text with the logic of its integration. There are two such integration codes: the mode of spatial composition ; and rhythm, the mode of temporal composition. The former operates in texts in which all elements are spatially co-present. The latter operates in texts which unfold over time. Some types of multimodal text utilize both, for example film and television, although rhythm will usually be the dominant integrative principle in these cases (177). One way to interpret their overarching code is as a version of the referential connections that Paivio s DCT claims link the visual and verbal systems in the brain. However, such a synthesis could be challenged by the ways Kress and van Leeuwen categorize images, a process some theorists have criticized. For example, when describing their own Hallidaian system of text-image relations, Radan Martinec and Andrew Salway explain the breadth and methodological complications of some of Kress and van Leeuwen s definitions: What is at issue is whether the text that is often part of diagrams should be regarded as part of the image or as a text in its own right, which is in a relationship with the image. Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) consider such text to be part of the image. They subsume such diagrams, and other images of the same kind that often contain labels for parts of the image, under the category of analytical images (353). In other words, Kress and van Leeuwen treat image-text complexes as images, a practice that raises an important question: When the placement of the text is the key factor to the meaning of an image, at what point does an image-text complex become just an image?
Martinec and Salway attempt to work through the image-definition question when adapting other concepts from Halliday s work to develop a more robust schema of visual-verbal interaction. In A System for Image-Text Relations in New (and Old) Media, they offer a two-pronged approach for classifying multimodal combinations; it combines an adaptation of Barthes s image-text relations with Halliday s lexico-semantic relations-terms for describing the relationships between clauses. For Martinec and Salway, any image-text relation has a status component and a logico-semantic component. Status is determined by the equality or inequality of the image-text relation. Relations of equality are Martinec and Salway s attempt to refine Barthes s concept of relay-when image and text reinforce the meaning of each other. Equal relations can be further categorized into image and text independent and image and text complementary relations. Their unequal relations map neatly onto Barthes s anchorage (image defined by text) and illustration (text defined by image).
Logico-semantic relations describe the specific ways that one component in the image-text compound affects the meaning of the other. In Halliday s scheme, which was designed for verbal language, there are two main classes of logico-semantic relations: projection (one clause signals that the other is a thought or speech) and expansion (one clause adds information related to the other). Each class of relations is further categorized. There are two types of projection- locution (for example, Mary said that John was hungry ) and idea (for example, Mary thought that John was hungry ). There are three types of expansion- elaboration (John was hungry; his stomach growled), extension ( John was hungry; Mary was thirsty ), and enhancement ( John was hungry, so he ate ). Elaboration and enhancement are further classified; however, the specific categories are less relevant for the current discussion than is Martinec and Salway s process for determining when to activate particular categories during their empirical examination of lexico-semantic relations between images and text. For example, when encountering an image-text compound, such as a diagram, Martinec and Salway must decide what to treat as an image:
If the image or its parts provide the ideational content and the text only provides labels for that content, we consider the labels a text in their own right and the relationship between the text and the image (or its part) is either [exposition] or [text more general]. We distinguish between them on the basis of the generality and abstraction of the labels and the image. If the labels are generic and the image of abstract (or technological) coding orientation (see Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996: 170), the relationship is [exposition]; if the labels are generic and the image of naturalistic orientation, it is [text more general].
If, on the other hand, the ideational content of the image is provided by the text and the graphics only consist of lines that enclose the spaces in which the labels are (i.e. the image parts), we treat the whole as an image. (353, their bracketed phrases)
I reproduce these passages about methods for two reasons. First, they demonstrate the subjectivity required in isolating image and text for operational purposes when analyzing multimodal artifacts. Second, they demonstrate the advantages and limitations of complex taxonomies. Specifically, Martinec and Salway s scheme systematically labels image-text relations, and-as they suggest-it could be incorporated into machine-reading algorithms for corpus analysis. However, this system could be too complicated to be a functional way to discuss production strategies, especially with students. Their system is not the only one with this limitation, and pedagogical demands have led some theorists to seek simplified frameworks for discussing multimodal composition.
Suguru Ishizaki s approach to visual-verbal interaction offers a unified framework meant to help designers make good design choices. Critical of Hagan, Gross, and Kress and van Leeuwen, Ishizaki claims that none of their approaches provides a unified, optimally usable framework for teaching multimodal design strategies. As an alternative, he offers a model that builds on the concept of representational composition developed by Kaufer and Butler in Designing Interactive Worlds with Words. For these theorists, text is viewed as a representation of the world experienced by the reader, where the term world is used in a broader sense-including the external (physical and social) world, the private minds of the author and third party individuals, as well as the way the author relates to and interacts with the audience (Ishizaki 3). Ishizaki extends this concept to multimodal expressions; in his framework, image and text can each encode five categories of audience experience: author (presence, identity, private thoughts, emotion, and reasoning), third-person interior (identity, private thoughts, emotion, and reasoning), the external world (physical world, human relations), public ideas (values, knowledge), and interactivity (navigation, queries, direction). In elaborating each of these categories, Ishizaki develops a metalanguage that he has used to help students design effective documents by focusing their attention on the types of experience encoded in an artifact. His description of a student project exemplifies the system:
One student, for instance, was working on creating a title page spread for an article that addresses the issues of breast cancer through the personal story of a cancer survivor. Using my descriptive framework, this article should create the reader experience of the third person interior. But the initial design included a photograph of a bald woman sitting at a table looking at a wig in a photo-studiolike white room. The photograph was clearly shot in an artificial setting, thus did not create the experience of the third person interior. The student then replaced the image with a close-up photograph of a woman posed naturally at a beach. This new design created a much better sense that the story was centered around a real individual, and the reader was about to get to know her private thoughts. (7)
In this instance, Ishizaki s approach helped him comment on a rhetorical design problem. To validate the simplicity of Ishizaki s approach, we need only apply the other theorists schema to the same situation. (I did not have access to the artifact Ishizaki described, so I base this experiment on Ishizaki s description of the artificially set photograph and its narrative text.) Advice based on Gross s approach would use the vocabulary of Peircian semiotics to explain the problems of the image-text complex. In this case, the impersonal image in the artificially white room would be read as a symbol of cancer patients and not as an icon, that is, not as a representation of the specific cancer patient who is the subject of the story. To offer advice based on Hagan s taxonomy we would need more information about the student s layout. Assuming the magazine text does not explicitly address the image, the composition would be categorized as a case of parallel interplay in which the image and the text are linked through an exophoric (implicit) cohesive tie. Thus, the student needs to consider how the image links to the text exophorically; the student must change the image or add a caption to create a more explicit visual-verbal interplay. Kress and van Leeuwen s approach might identify the image-text compound as a temporal relation; presumably the magazine reader would look at the image first and then look at the text. Comments on this student s work based on their system would focus on the components and composition of the image itself. Comments based on its information value, salience, and framing would consider the spatial layout of the image, its use of color, and the connections used to link image and text. They might also suggest that the type of image-a narrative transaction created by the eye-line vector between the person and the wig-might be less effective than a nontransactional narrative in which the person looks to some point outside the image frame. Martinec and Salway might explain that the initial image is related to the text through exemplification-an elaboration relation in which an image is more general than the text it supports. In this case, the text is about a specific person, and thus it exemplifies the generic cancer patient represented in the image. Instead, the image should be expository-a type of image-text relation in which the image and text are of the same level of generality. The less abstract natural scene would be more likely to be read as expository.
Each of these schemes would lead a teacher to make the same observation: The student should replace the staged picture with a more naturalistic one. But which comment provides the best explanation for this instance? Which explanation provides the best generalization that a student could apply in other contexts? Ishizaki s approach certainly offers a simplified metalanguage for describing design decisions. But is it too simple? If the rhetorical task were more complex than communicating a consistent link between image and text for a magazine spread, how successful would it be? Alternatively, how precise is too precise? Each of the other approaches would require a student to understand a complex and unfamiliar vocabulary to understand the kinds of comments they could generate. I don t suggest that we avoid teaching complex vocabularies simply because they are complex; however, the fact remains that visual-verbal frameworks designed for hermeneutic readings are not always easily adapted to pedagogy.
My purpose in considering these approaches to the visual-verbal interaction problem is not to agree with or to challenge any specific point or model. Rather, I discuss them to consider how the principles and issues foregrounded by each approach should be considered and collocated into a comprehensive theory of multimodal rhetoric. First, as Gross has argued, such a rhetoric needs to take cognition seriously-we should at least aim to develop approaches based on how images and text are processed and comprehended by the brain. Second, as Hagan s approach and Kress and van Leeuwen s system suggest, materiality matters; spatial and temporal relationships between images and text are key components of meaning-making. Third, as each system exemplifies, a multimodal rhetoric requires finely articulated frameworks of relations-screens that help us to see how images and text collaborate. Fourth, as Ishizaki emphasizes, a rhetorical framework should be focused on the audience and how audiences will interpret multimodal artifacts. Finally, a multimodal rhetoric should meet the twin demands of rhetorical theory-to describe and to teach persuasive communication. The model and methods described in the rest of this chapter attempt to engage each of these principles.
Toward a Syncretic Model of Multimodal Rhetoric
I begin with a seemingly uncontroversial assertion: To account productively for multimodal rhetoric requires understanding three interdependent rhetorical processes- the conception, assembly, and circulation of rhetorical artifacts-in relation to three overlapping domains of human experience-the cognitive, the material, and the social. * Each of these domains offers both resources and constraints that enable, support, limit, and direct the three processes.
Elements that affect cognitive experience are the resources and constraints of perception and thinking: sensible phenomena, words, grammars, common lines of argument, conceptual associations, and the other patterns and structures that organize sensation, communication, and thought. Material elements are the resources and constraints related to the existence and movement of physical structures: space, time, substance, and so on. They include the properties of objects-such as paper and ink and pixels-but they also include the properties of physical bodies; for example, people with larger frames may be able to project sound with greater volume. Social elements are the resources and constraints derived from interactions among people: facts, truths, values, conventions, custom, law, status, status markers, and so forth. These domains overlap. A cognitive constraint-such as color blindness-has material implications; that is, a scientist creating a color line graph might choose colors other than red and green. Similarly, the social resources and constraints of genre become materialized when a document is created to conform to social norms. On the basis of these examples, it may seem very general to classify rhetorical resources and constraints along cognitive, material, and social lines. And it is. Nevertheless, those categories can be productive starting points for considering the complexity of rhetorical action. Although the boundaries between categories are often blurry, there are moments when describing a resource or constraint as deriving from a specific domain of human experience is hermeneutically productive. For example, various attempts to redefine the classical rhetorical canons expand or contract the sphere of influence of specific canons by integrating or divesting cognitive, material, or social resources and constraints. The concerns raised by several canon redevelopment projects highlight what we might gain through alternative ways of classifying the processes of rhetorical activity.
Greco-Roman rhetoricians, who were primarily concerned with understanding oratory, accounted for rhetorical performances by segmenting their production into five constitutive arts-invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Together these canons of rhetoric classify the activities required for discovering, organizing, articulating, recalling, and performing arguments in speeches. An overly simplified reading of the canons might associate each with only one or two experiential domains. For example, inventing arguments is a cognitive process, arranging them is a material process, selecting an appropriate style is a social process, memory is a cognitive faculty, and delivery entails the material transmission of the rhetorical artifact. No reasonable theorist would wholly accept these rigid delineations; nevertheless, some canons have become associated with particular experiential domains at particular times.
For example, as John Frederick Reynolds has noted, in eras in which rhetorical production is primarily in print forms, memory might be interpreted narrowly as tricks for improving recall during oratorical performances. But such an interpretation dismisses the broader implications of memory for classical theorists, who viewed it as integral to all parts of rhetoric. Recovering those implications can be read as a recovery of memory s material and social dimensions. In his review of rhetorical memory and its presence in contemporary composition studies, Reynolds outlines four interrelated ways to redefine this canon for contemporary situations: memory as mnemonics, memory as memorableness, memory as databases, and memory as psychology. Each of these approaches extends memory s reach beyond the cognitive processes of memorizing. Memory as mnemonics focuses on memory as a material practice-that is, creating memorable (and skimmable) texts by placing important information in topic sentences, introductions and conclusions. Memory as memorableness entails selecting memorable phrases, images, and details-a process that is both material and cognitive. Likewise, externalizing memory through databases also emphasizes the material aspects of memory for modern rhetors. Finally, considering memory as psychology redefines the canon in more expansive cognitive terms: Memory is the psychology of discourse, the mental model grounding how rhetors understand their own consciousness and the consciousness of their audiences.
Each of these approaches to memory highlights the fuzzy boundaries that distinguish one canon from the others. In this case, memory can be viewed as integral to arrangement (memory as mnemonics), style (memory as memorableness), invention (memory as database), and delivery (memory as psychology). These categorical blur-rings might be expected for memory; in classical times it was regarded as the custodian of all rhetoric by the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium. However, other canon redevelopment projects make similar boundary-blurring moves for their subjects. For example, a caricature of style might define it as a polishing stage in which ideas developed during invention and structured during arrangement are dressed in the appropriate attire for the situation. However, such a superficial view of style as a social phenomenon minimizes its essential role in the entire composition process as well as its material and cognitive dimensions. For example, rhetorical figures-once perceived as mere ornaments of discourse-can be foundational to the conceptualization of arguments. Metaphor and analogy are often cited as invention strategies within and beyond rhetorical circles (for example, Baake, Gibson, Turner, Graves, Stafford); moreover, as Fahnestock has demonstrated in Rhetorical Figures in Science, figures that rely on the material arrangement of words (such as incrementum and anitmetabole) are important resources for discovery and even for the entire arrangement of a text.
Similarly, a narrow interpretation of delivery-the end game of oratorical production -might focus on body language, volume, and affect; however, recent work in digital rhetoric has highlighted that the constraints and affordances of delivery feed back into the entire process of crafting rhetorical messages. For example, James Porter notes that we need to connect up questions of delivery with rhetorical invention, with audience, with design of online information, and so on (23). His discussion of delivery and digital rhetoric explains how the entire rhetorical process is affected by five topoi of digital delivery (Body/Identity, Distribution/Circulation, Access/Accessibility, Interaction, and Economics). Susan Delagrange offers a similar repositioning of arrangement in the light of her experience researching, teaching, and producing digital compositions: Arrangement thus functions as both a method of invention and a means of intervention. Each of these approaches also demonstrates the difficulty of both classifying rhetoric s complexity and pinning down the constituents of a dynamic activity- these are challenges for all rhetorical theory.
Although probing the nuances of existing terms like the canons is one method for enriching our understanding of rhetorical activity, alternative classification schemes can also shed light on the messy process of persuading audiences. There are many ways to sort overlapping rhetorical processes, and alternatives vary in complexity and representational commitments. * However, in this book I work from a simplified scheme of three overlapping processes: conception, assembly, and circulation. These terms are offered not as a replacement of the five canons or as superior to any other scheme. Rather, these terms provide a set of screens that can disclose features of rhetorical performance in multimodal texts that might otherwise pass by unnoticed.
Conception describes the processes of gathering, assessing, and organizing cognitive, material, and social resources in the presence of cognitive, material, and social constraints. Although the term might seem a mere relabeling of rhetorical invention, conception, as defined here, attempts to explain the process of thinking about what to say or write as a more complex set of activities. By comparing the etymologies of invention and conception, I highlight the distinctions I wish to draw between these terms.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the verb to invent comes from the Latin verb invenire : to come upon, to find out, to discover. The verb to conceive ultimately derives from the Latin compound of con- (altogether) and capere (to take)- that is, to take together. When considering these verbs in relation to rhetoric, the difference is not insignificant. In its most basic configuration, inventing arguments is about only the cognitive process of discovering thoughts and formulating claims. As Lauer has explained in Invention in Rhetoric and Composition, In some theories, invention is restricted to exploratory activity: constructing or finding lines of argument, examining subjects, searching for material to develop texts, articulating goals, and/or researching for intertextual support for a discourse. In other theories, invention is also conceived to include the initiation of discourse, e.g., posing questions or selecting subjects; the formation of probable judgments, focuses, insights, or theses; and the rhetorical situation: contexts, readers, and discourse communities (3). But even more capacious models of invention must separate the process of discovery from the formal process of composing-that is, from arrangement and style as well as from memory and delivery. That separation seems to be the key sticking point for scholars reclaiming, reanimating, or otherwise recovering the other canons; they challenge those boundaries by reframing those canons in terms of invention (for example, Porter s topoi of delivery or Paul Butler s inventional style ). If aspects of the other arts are integral to the process of finding out what to write or say (as canon redevelopers argue), then a broader term with different boundaries-such as conception -might help frame the initial stages of rhetorical production in a way that aligns more closely with actual rhetorical performance.
Conceiving of or conceptualizing arguments requires considering the entire rhetorical situation. What can be said about a topic is enabled and constrained by material and social factors as well as by the cognitive activity of identifying lines of reasoning and supporting claims with evidence. Moreover, conception is constrained by and considerate of the two other primary rhetorical processes-assembly and circulation. Indeed the boundaries between conception and assembly can be particularly fuzzy, as the act of concretizing an argument for a particular audience can shape what we think and compose about a subject.
Assembly describes the processes of fixing cognitive, material, and social resources into rhetorical artifacts capable of acting on other human brains. I use the words fixing and artifact loosely here; for example, an extemporaneous speech is still a rhetorical artifact that fixes cognitive resources (words, patterns of reasoning), material resources (sounds, gestures, motions), and social resources (social position, ethos, facts, values)-even if that fixing is ephemeral. Moreover, even materially stable documents fix meaning only temporarily, for changes in social conditions may influence if and how they are read. For my purposes, the rhetorical artifact-or rhetorical assembly- is best characterized as an emerging form that temporally fixes a diverse range of relations among concepts, institutions, symbol systems, and media. This definition is related to but different from other terms-notably, versions of the term assemblage used by other theorists. Some disambiguation is needed.
As a critical term, assemblage emerged from the postmodern philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. In translations of A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Felix Guattari use the term assemblage to describe how forms come to mean through their external relations. They use the term, for example, to describe the book :
A book has neither an object nor a subject; it is made of variously formed parts and very different dates and speeds. To attribute a book to a subject is to overlook this working of matters, and the exteriority of their relations. It is to fabricate a beneficent God to explain geologic movements. In a book, as in all things, there are lines of articulation or segmentarity, strata and territories; but also lines of flight, movements of deterritorialization and destratification. Comparative rates of flow on these lines produce phenomena of relative slowness and viscosity, or, on the contrary, of acceleration and rupture. All this, lines and measurable speeds, constitutes an assemblage. (514)
The assemblage explains how synthetic wholes emerge as entities greater than the sum of their parts. Manuel DeLanda has developed a theory of assemblages to account for phenomena ranging from individuals to global economies. For DeLanda, the relations of exteriority that constitute an assemblage come with two implications- implications I paraphrase with the terms modularity and synthesis. First, terms or nodes in an assemblage function as modular entities with mutable functions: These relations imply, first of all, that a component part of an assemblage can be detached from it and plugged into a different assemblage in which its interactions are different. In other words, the exteriority of relations implies a certain autonomy for the terms they relate, or as Deleuze puts it, it implies that a relation may change without the terms changing (11). For example, the terms of a book do not change over time; however, the relations between a book and other books or between a book and its readers do change as networks of texts, people, and institutions change.
Although an assemblage is a concatenation of modular components, it is imprecise to say that it is composed of these parts. Rather, the assemblage emerges from relations both between the parts and between the parts and other assemblages. For DeLanda, this property allows an assemblage to be reconfigured without changing the terms that form it:
Relations of exteriority also imply that the properties of the component parts can never explain the relations that constitute a whole. In fact, the reason why the properties of a whole cannot be reduced to those of its parts is that they are the result not of an aggregation of the components own properties but of the actual exercise of their capacities. These capacities do depend on a component s properties but cannot be reduced to them since they involve reference to the properties of other interacting entities. Relations of exteriority guarantee that assemblages may be taken apart while at the same time allowing that the interactions between parts may result in a true synthesis. (11)
Formal scientific arguments offer interesting cases for probing the rhetorical applications of assemblage theory. For instance, textbook accounts of scientific articles often explain that visuals must be independent and interdependent (Penrose and Katz 109). A given graph or image should be captioned and titled as if it were a stand-alone construct, but it is also situated within a network composed of visuals and text within the article, of images and text in other articles, and of the material relations among the visual itself, the instruments that formed it, and the phenomena it represents. Thus, a visual element is an assemblage integral to both the larger assemblage of the article and to the research fronts and truths that emerge when the argument interacts with other texts in the mind of a reader.
Although assemblage theory offers an interesting frame for considering the production of multimodal scientific artifacts, it is important to consider its limitations. For example, critical theorists have applied the term assemblage to many situations; however, as Marcus and Saka explain, these applications do not all use the term in the same way:
There is an ambiguity in the referential frames in the uses of assemblage. It can refer to a subjective state of cognition and experience of society and culture in movement from a recent past toward a near future (the temporal span of emergence); or it can refer to objective relations, a material, structure-like formation, a describable product of emergent social conditions, a configuration of relationships among diverse sites and things. In contemporary anthropological or cultural studies writing, its reference can shift from the cognition or textual plan of the analyst and writer, to the attributed cognition/experience of the subject, to a perspective on the heterogeneity of a distinctive heterogeneity of a form or object in a phase of development or becoming . And of course, if not explicitly delineated, it can refer to all of these at once. (102)
This conceptual diversity of assemblage in English-language scholarship is compounded by imprecise translation. Specifically, Deleuze did not use the word as a critical term. Instead, as John Phillips has documented, the original French texts use the word agencement (109). Phillips has explained the significant distinctions between these terms:
Agencement is a common French word with the senses of either arrangement, fitting, or fixing and is used in French in as many contexts as those words are used in English: one would speak of the arrangement of parts of a body or machine; one might talk of fixing (fitting or affixing) two or more parts together; and one might use the term for both the act of fixing and the arrangement itself, as in the fixtures and fittings of a building or shop, or the parts of a machine.
In contrast, the word assemblage in English means more or less the same as its actual French counterpart, assemblage, a word that Deleuze and Guattari use less often and certainly never in a philosophical sense. It has a more restrictive range of uses in English. The French will talk about an assemblage of different grape varieties or ingredients in a recipe and its senses cover blending, collating, gathering and joining. (109)
In short, the French assemblage can be a mere grouping; agencement is a more purposeful coordination of elements. The difference matters, especially for rhetorical theory, a field that continues to debate the nature of rhetorical agency. * To navigate this verbal knot, I prefer term assembly, a word that can preserve the multiple connotations of agencement while acting as an important probe for rhetorical theorists.
I prefer the term assembly over assemblage for two reasons. First, it is a more precise translation of the French agencement, one that captures the agency involved in the activity of assembling. Second, the connotations of assembly in English make it a richer critical probe for rhetorical theory. Assembly can refer to a rhetorical artifact (a sequence of parts assembled for a persuasive purposes) or the process by which an artifact is assembled. Assembly can also describe the real or imagined receivers of the artifact; for example, the crowd assembled to hear a speech or the discourse community assembled by the publication linking its members. Thinking about audiences as assemblies makes sense when one considers the distinctions between real and imagined audiences; that is, audiences addressed versus audiences invoked. A rhetor assembles a notion of his or her audience, but he or she also addresses a real audience assembled of those people reached by a message. Even the single-hearer audience can be considered an assembly of a sort; a rhetor generates a model of another mind by assembling either direct experience of that specific mind or of similar minds. For example, a savvy employee will quickly develop a sense of how to approach his or her boss. The mental image of that boss will be based on the boss s past behaviors or from encounters with other bosses, other professionals, and so on.
It is important to note that my approach to rhetorical assembly is sympathetic to many of the principles and applications of agencement/assemblage. It is helpful to think about a multimodal composition as an emergent form that derives its ability to mean from exterior relations between the realized capacities of its components. Moreover, aspects of assemblage describe image-text compounds well; that is, the semiotic work of a multimodal composite is accomplished by the relations of exteriority that form and bind components into seemingly coherent wholes situated in contingent networks of meaning. Nevertheless, for functional rhetorical descriptions, Deleuze s (or DeLanda s) assemblage is a limited lens; a more constrained version is needed for analyzing the operation of texts in specific contexts. The rhetorical assembly as I use it is less capacious; it is merely a specific performance in which cognitive, material, and social resources are coordinated in the light of actual or imagined cognitive, material, and social constraints for the purpose of rhetorical action; it is the result of the assembly process. The rhetorical assembly can be considered a subset of the broader Deleuzean category that accounts for a far broader range of cultural activity.
My more narrow approach to assembly is also broader than the term assemblage used by Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart Selber. For these digital-media and composition scholars, an assemblage is a specific class of rhetorical artifact-the remix: For our purposes here, assemblages are texts built primarily and explicitly from existing texts in order to solve a writing or communication problem in a new context (381). They argue that creating such assemblages can help students to focus on learning to create rhetorical effects rather than on the anxiety induced by demands for originality: What if the final product a student produces-a text-is not concerned with original words or images on a page or screen but concerned primarily with assemblages of parts? Importantly, in this reconception, the assemblages do not distinguish primarily between which parts are supposed to be original and which have been found and gathered from someplace else; assemblages are interested in what works, what has social effects (380). The crucial difference between this assemblage and a broader rhetorical assembly as I use the term is that the latter does not restrict the assembled material to preexisting texts, thereby leaving room for both original and recycled material. As the case studies in this book demonstrate, scientists do appropriate the visualized data of others, but they also assemble what Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca call objects of agreement -the facts, truths, presumptions, values, and patterns of reasoning accepted by a discourse community. In other words, although a remix is assembled from others texts, it is not the only kind of rhetorical assembly because all persuasive artifacts are rhetorical assemblies.
Finally, circulation describes the processes by which a rhetorical assembly is presented to, used by, and exchanged among the members of its audiences; it includes the initial act of transmission but can also include the application, remediation, and recirculation of the rhetorical artifact. Circulation draws attention to how media influence who can become part of the audience for an artifact and how media influence what is included in that artifact. This definition of circulation draws on definitions used by theorists from various positions within the field of rhetorical studies.
For some rhetoricians, circulation describes the process through which artifacts define audiences. Building on Michael Warner s work on circulation, print culture, and the public sphere, Lester Olson describes circulation as a process of enabling a composition to address an audience of strangers who, by devoting attention to it, become its public ( Pictorial Representations 6). Olson develops the concept of circulation further by examining rhetorical re-circulation -a special case of circulation in which diverse publishers and image makers circumscribed rhetorical agency by reshaping both the composition itself and its resituated meanings through their derived and recirculated compositions addressed to subsequent audiences located elsewhere (7). His analysis of a recirculating eighteenth-century political print demonstrates how existing materials were refashioned for new rhetorical situations and how that process reveals the rhetorical agency of audiences: Publics and counterpublics were not merely attentive, but actively engaged in understanding and oftentimes actively reshaping messages (27). My case studies of the recirculation of scientific visuals demonstrate how scientific audiences engaged and reshaped the arguments that those visuals supported.
Like Olson, James Porter also draws attention to the differences between initial and recurrent transmission when he discusses how digital delivery influences rhetorical invention. As described previously, Porter s work on digital delivery describes konoi topoi- common topics-of delivery that affect the invention process; distribution/ circulation is one of those topoi. Although Porter groups distribution and circulation in a single slash-bound term, this topos can involve two distinct processes: Distribution refers then to the initial decision about how you package a message in order to send it to its intended audience. Circulation refers to the potential for that message to have a document life of its own and be redistributed without your direct intervention. You can design your discourse to achieve a high degree of circulation, or you can design it to limit circulation, depending on your wishes. Porter uses the genre of e-mail as an example. When an author is creating an e-mail message, the affordances of distribution affect what is included in the message. Circulation can be amplified or suppressed by adding language to the message, such as Please forward or Confidential: Do not forward. Although Porter s circulation is most directly relevant for my cases on digital artifacts, traces of these issues are part of every case. Rhetors make choices in developing their rhetorical artifacts to expand or constrain how those artifacts operate at and after the moment of initial transmission.
The distinctions between circulation as a topos of invention, circulation as a process of constituting audiences, and (re)circulation as a process of audience intervention are largely distinctions over which constituent of the communicative act is controlling the rhetorical energy of the situation. When circulation is activated as a topos, an author is attempting to exert control over the movement of his or her artifact. When the circulation of a rhetorical artifact creates its publics, the artifact is the locus of rhetorical energy. When recipients of the initial message recirculate it, they direct its rhetorical energy to new ends. Thus, circulation is not just the material transmission (and retransmission) of messages; it is integral to every aspect of the rhetorical performance and can serve multiple rhetorical functions. The cases presented in this book offer productive examples for considering each aspect of circulation in relation to conception and assembly. *
The processes of conception, assembly, and circulation are not discrete stages in a linear process; rather, like more capacious definitions of the classical canons of rhetoric, they are recursive overlapping activities that affect one another through both literal and projected influence. For example, the conception and assembly of a scientific argument is highly affected by the social constraints of its circulation. When planning arguments, scientists know that the rhetorical artifact to be circulated-an IMRAD article, for instance-needs specific information in specific parts of the document. But this genre is more than just arrangement. As Carolyn Miller argues in the foundational Genre as Social Action, genres represent typified social actions. John Swales (and the researchers who have built on his work) have documented just how typified research articles can be. For example, there is a flexible but controlled set of moves that occurs in research-article introductions, and the specific moves a scientist makes in contextualizing an article can depend on the norms of a research community (for example, see Samraj). Similarly, knowledge of social constraints can affect how scientists conduct their research as much as it can affect the assembly of rhetorical artifacts. They select their instruments and subjects knowing that the type of data they collect can provide the conceptual and material resources needed to create a socially acceptable argument. The form and content of reports on that research are shaped by the requirements of the journal to which the scientists plan to send the work. Moreover, the initial circulation that occurs during the peer-review process further shapes the final published artifact.
To further demonstrate the utility of this framework, I return to the example of the protein crystallographers Dawson and Locher. Recall that Dawson and Locher were working on the structure of Sav1886, an ABC transporter protein that should have been (but wasn t) homologous with Chang s structure for MsbA. To generate a publishable account of Sav1886, they encountered and effectively managed resources and constraints. Cognitive factors influenced the conception of their argument from incompatibility; for example, when Locher viewed the MsbA visualization he retrieved from the structure database, he immediately recognized the structure s flaws. When Dawson and Locher were assembling their argument, material factors-such as Nature s digital infrastructure for linking to material external to an article-allowed them to refute Chang s version of MsbA without elevating that component of the argument above their primary rhetorical purpose, arguing for their structure of Sav1866. They also relied on color, a visualized chiastic pattern, and the affordances of stereoscopic vision when epitomizing their claim (plate 2). That assembly process was likely influenced by an understanding of social resources and constraints. Specifically, Dawson and Locher needed to remove the factual status of the MsbA structure to prepare readers who had accepted that fact to be receptive to their contradictory claims about Sav1866. Part of that refutation relied on recirculating Chang s original structure when visualizing its divergence with their structure; the protein database provided the material resources needed for that work.
Although this model helps to frame the various elements at play in rhetorical communication, it is limited as an analytical and pedagogical framework. Rhetoricians need more precise tools that both reflect the parameters of this model and explain how to navigate them effectively when responding to rhetorical situations or analyzing rhetorical artifacts. The tools described in the next section meet these demands.
Tools and Methods
Assembling Arguments analyzes scientific texts that coordinate visual and verbal symbols to develop specific types of arguments. I base this analysis on four complementary groups of concepts: (1) an argumentation-based theory of rhetoric, namely Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca s The New Rhetoric , (2) a multimodal interpretation of rhetorical figures, (3) a social semiotic approach to visual grammar, and (4) a multimodal reading of Burke s terministic screen. Each of these conceptual frames supports the model of multimodal rhetoric described earlier, and each offers useful lenses for studying scientific discourse and multimodal artifacts.
The New Rhetoric and Multimodal Scientific Arguments
The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation by Cha m Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, which provides the theoretical spine for this book, is a comprehensive agreement-oriented approach to argumentation that effectively describes argumentation in verbal discourse; thus, it provides a comprehensive base for a multimodal theory of argument.
For Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, arguments begin with uncontroversial objects of agreement -those notions that a rhetor assumes the audience shares. There are two sets of agreements that arguers and audiences share-agreements about the real-facts, truths, and presumptions-and agreements about the preferable-values, loci (topoi), and hierarchies. *
Argumentation is the process by which these objects are combined to increase the adherence of an audience to a novel claim. For example, a policymaker might make the following argument: Greenhouse gases accelerate climate change; therefore, we should implement policies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide regardless of the increased costs incurred by consumers and businesses. This argument coordinates a number of facts: Greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, consumers, and businesses are all things that people accept as existing in the world. The argument also rests on truths, such as the network of facts entailed in the concept climate change. This argument attempts to establish a hierarchical arrangement of values; ecological values are positioned as more important than economic values. A locus of quantity (that is, less of a bad thing is better than more of it) underwrites the action of reducing carbon dioxide emissions proposed in the argument. Finally, the success of the argument depends on specific presumptions. For example, audiences typically presume the honesty of a speaker.
It is important to note that objects of agreement can and do lose their agreed-upon status through new arguments. For example, the argument for carbon-emission restrictions could be challenged by undermining the definition of greenhouse gas, the status of the term climate change, or the honesty of the speaker. Similarly, a visual fact can be demoted to a mere supposition by refuting the arguments that gave it factual status. For example, Chang s MsbA structure had achieved factual status, but that status was revoked through Locher and Dawson s refutation. This example demonstrates two of the reasons why Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca s approach to argumentation works so well for scientific discourse. First, the agreement-oriented approach comports with the principles of consensus and falsifiability at the core of scientific knowledge-making. Second, their system can also be applied to nonverbal representations even though Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca did not have such applications in mind.
After establishing the starting points of argumentation, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca outline a taxonomy of techniques of argumentation that offers the most complete contemporary resuscitation of topical reasoning. When discussing their categories of argument, they first define a series of quasi-logical arguments-arguments patterned after the relations of formal logic and mathematics. * The rest of Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca s taxonomy of argumentation is organized according to how arguments interact with reality. They discuss (1) arguments that depend on the structure of reality, such as causal arguments; (2) arguments that structure reality, such as those based on analogy; and (3) arguments that revise the structure of reality, which they call the dissociation of concepts.
Although many of these arguments-such as analogy and causality arguments- correspond to topoi that have been discussed by rhetoricians since ancient times, the arrangement of The New Rhetoric aligns well with the processes of scientific reasoning and discovery. Scientists develop existing hypotheses from known facts and controlled investigations of correlations and cause; they develop new hypotheses and conceptual models through analogy, example, and metaphor; and they revise and replace established conclusions and theories when those concepts cease to be the best account of reality.
The New Rhetoric as a Cognitive, Material, Social, and Multimodal Rhetoric
Although The New Rhetoric was written to address verbal arguments, it aligns well with the multimodal model of persuasion that grounds this book. Throughout The New Rhetoric , Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca recognize the cognitive, material, and social relations involved in conceptualizing, assembling, and circulating persuasive artifacts.
Core concepts of The New Rhetoric engage the role of cognition and perception in argumentation. For Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, rhetoric depends on the contact of minds, and argumentation depends on presence- a cognitive state in which the hearer s attention is focused on the data selected by the speaker. The appropriateness of reading The New Rhetoric as a cognitive rhetoric is reinforced by contemporary theorists who have built on its cognitive foundations. For example, Alan Gross has shown how presence as described in The New Rhetoric maps onto contemporary theories of perception and cognition ( Presence as a Consequence ). Similarly, Prelli has observed that the concept of presence can extend to visual representations: Rhetorical display creates presence for the selected elements through presentational forms that shape how the substance of discourse appears in the minds of audiences addressed ( Rhetorics of Display 7). This interpretation of presence broadens the term beyond verbal discourse-the explicit subject of Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca s work.
The New Rhetoric is also attuned to the material resources and constraints that affect persuasion. For example, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca discuss how time and space constrain persuasive acts: Every speech has a time limitation, and this is also true in practice for any writing addressed to third parties. The time limitation may be imposed by convention or it may depend on opportunity, on the intention or interest of the hearers, on the space available in a newspaper or review, or on the cost of printing a text. But whatever the cause of the limitation, the form of discourse cannot but take it into account (143). The material constraints on verbal communication are their primary concern here; however, other parts of The New Rhetoric recognize the role of nondiscursive elements in influencing audiences: Various conditioning agents are available to increase one s influence on an audience: music, lighting, crowd effects, scenery, and various devices of stage management. These means have always been known and have been used in the past by primitive peoples, as well as by the Greeks and Romans and during the Middle Ages. In our own day, technical improvements have fostered the development of these conditioners to the point that they are regarded by some as the essential element in acting on minds (23). Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca note that these conditioners are outside the scope of their project; however, observations on multimodal means of persuasion do appear in The New Rhetoric. For example, they introduce observations from classical rhetoric on the affordances of objects for orators: Certain masters of rhetoric, with a liking for quick results, advocate the use of concrete objects in order to move an audience: Caesar s bloody tunic which Antony waves in front of the Roman populace or the children of the accused brought before his judges to arouse their pity. The real thing is expected to induce an adherence that its mere description would be unable to secure; it is a precious aid, provided argumentation uses it to advantage (117). In the same passage, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca note that using concrete objects to support an argument can be risky: The real can indeed exhibit unfavorable features from which it may be difficult to distract the viewer s attention; the concrete object might also turn his attention in a direction leading away from what is of importance to the speaker (117-118).
One can interpret this passage as Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca articulating the stakes of understanding the verbal-visual interaction problem: When visual and verbal systems are used together, one can overwhelm the other if the relationship is poorly managed; thus, rhetors need to consider the affordances and liabilities of visual objects when combining them with verbal messages and vice versa.
These isolated discussions of modality and persuasion in The New Rhetoric hardly demonstrate a fully articulated multimodal rhetoric. Indeed, the introduction to The New Rhetoric is explicit in its commitment to describing the conditioning of the audience by discourse alone, and by discourse the authors mean verbal discourse exclusively (9). Nevertheless, the instances in which Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca engage nondiscursive persuasion suggest that The New Rhetoric might be extended to consider how material components and cross-modal interaction contribute to persuasion. One of the goals of this book is to develop the conceptual framework of The New Rhetoric to account for multimodal arguments more fully.
Although The New Rhetoric demonstrates an awareness of the cognitive and material forces that shape the development and delivery of arguments, it is most explicitly attuned to rhetoric s social dimensions. As Arnold explains in the introduction to Perelman s The Realm of Rhetoric, Perelman s project was to answer the question By what processes do we reason about values? (vii). In other words, how do we argue about social phenomena? In answering this question, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca developed the rhetorical epistemology reflected in the foundational components of their system-the objects of agreement.
For Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, all arguments begin with the concepts and relationships agreed upon by a community of minds. They also offer their social and rhetorical approach to knowledge and language as an alternative to two other approaches-realism and nominalism. For example, when describing arguments about reality in their conclusion to The New Rhetoric, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca explain how a social approach to language resolves the false dichotomy represented by these other schools:
If judgments of reality are to provide an indisputable object of common understanding, the terms they contain must be free of all ambiguity, either because it is possible to know their true meaning, or because a unanimously accepted convention does away with all controversy on this subject. These two possibilities, which are respectively the approaches of realism and nominalism in the linguistic field, are both untenable, as they regard language as either a reflection of reality or as an arbitrary creation of an individual, and forget an essential element, the social aspect of language, which is an instrument of communication and influence on others. (513)
As the passage continues, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca further describe the social aspect of language, but they also suggest that the social dimension is interwoven with cognitive and material domains: All language is the language of a community, be this a community bound by biological ties, or by the practice of a common discipline or technique. The terms used, their meaning, their definition, can only be understood in the context of habits, ways of thought, methods, external circumstances, and traditions known to the users of those terms (513).
The orientation of The New Rhetoric toward a holistic understanding of rhetoric- one that accounts for cognitive, material and social relations, resources, and constraints-is epitomized in how Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca approach rhetorical figures (a subject described more fully in the next section). Rather than organize figures into traditional categories that begin by separating figures of thought from figures of speech or tropes from schemes, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca sort the figures by their functions-choice, presence, or communion. * Arguably, each of their figural functions is strongly linked to a specific domain of experience. Figures of choice as described in The New Rhetoric are the most explicitly cognitive of their types. For example, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca describe oratorical definition as a figure of choice, because it makes use of the structure of the definition not to give the meaning of a word, but to bring to the fore certain aspects of the facts which might otherwise remain in the background of our consciousness (173). Similarly, synecdoche and metonymy sometimes function as figures of choice. For example, The use of mortals in place of men is a way of drawing attention to a particular characteristic of men (174). Although figures of presence are defined as making the object of discourse present to mind, they are the most material of the three classes. The examples offered by Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca include onomatopoeia and various figures of repetition and amplification; these figures of presence depend on material resources, such as specific sounds, syntactic arrangements, or multiple instances of the same term or phrase. Finally, figures that increase communion with the audience are the most explicitly social of figural resources. These figures include allusion, maxims, and pronominal substitutions (for example, rhetorical replacements of I with we ). In short, approaching figuration through the functional perspective of The New Rhetoric highlights the cognitive, material, and social dimensions of these rhetorical resources. Further examination of the various aspects of rhetorical figures demonstrates their usefulness as tools for analyzing multimodal discourse.
Rhetorical Figures: Cognitive, Material, and Social Resources for Multimodal Rhetoric
As mentioned in the previous section, rhetorical figures can be categorized as discursive phenomena that perform cognitive, material, and social functions. This section examines those functions in greater detail and considers how the resources of rhetorical figures can be deployed across modalities.
Cognitive approaches to rhetorical figures and figural approaches to cognition have been developed in disciplines across the academy. Cognitive scientists such as Dedre Gentner have developed models to account for the cognitive activity of analogical and metaphoric reasoning. Similarly, linguists such as George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, and Mark Turner have described the centrality of metaphor to human thought. In Figure, his contribution to Figurative Language and Thought, Turner examined a wider range of figures as examples of conceptual integration-the blending of mental spaces. In Rhetoric in the Age of Cognitive Science, Fahnestock has described how cognitive-science research accounts for the mechanisms and efficacies of such figures as syntactic parallelism and paronomasia. In Rhetorical Figures in Science, Fahnestock demonstrated the how oft-ignored figures such as antithesis, antimetabole, and ploce have been used to epitomize complex ideas.
Researchers applying psychological approaches to marketing have also shown that rhetorical figures have empirically measurable effects on message recall, attitudes, and cognition. For example, a study of advertisements by Mothersbaugh, Huhmann, and Franke suggests that schemes and tropes direct the attention of readers differently: Schemes generate a generalized focus on the entire ad, including both ad-stylistic and message-related aspects, while tropes generate a more selective focus on message-related aspects (589). In a meta-analysis, Eric DeRosia collated results of psychological experiments that studied the effects of figural language to test hypotheses about rhetorical figures posited by classical rhetoricians. For example, several ancient rhetoricians claimed that rhetorical figures increase the attention of the audience. DeRosia found six experimental studies that supported that claim and only one that disputed it. Similarly, ancient texts claim that figures can require that the audience make inferences to comprehend the message, a feature that increases engagement with the argument. For example, Aristotle observes that an agreeable style can be created by stating half a consideration so that the audience may understand the other half themselves (qtd. in DeRosia 31). This style can be accomplished through the conceptual priming generated by rhetorical figures. DeRosia s examination of marketing-science literature found eleven studies supporting this claim. Notably, DeRosia s meta-analysis did not validate all hypotheses about figures proposed in classical texts. For example, Quintilian s claim that rhetorical figures reduce counterarguments was supported by some studies and not supported by others. Other claims, such as the existence of a causal link between figures and emotions, were not tested. The larger and more important point is that rhetorical figures have measurable cognitive effects. Although Assembling Arguments is not an experiment-driven text, it applies figural vocabularies with clear cognitive foundations.
As the treatment of figures in The New Rhetoric suggests, at least some rhetorical figures can be read in material terms. Specific figures-especially figures of sound (onomatopoeia, rhyme), repetition (anaphora, epistrophe), and syntax (antimetabole, gradatio)-depend on the material relations between the physical attributes of a phrase s component parts. The materiality of figures is further developed by examining their expression in nonverbal media. What I refer to as multimodal figuration is the application of argument patterns of verbal rhetorical figures to nondiscursive forms. Some of the earliest examples of multimodal figuration come from music theorists who used rhetorical figures to describe sequences of notes; this practice was especially popular during the Baroque period. (For discussions of musical rhetoric, see Fischer, Farnsworth, Vickers, or Scott.) Other scholars have used rhetorical figures to describe visual forms. For example, Hanno Ehses showed how various playbill illustrations for productions of Shakespeare s Macbeth included visualized rhetorical figures in their designs. These visual figures range from antithesis and irony to synecdoche and periphrasis. Although Ehses s examples are useful in demonstrating the existence of visual figures, the playbill illustrations are more ornamental than argumentative instances. More important for my purposes is Fahnestock s treatment of visual figures in Rhetorical Figures in Science. Fahnestock argues that figures are more than mere ornaments; they are sources of invention that can take both visual and verbal forms. For example, incrementum -a series whose terms increase or decrease in degree-is deployed consistently in visual form in diagrams of the evolution of species across the fossil record. For example, figure 2.1 documents the evolution of the horse by arranging constituent elements to show increases in size and hoofed-ness over time. In this instance of multimodal figuration, verbal and visual terms are assembled to create links between seemingly unrelated objects-the dog-like Hyracotherium and the modern horse. Incrementa can also restructure seemingly homogenous subjects. For example, Prelli s study of a dispute over fishing rights shows how one side used incremental changes in plankton concentrations to argue for the existence of a natural boundary between areas of the ocean ( Visualizing a Bounded Sea 104). The relationships epitomized by rhetorical figures help explain many instances in which rhetors transform raw or previously mediated visual data into acceptable arguments.

Figure 2.1.

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