Writing and Rhetoric Devices Used by 18th and 19th Scientists – Page 5

In addition to appeal to authority, appeal to emotion and the use of structure, the scientists employed some other writing strategies to persuade their readers. Refutation is a writing technique that the scientists used to convince their readers. Refuting some of their own claims allowed the scientists to prove to their readers that they had conducted a through investigation prior to discrediting the current results and promoting their results. Priestly pretended to have some suspicion about his results so he can make them seem questionable but then clarified the details to erase any suspicion and proved he is unbiased . Similarly, Cuvier and Darwin each provided some arguments that opposed their results but they quickly provided evidence to refute and discredit any opposition to their findings and promoted their results. Another writing strategy employed by the scientists is the use of examples. Priestly and Cuvier used examples in their publications that are easy for the readers to understand, which made it easier for the readers to agree with the scientists. For example, Priestly used mice and the amount of time they survived in his air to illustrate the quality of his air .

The rhetoric and writing strategies employed by the four scientists suggest that their readers included citizens who were not scientists because the publications included elements that the average citizen can relate to. For example, the use of religious examples to justify ones results are unnecessary in the scientific community because scientists employ logic, reasoning and analysis to validate or discredit results. However, the general public is unfamiliar with scientific methodologies and at that time their world view was dictated by religion, hence the scientists attempted to validate their results by highlighting the similarities with religion. Moreover, scientific results are better conveyed through formally structured scientific documents such as lab reports, however, reading structured scientific documents is difficult and less entertaining for the general public. Thus, the use of rhetoric devices such as simple examples to illustrate the results is necessary to convince their readers.

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