Stuart Greene, in his “Argument as Conversation, The Role of Inquiry in Writing a Researched Argument” implores his audience to consider the following when entering a conversation: what is the topic’s subject, relevance and importance, what kind of evidence can be further provided to prove one’s point, what prejudice or “objections” might the readers have, and lastly, what would be the broad-scale outcome if this argument evoked change?
Greene also encourages his reader to keep an open mind, react to a claim appropriately, and use our rhetorical tools to prove a claim. While this suggestion can be helpful, Greene’s error is obvious– he ignores, or rather, forgets that other writer’s too have rhetoric tools, and they use their devices, in many cases quite artfully, to convince their audience of the validity and importance of their claim. Readers of these claims should not be blinded by the author’s tools of persuasion; only after one strips away the rhetorical make-up of an claim can one see the true face of the argument. Considering the devices of persuasion the writer uses to convince the reader, therefore, is extremely important in the reader’s reaction to a piece.
The more a reader can see through the writer’s argument, the more appropriately the reader can shape their response. If the reader wishes to disclaim a position, then he can pick apart holes in the essay, removing all prior credibility of the claim. If the reader agrees with the writer, or wishes to qualify a claim, the reader can fill in the holes of the rhetor’s argument (without calling attention to the piece’s flaws) then build off that foundation.