Course Details

Persuasion Theory and Practice

This course has four goals: to expand students' knowledge of argumentation strategies beyond the analogical "apply, distinguish, reconcile" variety as taught in law school; to connect students to the tradition of Western thought on the role and function of those who seek to persuade; to help students situate their own practice of persuasion/argument within the context of the epistemological debate around the uses of persuasion; and to explore the manner in which the theory and practice of persuasion come together in ways that are useful to their future practices of law. Each week we will consider foundational and contemporary thinking about the role of persuasion and those who practice it in civil society. We will also study the art of rhetoric/persuasion itself, the forms, tropes and strategies that shape the various ways we can make arguments to courts and tribunals. Finally, each week we will spend time delivering and evaluating arguments in the context of the readings for that week. Students will be broken into groups and assigned a topic, a side to argue, and a particular problem with the nature of persuasion to explore in their arguments which will be delivered in class. Each student will then write a short think-piece describing their process, intentions, and takeaways from the in-class experience. Evaluation Method: In-class arguments, 25%; notes on arguments delivered in class, 15%; final paper (a draft oration/speech with explanatory essay) 50%; class participation 10%. Texts: Garsten, Saving Persuasion (Harvard University Press, 2009) Cavender and Kahane, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric (Wadsworth/ Cengage Learning, 12th Ed., 2012) Multiple articles and book excerpts posted to BlackBoard.

Catalog Number: LAWSTUDY 674

Course History

Spring 2021
Title: Persuasion Theory and Practice
Section: X     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 40     Actual: 0