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In the rhetorical discipline, Walter Fisher refers to narrative as the ground for determining meaning. Fisher predicates this on the conception that humans are first and foremost storytellers, and it is through these stories that we learn and understand. But not all stories create meaning for everyone. Stories must have what is called 'narrative fidelity,' meaning simply that they must be believable to an audience at a point in time. It is at this point where the conception of argument and 'rhetoric' come into play. Argument can be seen as a conscious attempt at creating meaning, but not just abstract meaning. Rather, targeting it at a particular audience, at a particular moment in time, and moving them in a particular way. For Aristotle, the study of rhetoric was the closest to the study of physics, since both dealt with moving bodies. This class stands at the crossroads of critically examining how we create meaning through narrative and argument as a way to support students' written and verbal communication skills. In part one of this course, we focus on the basic building blocks of thinking through narrative and argument, becoming familiar with the terms and the theory of rhetorical construction, and developing exercises to improve the effectiveness of written and verbal reasoning.
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