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Emotional Versus Logical Appeals Help (page 3)

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Updated on Sep 21, 2011

Practice Passage 2

Now look at another argument for the same position. Notice how much more logical this essay is—regardless of whether you agree with the author—simply because the author gives explanations and evidence for his position rather than appealing solely to the readers' emotions.

The City Council of Ste. Jeanne should reject mandatory recycling. Although many good people support this idea, the proposal facing us is so deeply flawed that I believe their support is misplaced. The most glaring problem is that the mandatory recycling program proposed here would create at least as much pollution as it would eliminate. Our neighbors in Youngsville could testify to that: Greensleaves Recycling, the proposed contractor, got the recycling contract in Youngsville five years ago, and their machinery spewed so much toxic gas out of its smokestacks that the city government stopped all recycling, mandatory or optional, for a solid year.

One of the biggest concerns people have is that the bottles and cans they throw away today will either accumulate in unsightly, unsanitary landfills or go up in smoke from an incinerator. But the fact of the matter is that new waste treatment facilities in nearby counties soon will eliminate most of the need for landfills and incinerators. By compacting unsorted trash into blocks comparable in hardness to concrete, the new facilities make it available for use in building foundations, dikes, and road construction. This form of "recycling"—not part of the present proposal—doesn't require us to collect the garbage in any new way because it doesn't matter whether the content is coffee grounds or juice bottles.

An argument in favor of the recycling proposal for which I have some sympathy is that mandatory recycling will raise people's awareness of our beautiful and fragile environment. Reflecting on this, however, I recalled our wonderful educational programs, both in the schools and in the mass media. Voluntary recycling is at an all-time high level of participation; both anglers and environmentalists are celebrating the recent re opening of the Ste. Jeanne Waterway to fishing; and downtown Ste. Jeanne won the "Greening of the State" award just last year. Taken together, these facts suggest to me a populace already deeply engaged with environmental issues and now looking hard for new, well-conceived proposals to do even more. The present proposal simply doesn't measure up to our city's high standards.

You probably noticed immediately that this passage also gives three reasons for not supporting the mandatory recycling program—so the authors don't differ over whether to reject the proposed program. The two passages don't have as much in common in their style of argument, though, and that is our focus here. Let's take a closer look at passage 2.

What Reasons Does the Writer Offer?

Break this argument down as you did the first one. Here are the reasons the author of passage 2 provides in arguing that the mandatory recycling program should be rejected. Underneath each reason, make a note about the logic behind the reason; say what reasoning, evidence, or common sense the author points to in support of the argument.

  1. The proposed mandatory recycling program would cause as much pollution as it would eliminate.
  2. New waste treatment facilities lessen the need for recycling programs.
  3. The mandatory recycling program is not needed to raise people's awareness of the environment.

Are the Appeals Logical?

Regardless of whether you agree with the author, you can see that this is a much more effective argument because the writer uses logic and common sense in backing up what he has to say.

The first argument is supported in the following way:

  • The proposed contractor caused a great deal of pollution from smokestacks in a nearby city five years earlier.
  • The smokestack toxicity in the nearby city was so extensive that even voluntary recycling was halted for a year, meaning that even less recycling took place than before the mandatory recycling program began.

The second argument is supported by the following logic:

  • New waste treatment facilities allow all waste to be reused without the need for sorting it into waste to be recycled and waste to be incinerated or put in a landfill, but the proposed plan does not involve these new facilities.

Finally, the third argument is supported this way:

  • The populace of Ste. Jeanne is already highly conscious of the environment, and benefit from educational programs in the schools and the mass media.
  • The high level of environmental consciousness of the people shows in (a) the high rate of voluntary recycling, (b) the celebrated re opening of the Ste. Jeanne Waterway to fishing, and (c) the city's downtown winning a state environmental award the previous year.
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