Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Advisor

Katz, Steven B

Committee Member

Hilligoss , Susan

Committee Member

Howard , Tharon

Abstract

Visual argument is a relatively new discipline within the field of visual rhetorics. Consequently, visual rhetoricians have presented new theories of visual argumentation without fully considering the possibilities of existing textual methodologies as explanatory tools—especially classical rhetorical devices. This thesis presents a methodology for examining and creating visual arguments based on the concepts of topoi and figures of speech. I contend that these classical rhetorical devises embody an “objective” understanding of visual communication that shows one way of bridging the empiricism/rationalism debate in epistemology. By demonstrating that knowledge comes from the necessary interplay of perception and conception, I attempt to show that topoi and figures create visual arguments by means of conceptualization based on information gathered from an objective reality—a process that mimics the act of cognition and, therefore, provides a wide-reaching communicative methodology.

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