Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Committee Chair/Advisor

Katz, Steven B

Committee Member

Hilligoss , Susan

Committee Member

Howard , Tharon


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.