Communication Theory

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What part of Charton Heston's speech to Harvard Law School students in 1999 would be considered an enthymeme? I am thinking it is somewhere in the beginning of the speech.

  • Communication Theory -

    Exactly which part, do you think?

    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/charltonhestonculturalwar.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enthymeme

    http://grammar.about.com/od/e/g/enthymemeterm.htm

  • Communication Theory -

    I was going to say after he quotes Abraham Lincoln, those words are represented by the enthymeme. Am I close to being correct? Thanks!

  • Communication Theory -

    "Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what lives in your heart. I'm sure you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you, the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is."

    I think you're right. What reasons will you give to prove you're right?

  • Communication Theory -

    I think Heston here is trying to give the audience a chance to think about how they feel about his feelings towards not being able to say what they feel in their hearts because he feels this way. Does this make sense to use as the proof? Thanks!

  • Communication Theory -

    If this is the basic definition of an enthymeme -- "an informally stated syllogism (a three-part deductive argument) with an unstated assumption that must be true for the premises to lead to the conclusion" (Wikipedia) -- what do you think is the "unstated assumption"?

  • Communication Theory -

    PS -- Feelings have nothing to do with this -- beliefs do.

  • Communication Theory -

    I would say the unstated assumption is "Those words are true again". Is this correct? I would also say I think Heston here is trying to give the audience a chance to think about what they believe is true about what he is saying. Am I correct? Thanks!

  • Communication Theory -

    I think you're getting there. That sentence cannot be the "unstated assumption," though -- it's stated! The thing about enthymemes is that there's an UNSTATED assumption behind all the following statements. Re-read those two definition links I gave you above.

  • Communication Theory -

    Is this the unstated assumption? Heston assumes that the audience will fill in the blanks and partake in the construction of his argument.

    I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what lives in your heart.

  • Communication Theory -

    To understand the "unstated assumption", you need to know what Heston's political philosophy was. What was the "civil war" about? What did he believe about the government at the time he was making this speech?

  • Communication Theory -

    He believed that the government was restricting American's rights to free speech and rights to bear arms. Am I understanding this correctly? What one sentence would define the enthymeme? Was I correct when I said that this was the one sentence that defined it?

    "I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what lives in your heart."

  • Communication Theory -

    You will need to be able to identify (state) Heston's UNSTATED belief/assumption first. Then you can identify the rest.

    You may be right, but you won't know until you identify his belief/assumption.

  • Communication Theory -

    Ok now I am confused. He makes statements with stated intentions, yet these are considered the unstated assumptions? What do you believe is the unstated assumption?

  • Communication Theory -

    You wrote:
    He believed that the government was restricting American's rights to free speech and rights to bear arms. Am I understanding this correctly? What one sentence would define the enthymeme? Was I correct when I said that this was the one sentence that defined it?

    "I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what lives in your heart."

    What is his belief upon which he builds his speech? Haven't you already written it?

  • Communication Theory -

    So this would be the one sentence that defines the enthymeme?

    "I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what lives in your heart."

  • Communication Theory -

    Could the enthymeme be Abraham Lincoln's quote that he reads? That defines a Civil War, but he doesn't specify what kind until the next sentence.

  • Communication Theory -

    From the Wikipedia definition:
    "In an enthymeme, part of the argument is missing because it is assumed."

    1. Write down his belief that is not stated.
    2. Then state what you quoted above.

  • Communication Theory -

    So basically, his belief not stated is that the government was restricting American's rights to free speech and rights to bear arms.

    That reflect's his quote, so that sentence would be the enthymeme?

  • Communication Theory -

    The enthymeme is all of it:

    -- the unstated belief, and
    -- his words and ideas that are based on that belief.

  • Communication Theory -

    Part of his unstated assumption is that since the Constitution says that people have the right to bear arms and Heston is avid about that topic, then everyone agrees with him/the Constitution.

  • Communication Theory -

    So basically if I state the answer to the question like this it should be acceptable:

    Heston’s belief that is not stated in his comment about a great Civil War was that the government was restricting American's rights to free speech and rights to bear arms. This is where the audience should fill in the blanks and partake in the construction of his argument.


    In reference to Abraham Lincoln’s comments when Heston says “I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what lives in your heart." This is the enthymeme and where Heston leaves a portion of his argument out for the audience to fill in the blanks while giving them an opportunity to partake in the construction of the entire argument that reflects his belief that the government at the time was restricting American’s rights to free speech and bear arms.

  • Communication Theory -

    Would this be appropriate in answering the question?

    Heston’s belief that is not stated in his comment about a great Civil War was that the government was restricting American's rights to free speech and rights to bear arms. This is where the audience should fill in the blanks and partake in the construction of his argument.

    In reference to Abraham Lincoln’s comments when Heston says “I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what lives in your heart." This is the enthymeme and where Heston leaves a portion of his argument out for the audience to fill in the blanks while giving them an opportunity to partake in the construction of the entire argument that reflects his belief that the government at the time was restricting American’s rights to free speech and bear arms.

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