Rhetorical Analysis of Practical Ethics

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Tung-Tung Ouyang

Dr Crockett

English 1A MW 12:30-1:45

29th April 2013

Rhetorical Analysis of Practical Ethics

In Peter Singer's Practical Ethics, Singer explains basic ethical concepts, then discusses practical issues such as, killing animals, induced abortion, gap of wealth, environmental issues, and so on. In chapter eight, "Rich and Poor", Singer's main idea is to show his target audience, whose income can fulfill more than one's needs (not necessarily be rich), the severe disparity between rich and poor, and encourages us to donate as much as we can to help those in need. Singer's words are convincing thanks to his strong rhetorical strategies such as, facts and statistics based on his research, making concessions to almost every objection, and his logical elaboration.

Singer uses facts and statistics to support his statements and arouse his target readers' sympathy. In Singer's book, he does not use a single example of poor children or their bad living conditions to draw people's attention and sympathy.

In fact, Singer is very practical and logical, and does not play on the emotions of his readers to persuade them. He quotes facts and statistics from reliable institutes or authorities such as, UNICEF, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. According to UNICEF, 8.8 million children under the age of five died from avoidable, poverty-related causes in 2008. Imagine a football stadium filled with 24,000 children dying needlessly every day (192). Although Singer does not use emotional wording, the numbers are alarming enough to arouse reader sympathy. He not only cites statistics, but also uses his own words to elaborate on them. Because the reader may not have a good sense of measurement, Singer uses the analogy of a football stadium filled with children so that his readers can...