Reason: Choice and Judgement

  • Robert Cockcroft
  • Susan M. Cockcroft


We now come to the moment of truth in our study of the sources of persuasive language. How will the audience (or indeed the persuader) judge the persuasion? Judgement will certainly be exercised at both ends of our familiar diagram (Sender > Message > Receiver). The persuader as Sender will judge stance, emotional engagement and choice of argument before beginning the persuasion, having assessed the audience. In spoken persuasion it will be possible to monitor the audience response and adapt techniques accordingly. In written persuasion, however, final judgements have to be made before the book is published, the essay handed in, or the advertisement printed.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    As seen on archive film in Ludovic Kennedy’s programme ‘The Gift of the Gab’, BBC 2, 15 August 1989.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Thomas Wilson, Arte of Rhetorique, 1560, Tudor and Stuart Library (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1909) p. 87.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    In H. Gardner and T. Healy (eds), John Donne: Selected Prose, chosen by Evelyn Simpson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967) p. 390.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life, Fontana Books (London: Collins, 1959) pp. 109–10.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Jonathan Raban, God, Man & Mrs Thatcher, Chatto Counter Blasts No. I (London: Chatte & Windus, 1989) pp. 12, 42–3.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    See for example A. A. Luce (Chapter 3, n. 3, above) and Alec Fisher, The Logic of Real Argument (Cambridge, 1988).Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. G. Bull (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1961). See for example Ch. VII on ‘New principalities acquired with the help of fortune and foreign arms’, which generalises from the successful ruthlessness of Cesare Borgia.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    In Christopher Hill (ed.), Winstanley: The Law of Freedom and Other Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973) pp. 283–4.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    See J. B. Steane (ed.), Christopher Marlowe: the Complete Plays (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969) p. 274. All further quotations from Marlowe relate to this edition.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert Cockcroft and Susan M. Cockcroft 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Cockcroft
    • 1
  • Susan M. Cockcroft
    • 2
  1. 1.University of NottinghamUK
  2. 2.Derby Tertiary CollegeMackworthUK

Personalised recommendations