Visual Arguments

Arguments are encountered on a daily life in an individual’s life. They range from persuasion to accept tangible items like goods on sale to being convinced to believe in certain personal ideologies and positions. Although arguments are part of our lives, a number of people do not clearly understand the meaning of visual arguments and the power they hold compared to non visual arguments. This paper gives an overview of visual arguments with emphasis on what they are and the influence they have in our daily communication encounters. Visual arguments are described as arguments which mainly communicated through images. These arguments can be analyzed and well comprehended by focusing on their standard composition. For instance, visual arguments can be analyzed and well understood from a pathos, logos and ethos point of view (Birdsell and Groarke).

Visual arguments play a significant role in many real life arguments because of various reasons. It is clear that more often than not, they provide plethora visible and some times tangible evidence which is necessary in a given argument. They are in some cases considered to have rhetorical advantage over visual arguments with the ability to persuade than mere words. A good example of how visual arguments influence discussions can be drawn from two cases involving the oral description of a horrible event and watching the same even on a video. Video images are more likely to be captivating and impacting than oral description. They make it possible for a person to see the argument from a real point of view unlike in verbal arguments where understanding solely depends on imagination. Unlike verbal arguments, visual arguments mainly contain visual components like pictures with incorporation of some verbal elements. Many people find it necessary to combine several ideas in conveying ideas to the audience (Birdsell and Groarke). This approach is common among authors whose target is usually the entire spectra of readers.

One of the major obstacles encountered in the understanding of communication through images has been the traditional meaning and implication of some images. Some people argue that an image can not in any way be used to assert particular information because of their vague nature. They are also seen to be ambiguous in functioning like propositions (Birdsell and Groarke). It is further argued that they cannot be used in negation of situations. However, regardless of these view points, visual arguments are quite significant and their power in communication can not underestimated under whichever circumstances. However, a standard visual argument has to obey three principles of visual communication to convey the message it carries in an argumentative manner. The first principle requires that a visual argument should be comprehensible and not abstract. Its interpretation should also make sense especially with reference to its major components. Lastly, its interpretation must demonstrate relevance in the context in which it is used.



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