A Rhetorical Analysis of “The Death of Honesty” by William Damon

991 Words 4 Pages
In “The Death of Honesty,” William Damon raises the concern that current apathy towards increasing dishonesty threatens democracy. In this essay taken from the online volume “Endangered Virtues ” published by the Hoover Institute in 2012, Damon initially concedes that there are situations where lying could be considered acceptable. However, with that being acknowledged, he transitions to his main premise that honesty is losing its importance in society and will lead to its downfall, and he cites examples in politics, law, journalism, and business in contemporary society where dishonesty is expected, and even, condoned. Damon finally directs his remarks pointedly at teachers and current students who accept cheating in schools. To persuade …show more content…
In “The Death of Honesty,” William Damon raises the concern that current apathy towards increasing dishonesty threatens democracy. In this essay taken from the online volume “Endangered Virtues ” published by the Hoover Institute in 2012, Damon initially concedes that there are situations where lying could be considered acceptable. However, with that being acknowledged, he transitions to his main premise that honesty is losing its importance in society and will lead to its downfall, and he cites examples in politics, law, journalism, and business in contemporary society where dishonesty is expected, and even, condoned. Damon finally directs his remarks pointedly at teachers and current students who accept cheating in schools. To persuade his audience of university students and academic scholars, Damon uses many rhetorical devices and styles including classical logos, pathos, and ethos, and allusions to make an ethical appeal regarding the necessity for honesty. In his essay, Damon utilizes logos in an attempt to convince his audience of the virtue of honesty. Damon acknowledges that lying may be justifiable in certain circumstances in order to avoid greater harm, and is even expected in others, like politics (par. 2, 4). He then takes his stance that “(no) civilization can tolerate…dishonest communication without falling apart,” and that society expects all parties to participate with honest intentions (par. 5). He continues to build on his argument by alluding to
Open Document