Rhetoric Analysis of William Damon's "The Death of Honesty" - Paper Example

Published: 2024-01-15
Rhetoric Analysis of William Damon's "The Death of Honesty" - Paper Example
Type of paper:  Article review
Categories:  Culture Society Writers
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1220 words
11 min read


The article "The Death of Honesty" by William Damon (2) discusses how the world has gradually adopted the culture of dishonesty through rapid evolution. According to him, honesty and trustworthiness lead as the most respected, adored, and coveted virtue a person can hold. It is a virtue that most people boast of possessing during their daily personal and professional relations, although it may not come naturally to every human being. In his article Damon tries to persuade his audience that society is at a critical phase where dishonesty and untrustworthiness are becoming the norm (12). He does this by helping his readers understand the implications that could challenge society if this trend of dishonesty continues. In the beginning, Damon argues that lying may be acceptable in some specific situations if the perceived benefits of the lie outweigh the consequences that could be created by the truth. Through this argument, Damon then shifts to the principle foundation that trustworthiness or honesty is slowly losing its value and significance in the ever-changing modern society. He claims that undermining the importance of honesty in contemporary society will be the lead cause of its downfall (Damon 4). In his work, Damon has applied several rhetorical styles and tools to convince and engage his audience about the need and significance of the virtue of honesty in the current civilization.

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Logos Damon (2012) focuses his view on learning institutions and environments, emphasizing on learners and educators who tolerate cheating and dishonesty in learning. He names several illustrations such as law, journalism, politics, and business, where distrust and dishonesty are extensively allowed and expected in some situations. In his article, Damon has widely employed rhetorical tools like logos, ethos, and pathos to persuade the audience about the significance of honesty.

Throughout the passage, logos have been used sustainably by the author to convince his readers of the vital roles played by honesty in keeping modern society integrated (Koszowy 18). He instructs that no community should, under any circumstances, tolerate dishonesty and lies mainly in communication, and those that condone it are destined to disintegrate.

Hence, the author proposes that every human being should demonstrate truthful statements and intentions to participate in society's wellness. The Roman goddess and the Old Testament illustrations used by Damon demonstrate the significance and value of honesty. Ancient Romans considered honesty as 'the mother of all virtues" while the Old Testament of the Christian Bible 'prohibits against bearing false witness' (Damon 10). According to him, the current business, political, journalistic, and legal stakeholders rarely portray dishonesty in their activities at first, but later goes ahead to regularize dishonest practices and behaviors in their respective sectors. Damon complements his thoughts with a heavy dive into the education sector, where he offers real statistics that describe the cheating catastrophe in pre-college education. These real-life examples of dishonesty disclose Damon's application of emotions and logos to involve his crowd and gain their support.


Furthermore, Damon focuses on ethos to influence his audience to view society and honesty from his standpoint, as well as to maintain his credibility as a renowned writer (Koszowy 20). He uses statistics, illustrations, and quotes from reliable authors, books, and sources to accompany his dishonesty assumptions in modern society. The use of persuasive ethos is apparent when Damon discusses untruthfulness in education institutions by quoting real evidence from researchers. For instance, he quotes evidence that states that over one hundred and sixty educators and their seniors from the majority of schools in the country aided and enabled students to engage in the dishonesty acts of examination cheating (Damon 11). He then says that these dishonest learners and educators try to justify dishonesty by providing unreliable excuses. Some students blame examination dishonesty to challenging assignments and examinations, while teachers cited a culture of intimidation and fear being the factor that is holding them from speaking out (Damon, 10). The author uses these examples and statistics to allow readers to observe and understand how the culture of dishonesty is becoming institutionalized and normalized from the grassroots. Given the level of evidence used in the article to support the presented presumptions, it appears that Damon has a considerable amount of knowledge in the field.

Throughout his work, Damon employs an intrinsic approach to engage both his readers' conscience and minds. His word selection is smart and strategic in what seems to be an approach of painting himself as an authentic author with the required authority to discuss dishonesty in the contemporary world (Damon 12). The author discusses the fraudulent culture encroaching education institutions where tutors are intimidated for revealing deceit in the field. Through this illustration, Damon tries to put across how people are gradually adopting the idea that success is achieved via collective dishonesty. The author directs his content to a precise demographic that he reveals through publications and the issue. Also, Damon's tone and language are not only pleasing but also convincing, which is a direct result of his substantial academic background. Damon's choice of examples and illusions establish remarkable and factual arguments that entice his audience's interests.


Lastly, Damon employs pathos to arouse his audience's emotions in his quest to establish his foundation in work (Oeppen Hill 99). The use of pathos is proved by his use of historical and statistical evidence to persuade and educate the consequences of dishonesty in contemporary societies. His arguments suggest that some careers and fields must include high levels of integrity to ensure success. For example, political leaders are expected to ensure that truth and integrity are always incorporated in governance among all societal issues.

However, the author believes that George Orwell's argument regarding politics is intended to pervert, relax, and hide some degree of reality (Damon 12). Damon's view indicates how dishonesty has dominated the political arena, where lies and deceit are seen as a necessity for both survival and success. He says that politicians' language is always dominated and flawed with truth misrepresentations regardless of which political ideology one follows. From conservatives to anarchists, all political figures are guilty of selling truth misrepresentation to society. Damon's application of pathos to convince and attract support is seen when he quotes the Bible's Old Testament. Confucians also believe that integrity is the key to justice, communication, and life in society (Damon 12). It represents the value of honesty and integrity in human relations.


Honesty, therefore, is a critical part of human society, although individuals have a lot to learn about trustworthiness. Integrity and honesty virtues are at the center of a well-functioning community as they encourage peaceful living and endurance, and their absence will result in the everyday struggle for coexistence. The author employs many models to convince his readers into understanding the implications of dishonesty and how to differentiate truth from deceit. He applies rhetoric tools to back his premise about the societal impacts of impunity and deception.

Works Cited

Damon, William. The Death of Honesty. Hoover Press, 2012. www.hoover.org/research/death-honesty

Koszowy, Marcin. "Should logos be opposed to ethos? Commentary on Adelino Cattani's 'Persuading and convincing.'" (2020) scholar.uwindsor.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2595&context=ossaarchive

Oeppen Hill, J. H. (2020). Logos, ethos, pathos, and the marketing of higher education. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 30(1), 87-104. www.researchgate.net/profile/Jemma_Oeppen_Hill/publication/337160418_Logos_ethos_pathos_and_the_marketing_of_higher_education/links/5dc9b779458515143503bacb/Logos-ethos-pathos-and-the-marketing-of-higher-education.pdf

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