In the article, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” by Andrew B. Myers, the changing climate of university campuses is discussed in regards to the larger student body and their efforts to remove perceived offensives on a number of topics and issues. Throughout this article, ethos, logos, and pathos are all incorporated in the formation of this argument. In “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Andrew B. Myers, ethos, logos, and pathos are utilized to make the argument that perhaps students are being too shielded from the reality and pressures of the real world.
The concept of ethos is determined by how well an argument is made based on its credibility and perceived expertise. Ethos seems to be a firm component in this article, as the author establishes his credibility through a number of incorporated sources, interviews, and evidence from the field of psychology. It appears that the author is indeed an expert on this subject, as the vast number of examples used to illustrate concepts helps the reader to better understand the argument being made. For example, Myers helps to elucidate microaggression on campuses through the example of the Asian American student association. In this event, certain labels and stereotypes that often depict Asians, such as the labeling of them being good at math, offended students of this group at a university. To counteract this, there was an installation implemented in one of the halls at the school, warning about this type of microaggression. Ironically, this offended other Asian students and, consequently, the installation was removed. Myers’ use of this example, along with others throughout the article, helps to provide additional information that firmly establishes ethos from the start of this discussion.
Logos is another significant component of this article, as the author uses a number of methods of reasoning to effectively persuade the reader to understand the argument being made. The author explores history to try to explain to the reader how campuses became so protective of their students and determining what selective information was taught. For example, he attributes this to recent changes in the interpretation of particular antidiscrimination measures, as well as the evolving experiences of peoples’ childhoods.
The Baby Boomers used to be less monitored growing up, and were able to play unattended. Now, “free range” childhood no longer exists, thanks to an increase in crime levels. Consequently, this led to more and more measures being implemented that thus insulated children and young adults from experiencing the harsh realities of the real world. In this way, the author is able to effectively provide concrete evidence to make valid and persuasive claims to the reader.
Additionally, logos can be illustrated through other pieces of evidence the author provides, such as the augmenting definition of what sexual harassment means today. The author makes the conclusion that college campuses and faculty are now teaching their students to employ their emotions as “weapons,” thereby promoting academia as a place for students to demonstrate hypersensitivity that undermines what learning actually is. Now, teachers must be wary of presenting provocative or stressful content in their lectures and classes, as students may be easily offended by it. It is also allowing students to now dictate what is taught in the classroom, rather than the teachers, as student must deem the content as acceptable. In this way, logos is constantly used throughout this article as the author persuasively provides much evidence on his argument.
Lastly, pathos is also a significant part of this argument. Pathos relies on appealing emotionally to the reader. This can firstly be demonstrated by the discussion on “emotional reasoning”: a phenomenon that is occurring more and more on college campuses. The author defines emotional reasoning as the way in which people process their more negative emotions. This means that if one feels negatively charged about a particular topic, then that feeling they have must be correct and be seen as guidance. Unfortunately, this has engendered an increased amount of people that feel offended by others’ comments and actions on campus. These “hypersensitive” students are basically allowing their emotional reasoning to command the various situations that may be deemed as offensive for some select students.
The author further explores this concept of “offensive,” suggesting that it takes away students’ capabilities of speaking freely. Additionally, it implicates the fact that whoever has offended, has done something very wrong. This calls for the situation to be righted, meaning they must be punished for being offensive. Emotional reasoning is more common than one thinks, as shown in this article. Often, academic debates or conversations are ended simply because one is offended by another. As a result, the component of ethos is quite strong in this argument, because it appeals emotionally to the reader through this discussion on emotional reasoning.
The author in this article presents a very persuasive argument on this issue, I believe, and incorporates ethos, logos, and pathos effectively. He provides concepts and terms, and then illustrates them with examples. Additionally, he also provides opposing sides to the argument to provide further evidence to his claims. He establishes credibility through his expertise on this subject, appeals emotionally to the reader, and also persuasively makes his claims. In this way, all three components of ethos, logos, and pathos are used powerfully in this article to make a convincing argument.