John Ruskin, an English critic of art and society, wrote a passage arguing that we should be giving precedence to the soldier rather than to the merchant or manufacturer. In today’s world many people debate about who deserves to be emphasized in society. Ruskin’s argument is invalid because of his use of generalization, false dilemma, pathos and charged language. He uses a black and white statement to show the difference between soldier and manufacturer and generalization to make it seem as though all soldiers participate for the same reason. The use of pathos and charged language really plays with the reader’s emotions.
In Ruskin’s passage he argues that the soldier should be more respected and considered more important than a merchant or manufacturer. Ruskin, directing his passage to the general society, says a soldier would “put him in a fortress breach, with all the pleasures of the world behind him, and only death and his duty in front of him.” This statement, very generalized, uses the logical fallacy of generalization. In this statement John Ruskin describes all the soldiers together as one, instead of individually. Just because all soldiers participate in war, does not mean they all are in favor of death, or dying for their country. For example a man could have joined war and become a soldier because he didn’t have any skills or simply because he enjoys the act of killing, not because he wants to fight for his country. Ruskin, using pathos, says that soldiers give up “pleasures of the world” and put their “duty in front.” In this quote Ruskin uses charged words to emotionally involve you. Duty is a strong word that many of us take as another word for responsibility. In some perspectives duty is seen as a law; one must uphold a moral or legal obligation. Putting death before pleasure makes the reader feel obligated to respond with sympathy. Not only does John Ruskin play on our emotions and guilt us into making soldiers seem more important, he makes a...
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