Environmentalism, Albert Gore, Inconvenient truth, Green movement, Kairos (The Greek word), Rhetoric, Science, Writing
Modern Americans are exposed to scientific and technical information on a daily basis that urges them to react as well as learn about new ideas. The popular science writing that circulates this information must be portrayed in a way that makes it easy for lay people to understand complicated ideas while at the same time remaining complex enough to convince readers that the information is reliable, accurate, and worth learning. In making decisions about how to accomplish this balancing act, science writers make decisions that influence the audience's opinion about new scientific ideas, how easily the audience will accept or reject these ideas, and how the audience will react to the new information. In order to be as influential as possible on their audience, science writers must take full advantage of rhetorical kairos, or opportune timing. For this, they must keep in mind not only the chronological time and physical space, but issues including political maneuverings, society's morals, popular culture, and a myriad of other considerations. Any text must be influenced by the kairos that exists both before the text is created and during the presentation. In addition, each text helps create a new kairos for texts that come after. This is especially true in the field of popular science writing. Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is a useful text for analysis of this process, as he portrays scientific information to a lay audience in order to promote acceptance of a controversial idea and to encourage action based on that acceptance. Because he is working on a delicate topic for the time, Gore had to rely heavily on the kairos of the moments before and during his presentations, and he created a fertile kairos for continuation of the environmental discussion.
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Applen, J. D.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Glasshoff, Carolyn M., "Gore's Science The Kairos Of An Inconvenient Truth And The Implications For Science Writing" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1929.