Computers and the Pursuit of Happiness

896 Words4 Pages
Rhetorical Analysis on “Computers and the Pursuit of Happiness” Identifying the Author’s Intended Audience and Main Theme: In Computers and the Pursuit of Happiness, Gelernter argues that the so called “information age” or the”computer revolution” is more hype than reality. His intended audience is obviously anybody who has already accepted the premise that computerization has truly changed society as much as is often claimed or implied. To further his arguments, Gelernter relies mainly on logical arguments (logos) that are not particularly convincing beyond the surface; at worst, some of them are circular and self contradictory. The author also attempts to present an emotional appeal (pathos) that is even less convincing and supported only by assumptions and purely subjective definitions. About the most respectable aspect of the article is that the author does not attempt to make any ethical claims (ethos) against the largely correct observation that computers and digital information have indeed transformed much of human society. In fact, if anything, the ethical perspective might be among the strongest arguments against the author’s premise. The author’s first logical argument is that the notion of an “information age” is an inaccurate characterization simply because information can never replace “stuff.” Similarly, the author explicitly rejects what he claims are the three main arguments for the characterization of computers as giving rise to a new age by virtue of (1) their capacity to create, store, and deliver information; (2) to overcome geographic distance; and (3) to act intelligently. With respect to the first two, the author is clearly wrong, because the capacity of computers to create, store, and deliver information has revolutionized everything from advertising and supply chain management to social networking, dating, and warfare. With
Open Document