Aspects of visual argument: A study of the March of Progress

Cameron Shelley


The so-called March of Progress depicts human evolution as a linear progression from mohkey to man. Shelley (1996) analyzed this image as a visual argument proceeding through "rhetorical" and "demonstrative" modes of visual logic. In this paper, I confirm and extend this view of visual logic by examining variations of the original March image. These variations show that each mode of visual logic can be altered or
isolated in support of new conclusions. Furthermore, the March can be included in a visual "frame" to produce new arguments, much as a verbal argument can be made a component of a new and larger argument.


anthropology, demonstrative mode of visual argument, evolution, frame, March of Progress, rhetorical mode of visual argument, visual argument, visual imagery

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ISSN: 0824-2577