Professor David Zarefsky, Ph.D.

Professor David Zarefsky
  • Northwestern University
  • Northwestern University
It’s my belief that the most ethical way to go about influencing other people is through argumentation, which respects their individuality, and respects their freedom, and seeks their free assent.

Dr. David Zarefsky is the Owen L. Coon Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, where he has taught for over 30 years. He earned his B.S., master's degree, and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. From 1988 through 2000, he served as the Dean of the School of Speech.

A nationally recognized authority on rhetoric and forensics, he is a past president of the National Communication Association (NCA) and recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award in 1994 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2001. On no fewer than 13 occasions, his outstanding lecturing skills have been recognized by the inclusion of his name on Northwestern’s Associated Student Government Honor Roll for Teaching.

Dr. Zarefsky has authored five books, edited three more, and published over 50 scholarly articles and reviews. He received the 1986 National Communication Association’s Winans-Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address for his book President Johnson’s War on Poverty: Rhetoric and History and the same award again in 1991 for Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate.

Testimonials

"Dr. Zarefsky's lectures are propelled with vigor and academic passion which assures one of teaching excellence and scholastic know-how."

31 Courses and Sets

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31 Courses and Sets

  1. (Set) Art of Critical Decision Making & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Art of Critical Decision Making & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
    Discover the secrets and skills to becoming successful in two important everyday activities in this engaging and practical two-course set. The Art of Critical Decision Making explores how people and groups make effective choices, and provides you with techniques to enhance the effectiveness of your own decision making. Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition teaches you how to reason, how to...
  2. (Set) Joy of Mathematics & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning  Set

    (Set) Joy of Mathematics & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $429.90 Starting at $429.90 $509.90 $429.90$509.90
    Gain invaluable insights into the practical applications of mathematics and reasoning. In The Joy of Mathematics, discover the utility of this exciting field in everything from science and finance to games of chance. Then, strengthen your ability to successfully argue your views in Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition.
  3. (Set) Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft & Argumentation, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft & Argumentation, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
    Strengthen your ability to write stylistically and argue your views successfully with the guidance of two award-winning professors. In Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft, you gain unique insights into the nature of great writing and learn how to achieve some of that greatness yourself. In Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition, you learn how to reason, how to persuade others...
  4. (Set) Story of Human Language & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning  Set

    (Set) Story of Human Language & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Expand your understanding of human language and the ways you can use it to effectively argue your beliefs. The Story of Human Language charts the exciting development of language from a single tongue to the estimated 6,000 languages used around the world today, while Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition teaches you how to reason, how to persuade others that what you think is right, and how to...
  5. (Set) No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life & Argumentation  Set

    (Set) No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life & Argumentation

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
    Get a closer look at existentialism and its role in the broader area of philosophical argumentation and debate with these two courses. Visit a fascinating school of philosophical thought that examined life's most fundamental questions of individual responsibility, morality, and personal freedom with No Excuses: Existentialism and the Meaning of Life. Then, learn how to reason, how to persuade others that what you...
  6. (Set) Philosophy of Religion & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition  Set

    (Set) Philosophy of Religion & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Philosophy of Religion invites you to explore the questions of divine existence with the tools of epistemology, the branch of philosophy that concerns itself with what we can know. Afterward, strengthen your ability to argue your own views successfully with Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition.
  7. (Set) Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition & Tools of Thinking: Understanding the World Through Experience and Reason  Set on sale

    (Set) Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition & Tools of Thinking: Understanding the World Through Experience and Reason

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Save up to $430.00 Starting at $39.90 $79.90 $39.90$79.90
    How can you most effectively argue your point? How can you best understand the world around you? Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition teaches you how to reason and how to persuade others that what you think is right. Tools of Thinking: Understanding the World through Experience and Reason helps you cut through deception and faulty reasoning to get to the essence of a matter.
  8. (Set) Writing Creative Nonfiction & Argumentation  Set

    (Set) Writing Creative Nonfiction & Argumentation

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
    Take your writing to the next level with this practical two-course set that pays dividends on the page and beyond. Explore the entire process of writing creative nonfiction, from brainstorming for the perfect idea to getting your final product noticed by literary agents and publishers, in Writing Creative Nonfiction. And in Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition, learn how to persuade people...
  9. (Set) The Art of Conflict Management & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning Set

    (Set) The Art of Conflict Management & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $259.90 Starting at $259.90 $509.90 $259.90$509.90
  10. (Set) Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition & Games People Play: Game Theory in Life, Business, and Beyond  Set

    (Set) Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition & Games People Play: Game Theory in Life, Business, and Beyond

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $429.90 Starting at $429.90 $509.90 $429.90$509.90
    Hone your skills of reason and rational decision making in this two-course set that has powerful implications for your personal and professional life. In Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition, you'll learn key insights on how to persuade others that what you think is correct, how to judge and answer the arguments of others, and how others will judge arguments of yours. In Games People Play:...
  11. No Excuses: Existentialism; Th Set

    No Excuses: Existentialism; Th

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,219.65 Starting at $1,219.65 $2,394.65 $1,219.65$2,394.65
    It took 3,000 years for the ideas of Western philosophy to reach maturity. With these seven in-depth courses, however, you can encompass its broad scope in a matter of weeks. Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition focuses on the long intellectual debate about the nature of the self, the authority of experience, the right way to live life, and more, while Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition...
  12. (Set) Art of Public Speaking & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition Set

    (Set) Art of Public Speaking & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $219.90 Starting at $219.90 $454.90 $219.90$454.90
  13. (Set)  The Critical Thinkers Toolkit Set

    (Set) The Critical Thinkers Toolkit

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $1,289.70 Starting at $1,289.70 $1,529.70 $1,289.70$1,529.70
    To be a critical thinker, you have to embrace multiple facets in your approach. Learn how to look at challenges from every fundamental perspective with this comprehensive six-course set including Critical Decision Making and Game Theory. From approaching a conflict to persuasively arguing a point of view, this set will prepare you to think through, and effectively make, good choices.
  14. (Set) Thinking like an Economist: A Guide to Rational Decision Making & Thinking about Capitalism  Set

    (Set) Thinking like an Economist: A Guide to Rational Decision Making & Thinking about Capitalism

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $219.90 Starting at $219.90 $454.90 $219.90$454.90
    Learn new, economics-centered ways to think about decision making and capitalism with this two-course set. First, find out why "thinking like an economist" can give you newfound confidence in a range of financial and personal situations with Thinking like an Economist: A Guide to Rational Decision Making. Then, gain fresh insights into capitalism's history, its proponents and opponents, and its startling impact on...
  15. (Set) Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning  Set

    (Set) Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies & Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $629.90 $329.90$629.90
    Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies takes you to the vibrant heart of 15 of the Bard's most masterful plays, including Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, and King Lear. Afterward, strengthen your own ability to successfully argue your views and ideas in Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition.