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Rhetoric of Western Thought

Test #3
• Art, invention, discovery and wealth engendered a questioning of the need for a domineering church and put its version of "Truth"in doubt.
• By 1405 Venice had become an area power--this is what Europe needed, especially with the fall of Constantinople in 1453
• While prosperous Venice took advantage of new technologies.
• Gutenberg press (1456)
• When Gutenberg printed 200 Bibles there were only 30,000 books in all of Europe., by 1500 almost 9 million.
• The New Academy of Venice became a virtual publishing house of Greek texts.
Florence and the Practice of Rhetoric
While making Florence the center of capital for Europe, the families of bankers and merchants encouraged artists and guilds, and reformed their government.
• Ruled by the Medici's 1434-1494
• It took many of the scholars who fled Byzantium when it fell to the Turks in 1453
• Many artists (sculptors, painters, etc) were in Florence and shocked the world by liberating the human form from its Medieval (symbolic and saintly) wrapping and began presenting the conceptions of the perfect human body.
• One of the most important contributions of the Renaissance was to enliven and reify the life of Christ and his contemporaries by painting them as real people instead of flat, lifeless caricatures.
Savonarola (1452-1498)
The security of the citizens of the city-states led to new calls for nationhood, freethinking, riots, and a rebirth of public address, some of which would shake the foundations of the church.
• Grolamo Savonarola was a Dominican friar who used rhetoric to bring down the Medici's
• He was appalled that in its attempt to imitate Athens, Florence tolerated discreet homosexual activity.
• He built a following of born-again youths
• His sermons called for a new "puritanism" and presaged some of Martin Luther's arguments by nineteen years.
• In 1497 he began to overstep his authority; declared himself dictator of Florence and led a children's crusade to collect all "vanities" including important manuscripts of the pagan ancients along with more contemporary paintings to be burned.
• Excommunicated and condemned for heresy he was hanged and then burned where "vanities" had burned, May 1498.
• The flowering of rhetoric had strong roots
DANTE and the Rise of the Vernacular
Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch wrote stories of contemporary humans in the vernacular of Tuscany.
• Wrote The Divine Comedy
• Was a true renaissance who wrote in the vernacular
• Was involved in politics
• Wrote a book on grammar that claimed that we learn by "imitation" and that language was humanistic and ever evolving.
• A semioticist, he believed that signs have the capacity to signify thoughts.
Francesco Petrarch (Priest and a humanist)
• Wrote his De Contemptu Mundi in the vernacular
• Was a skeptic
• Was a humanist
• He despised the corruption in the church
• He attacked the pope's palace in Avignon as "hell on earth...the sewer of the world."
• Such talk spread the seeds of reform and heresy across Italy.
Giovani Boccaccio wrote the Decameron in which monks and priests are ridiculed.
Wrote about the power of rhetoric in politics
Neither a humanist nor a scholastic

Used Aristotle's empirical method to examine practices in governance and wrote about them in The Prince.
• Argued that rulers needed to establish and/or reinforce leadership, religion, and patriotism.
• He outlined many tactics, many were rhetorical, for achieving his goals.
• His low opinion of human nature, led him to conclude that rulers had the right to maintain control by deception
• The ends justify the means and one of the most potent means was rhetoric. (thus condemned as a manipulator)
• However, his theory of rhetoric sought to reestablish Cicero's sense of virtu, the ability to rule pragmatically, prudently, and effectively using public address
• He designated 3 categories for building credibility
1. Ancestors and good parentage--derived from Cicero's gravitas
2. Associations--based on the assumption that good people attract one another; you can judge persons by the company they keep
3. Deeds of the Speaker--like Aristotle's ethos, demonstrating that one is in the habit of doing good is important.
• Wrote about how the virtues of the public were easily corrupted to serve the purposes of a prince
Most important rhetorical theorist who stayed in the Rm. Catholic church.
Came to regret the decision because of the limits it placed on his writing
• His first work; commented on various fables and tried to advance Christian virtues through them
• First humanist to make a living of his writings.
In Praise of Folly 1511
• His most famous work
*Around same time began to criticize his friend Luther for his religious dogmatism concerning the role of God in the act of salvation
• The Freedom of the Will
• He preferred Aquinas's free will to Augustine's predestination
*His most important work for rhetorical theory was De Copia Rerum Et Verborum (On Fullness of Expression), which drew heavily on Quintilian, suggested rhetoric should enrich content as well as expression. Erasmus' reliance on humanistic instead of religious truths caused him to be condemned and his books deemed forbidden reading.
RAMUS (1515-1572)
Least charitable to rhetoric
Culmination of the scholastic attack on rhetoric when he separated invention, arrangement, and memory for his understanding of logic (derived from Agricola)
Rhetoric was relegated to
• Embellishment through expression (including the tropes and figures)
• Voice and gesture
He attacked Aristotle for his practical reasoning, Cicero and Quintilian for confusing dialectic and rhetoric.
He was a French Huguenot (Calvinistic Protestant) and his ideas were adapted by the Calvinists, passed on to the English Puritans, and eventually came to America where it dominated the early Harvard curriculum.
Earlier influences on the protestant reformation:
• Jerome of Prague
• John Huss 100 years before Luther; he was wrongfully condemned and burned at the stake.
• Johannes Eckhart (German mystic); all humans have souls that can put them in touch with God. C. Smith "This is not a far leap from this position to arguing that every person can be his/her own priest." [Huh?? Basis for this?]
"Sola Gratia" - by Grace alone
"Sola Fide"- by Faith alone
"Sola Christus" - by Christ alone
"Sola Scriptura" - by Scripture alone
"Sola Deo Gloria" - for God's Glory alone
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1543)
Augustinian Monk from Wittenberg, Germany
Steeped in Augustinian Christianity and Aristotelian rhetoric, ethics, and logic; admired Cicero's morals. His ascetic life made him a keen observer of the luxuries of the Vatican when he visited Rome in 1510 at the age of 31. At age 37, on October 31, 1517 he began his revolt by tacking his 95 theses to the front door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Saxony.
Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)
• Former Catholic priest who led a revolt in Switzerland
• A humanist who had great respect for Erasmus who was 20 years older than he
• Began reform in 1519—two years after Luther
• Disagreed with Luther about many things, most significantly about communion—it was neither transubstantiation nor consubstantiation but a symbolic representation of Christ's blood and body.
John Calvin (Jean Cauvin) 1509-1564
• Worked among the French Swiss of Geneva
• Became the basis for Presbyterian denominations
• Highly influential work was Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536) that had a significant affect on the Puritans and on the religious assumptions, especially Covenantal Theology, for those who came to the United States. His works were the basis for the founders of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale as seminaries.
• Thoroughly grounded in works of Augustine and the classical Greeks and Romans regarding rhetoric—trained as a lawyer and as a theologian.
• Argued against the dogma of Roman Catholicism and the Aristotelian basis for Aquinas's theology.
Significance of rhetoric was raised as more people entered into religious debates with the Roman Catholic church and with each other about religious truth and heresy. The church responded in several ways to the reformation.
English tensions between kings of England and their nobles (often religious tensions) led to the rise of the Magna Carta and the parliamentary form of government—encouraged a polished public speaker/persuader.
• Originated with Apthonius of Antioch in AD 375
• Published in Venice in 1508
• Imitated by Richard Rainolde in his Foundacion of Rhetorike, 1563.
• Leonard Cox, influenced by Melanchthon, wrote The Arte or Crafte of Rhetoryke in 1530
• Thomas Wilson, The Rule of Reason, first book on logic in English; reworked topics by Agricola. Also wrote, The Arte of Rhetorique (1553) that brought al five classical canons into the English language for the first time—privileged invention and arrangement over style, delivery, or memory.
Neoclassical period in England
• Revived Horace in poetry and literature
• Revived Cicero and Quintilian in rhetoric
• King James version of Bible written
• Thomas Hobbes sets out to undermine Descartes claims by arguing, "Because I dream, I may not exist" and trying to establish a basis for skepticism.
George Campbell
I. Biography dates (1719-1796)
A. British, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Educational administrator, Theologian, Taught at Marishal College.
II. Three great interests
A. Theology, Philosophy, Rhetoric
III. Influenced by
A. Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, Ad Herrenium, On the Sublime, Bacon, Locke, Hume, his teacher
IV. Kennedy says the purpose of Campbell's rhetoric is to think out a new theory of rhetoric on the basis of the British empiricist philosophers.
George Campbell
A. 1776 is his principal work on rhetoric.
B. Deals with two questions
1. Question 1--ontology--What is the nature of external objects?
2. Question 2--epistemology--What processes do we use to acquaint ourselves with those external objects?
Campbell's faculty psychology
a) Understanding
1) appealed to by explanation and proof
2) Language should be perspicuous
b) Imaginations
1) "that faculty of mind, whereby it is capable of conceiving and combining things together, which in that combination have neither been perceived by the senses, nor are remembered."
2) appealed to by fables, parables, allegories, poetry, narration.
3) Langauge should be vivd and impelling.
c) Passions
1) appealed to by association of images
2) appealling to the will is the most difficult.
3) appealed to by strong arguments that convince the judgments and emotional appeals to the passions.
d) Conviction operates on the understanding; persuasion on the will--conviction persuasion duality.
e) These form a hierarchy with understanding the simplest and will the most complex.
Campbell on ETHOS
1. A preacher trebles his effectiveness when he practices what he preaches.
2. Campbell agreed with Quintilian's good man theory, but said that character is more important than intelligence.
3. Doctrine of sympathy.
a) An important aspect of Campbell's idea of ethos.
b) From Cicero, Hume, Adam Smith
4. Genuine sympathy between the communicator and the listener can only exist when trust is present.
5. It is for this reason that the speaker who demonstrates sincerity and good will has the best chance to create a bond with his audience, and thereby establish the necessary interaction that leads to the influencing of the will.
Campbell on PATHOS
a) Accepted Locke's dichotomy of the passions--pleasure and pain. Pain cuts through more than pleasure
b) Passions are at the heart of rhetoric.
1) Passions--love, joy, hope, pride, etc.--are subject to the laws of association
2) Passions tend to cluster--associate. attract one another
3) Hatred, grief, shame, anger also cluster.
c) Thus Campbell conjoins faculty psychology with assosicationist psychology.
d) We persuade when we can exploit these associations.
1) association is central to Campbell's doctrine
2) vivacity--those ideas which are immediate/present are the most vivacious.
3) sense impressions
4) imagery
5) imagination
Campbell on LOGOS
On logos, Campbell departed from the classics and embraced the ideas of the new science.
George Campbell
N. Summary--Campbell treated rhetoric philosophically. He looked at epistemology(faculty psychology).
1. He was aware of our sense perceptions and ideas
2. Associationist--invoked faculty psychology
3. Vivacity---the lively idea. We move audiences by moving their psychology
Belles Lettres Major figure: Hugh Blair (1718-1800)
6) Scottish Teacher and Scottish Presbyterian preacher
7) Listened to Adam Smith's lectures
8) Held chair of rhetoric at University of Edinburgh.
9) His lecture series on rhetoric was widely translated—his ideas were popular because:
4) They were well written
5) They provided a concise explanation of many subjects for students with poor educational backgrounds
6) He had a direct and accessible style
7) His eclecticism covered all important aspects of the topic
8) He used the ancients
9) He used moderns
10) Conviction/persuasion duality comes from faculty psychology
11) Rejection of the commonplaces and acceptance of the managerial function of rhetoric come from contemporary theories of logic
12) His critical theories reflects rationalism, romanticism, neoclassicism, and common sense philosophy
13) He was innovative, even though he synthesized ideas
14) Added criticism
15) Principles of criticism integrated into rhetorical theory
16) Therefore, rhetoric is an eclectic art
Belles Lettres Major figure: Hugh Blair (1718-1800)
Definition of rhetoric—"True eloquence is the art of placing the truth in its most advantageous light for conviction and persuasion."
Belles Lettres Major figure: Hugh Blair (1718-1800)
Blair accounts for disagreement among people by that we use reason to find out which is better; ultimately "his taste must be esteemed just and true, which coincides with the general sentiments of men." quoted in, p. 146
Belles Lettres Major figure: Hugh Blair (1718-1800)
Solution—Blair takes a modern view similar to Locke, "reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions"—our emotions control us. [Kaminski note—this seems reversed and bears explanation] [Kaminski note—RWT attributes this statement to Hume. p. 139]
Richard Whately (1787-1863)
A. Ordained Minister-Anglican
B. Trained in and taught rhetoric
1. Rhetoric is: "the art of influencing the will" to produce conviction in an audience
Richard Whately (1787-1863)
II. Rhetorical Ideas
A. Elements of Logic (1826)
1. Expanded Roman notion of onus probandi, "burden of proof." 2. Burden of proof with the prosecution (Anglo-American jurisprudence) 3. Presumption (assumption of innocence) is with the accused
a. presumed innocent until proven guilty
b. unless prosecution presents a case that appears to prove guilt—then the defense must prove innocence (and has the burden of proof).
4. In real life, presumption is determined by the audience
a. Church audience—may or may not accept the presumption of the existence of God.
b. A minister would do well to not assume all accept this assumption—preacher has the "burden of proof."
5. Presumption is a rhetorical matter (involved logos, pathos, and ethos)
René Descartes (1596-1650)
1. Born of French nobleman, educated by Jesuits
2. Became one of the most famous mathematicians of the century
3. November 10, 1619 had a vision of an "angel of truth" who told him that mathematics was the proper method for the study of natural phenomena
a) Jacques Maritain,
1) The Dream of Descartes
2) Says that Descartes had a vision of an angel who told him to embark on a science that would improve mankind.
3) Thus the mission of objective science had its birth in a heavenly vision.
b) The seduction of certainty is prevalent today
Giambatista Vico (1668-1744)
A. Believed Descartes system too narrow
B. Humans Needed Imagination
i. A Humanistic Imagination was essential to the task of interpretation
ii. Imagination could be developed by examining myths and fables—the openings to the origins of civilization.
1. Parola: words that clearly interpret reality; speken by the ancient poets who told the stories of the gods and heroes of previous ages.
2. Favola: Came from parola; the true fables
3. Allegoria: true allegories; came from favola
iii. Universal Imagination: a collective knowledge; composed of the myths and stories that can be reduced to an "imaginative metaphysics" through the proper use of rhetorical analysis.
iv. The object of philosophy is speculation about history because humans create history but do not create nature.
v. Saw rhetoric and natural religion as major foundations of society
vi. Humans are more rhetorical than logical and more religious than scientific
Epistemology in Great Britain
These theorists are called epistemologists because they were concerned with human knowledge. They had a psychological/epistemological approach to rhetoric.
III. A comprehensive epistemology seeks to answer certain questions:
G. What is knowledge?
H. What are the limits of human knowledge?
I. What are the criteria of human knowledge?
J. This leads to a comprehensive psychological theory—if you know how people think, you know how to influence them
Frances Bacon
"The duty and office of rhetoric is to apply reason to the imagination for the better moving of the will."
John Locke
He conceived of a rhetoric that fulfilled three functions: (quoted in Kennedy, p. 227) "First, to make known one man's thought or ideas to another. Second, to do it with as much ease and quickness as is possible; Thirdly, thereby to convey the knowledge of things
c) Locke argued that an object has primary properties that all people perceive the same
d) Secondary properties are those that are subjective and that change from person to person
John Stuart Mill 1806-1903
1. English Philosopher and Economist
2. Concerned with the advance of knowledge esp. as it would promote individual happiness.
3. On Liberty
John Stuart Mill
a) The unhampered exchange of ideas through discussion and debate is central to the preservation of individual freedoms
b) Any topic should be allowed to be discussed and argued.
c) Drew from Aristotle
d) Contained many of the best observations of the ancients on human nature and life
e) Did not agree that good will win out over evil
f) Those for the good must be better equipped than the proponents of evil
g) Doctrine of assurance
h) Criteria for which discussion should proceed in a free society
i) Grounded in probability
j) There is no such thing as certainty in areas of human conduct
k) We can generate probability
l) p. 16 in Hikins' essay Mill quote.
m) Principles
n) Free access for countervailing opinions
o) Defense against competing rationales;
p) We have a moral obligation to meet opposing views with good arguments.
q) Correction and completion of one's opinions
r) If I find an error exposed through debate, I have an obligation to change it.
David Hume (1711-1776)
Scottish—like Campbell and Blair. Scotland was intellectually vital at this time. Hume was part of the Scottish school of philosophy.
ii. Edinburgh--Athens of the North
1. Thomas Reid--philosophy
2. William Robertson--history
3. Adam Smith--political economy
4. Robert Burns--poetry
5. Sir Joshua Reynolds--art
i. A Treatise on Human Nature1739
ii. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
iii. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
Existential Revolt Against Modernists
Existentialists argued that reality evades definitive and often adequate explanation; however, such uncertainty gives one freedom of choice. Uncertainty sustains the need for rhetoric both as a discourse that can make the unclear lucid and as a form of communication that can make sense of the world.
MODERNIST POSITION: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
1. Invented the term Enlightenment; "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance."
2. Mixed view of rhetoric: "Force and elegance of speech, which together constitute rhetoric, belong to fine art; but oratory, being the art of playing for one's own purpose upon the weaknesses of men, no matter how noble the purpose, merits no respect whatever." (Cite?)
3. Kant: sought to uncover the universal morality that God had provided to humans--by reason alone. Book: Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone--a refutation of Luther's famous phrase of "justification by faith alone."
MODERNIST POSITION: B. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)
1. Science of Logic, In the Introduction he claims that logic was the reflection of God before the creation of nature.
2. Both Hegel and Kant believe that you can determine the truth and achieve your highest aim through rational mental processes.
3. Hegel believed freedom is the ultimate good and claimed that one can get to it by using reason alone
4. Hegel applied Aristotle's dialectic approach to history to demonstrate that it is driven by the clash of thesis and anti-thesis that results in a new synthesis that preserves the best elements of the thesis and anti-thesis
Existential Objections: Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
"All essential knowledge relates to existence"
a) University of Copenhagen
b) A contemporary of Hagel—attempted to refute his dialectical certitude and theory of historic progress.
c) His call for an authentic Christianity got him branded a heretic and a fanatic
d) Ridiculed in his own time but better accepted after 2 world wars undermined the optimism of modernism
2. Quest for the transcendent; 2 definitions
a) To rise above—to transcend
b) Spirit: allows access to God
c) The existential path to authenticity exists through three stages or "moods" of life. While the end goal of existentialism is self-affirming and spiritual, the path to that goal is often dark and troubling.
Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
1. Persons are "condemned to freedom;" Consciousness "is free by virtue of being aware of its possibilities, of what it lacks, or of its privations."
2. Importance of creative use of language: If self-persuasion is powerful enough to be used for inauthentic purposes, self-deception, then it could also be used to embrace freedom, discover the self, and remake existence.
3. Well-known injunction "Existence precedes essence"—self comes before anything masks it. Essence refers to the historic fragrances that arise from the qualities a person is assigned by society. Existentialists seek to break through these undifferentiated perceptions by dispelling the "assigned essences" and allowing the individual being to emerge.
4. Freedom overwhelms the individual with choices, which leads to a crisis.
c) We have no choice to decide and "nothing can be good for us without being good for all."