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Terms in this set (12)

Plato argues that rhetoric is merely a useful craft that deals only in the subjective and material world rather than in the pursuit of true knowledge.

"Truth" lays in an abstract "Ideal". We can apply the fundamental principles of mathematical proofs to locate to the True form of these transcendent truths or Ideals

The natural world we perceive through our senses (see, hear, touch etc.) reveals only a fallen, shadow, incomplete versions of this Ideal Truth.

The true "Forms" of natural things or of concepts exist in the way that mathematical truths or forms exist.

All the other arts, including poetry and argumentation, only confuse us more, tricking us into believing false visions of Truth (example: we mistake what we see on the television for reality; a cunning lawyer can trick a stupid jury into believing the guilty innocent).

BUTTTTT ARISTOTLES SAYS
Through the systematic observation and analysis (breaking down and classification) of the natural world, in combination with rigorous logic we can make True statements about the natural world and understand:

1) The nature of essences (what something is)

2) The nature of causes (why things occur)

Unlike Plato, Aristotle also believes that the other arts are very useful for helping us understand things. Relevant to our course is that he believes argument -- or dialectic -- is a key ingredient for people reaching understandings: by arguing over issues the truth and falsity of the claims becomes increasingly apparent, where Plato might have believed that honing such rhetorical arts only confuses the matter.

(example: even though tv isn't reality, it helps us understand our own emotions; juries should be smart enough to differentiate between which lawyer is telling the truth)
believed that concepts had a universal form, an ideal form, which leads to his idealistic philosophy. Aristotle believed that universal forms were not necessarily attached to each object or concept, and that each instance of an object or a concept had to be analyzed on its own. This viewpoint leads to Aristotelian Empiricism.

In logic, Plato was more inclined to use inductive reasoning, whereas Aristotle used deductive reasoning.
He believes that "the foundation of eloquence, as of everything, is wisdom" and that the study of eloquence and the ability to persuade is the basis of the formation of culture (339).

In "De Orator," though Cicero praises the wisdom of the Greek philosophers, especially Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, he also criticizes the separation of philosophy and rhetoric, as well as the lowered status of rhetoric within these philosophies of Greece.

By erasing or ignoring the ways that Aristotle and Plato looked down upon oratory, Cicero attempts to elevate it to a higher status, working perhaps upon his own experiences of rising to the top of Roman culture because of his oratory prowess, despite not being born into the highest elite class. In addition, it may be a means of justifying this rise and legitimizing his elevated status within Roman society, despite his birth into a lower class. This class difference is apparent in Cicero's writing, in that he does not uphold the same bias against the practice of rhetoric described by Plato and Aristotle. Cicero actually used rhetoric in his everyday life and is discussing the practice of it, rather than only addressing its abstract study and theory.

In addition, unlike Plato, Cicero does not eschew writing, but rather recommends it as a means of perfecting one's skill, saying that one should "write as much as possible. The pen is the best and most eminent author and teacher of eloquence"

These pragmatic leanings are clear in his discussion of the importance of ethos and pathos with an argument; logos, the much-cherished heart of rhetoric for Aristotle, is tellingly downplayed in Cicero's discussion on the means of persuasion and ways of eloquence.

Unlike the Stoics who were popular at the time, or Aristotle who valued pure logic over all else, Cicero promotes a view where the orator not only inspires strong emotions, but actually experiences them while speaking. Instead of remaining in a state of detached, unemotional logic, Cicero suggests that feeling emotions is integral for effective persuasion, and is of great importance to the acquisition of eloquence.
Sophists - concerns were not with truth but with practical knowledge. They practiced rhetoric in order to persuade and not to discover truth. Their art was to persuade the crowd and not to convince people of the truth.

Socrates and Plato would criticize the Sophists for leading people away from the truth by calling up memorized passages and having the memory activated instead of reason. They would appeal to images and emotions rather than to reason Socrates and Plato would use and advocate for the use of the dialectical process of inquiry over memorization and repetition and emotional appeals to persuade the crowds.

Rhetoric's issues - power, manipulation, relationship to truth

Plato's view: rhet has potential for harm and for good - thus there is a sense of moral responsibility here, and Plato sees this morality as an essential, universal good that must be discovered through language.

Plato's main concern about the sophists (56): They claim to teach about justice while having no real knowledge of justice itself. Justice, for Plato, is a knowledge that requires deep study and dedication - it is to be discovered through deep thought/scholarship/virtue rather than simply conjuring up a convenient definition relative to context (kairos)

Plato borrows - Plato's arguments/treatment of the sophists in his Gorgias is relentless. BUT his rhetoric are fine examples of efficient rhetoric

The outcome of Gorgias is debatable. Did he "win"? Or did he simply make his point with a rhetoric as deep and self-promoting as the very people he attacks?

Augustine - Along with other Neo-Platonists, Augustine will translate and transmit Plato's concept of Truth and its relationship to the natural world into Christian terms: this world is a shadow, fallen version of God's eternal Truths, and the pursuit of knowledge has damned humanity
Sophist - In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the techniques of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching arete—"excellence" or "virtue"—predominantly to young statesmen and nobility. The practice of charging money for education and providing wisdom only to those who could pay led to the condemnations made by Socrates (as he is portrayed by Plato in his dialogues) as well as Xenophon's Memorabilia. Through works such as these, Sophists were portrayed as "specious" or "deceptive", hence the modern meaning of the term.

Quintillian - . Quintilian is convinced that education can change people, make them better. But also notice that Quintilian's system is completely elitist--only for men, only for certain class
and wealth.

1. boy should be placed early with rhetorician (overlap with grammarian)
2. rhetorician as model, in loco parentis, discipline but not too much severity, good
speaker
3. exercises: narratives, confirming and refuting, praise, comparisons, commonplaces,
theses (deliberative, which is better?), chria or moral essays, legal topics
4. reading historians and orators (esp. Livy and Cicero)
(teacher expounds, as grammarian did with poets--occasionally bad speeches, as
well, for faults to avoid)
5. practice memory by great orators' speeches, not own
(but writing their own)
6. later goes to forensic and deliberative oratory, with subjects as true to life as possible,
purpose not to show off but to display one's talents
D. Education Lasts a Lifetime
1. junior year abroad: after reached facility and done some public work, take 1 to 3 years
off to travel and perfect knowledge. Traditional quest to Athens, but Quintilian cites Cicero who toured
Asia (Alexandria especially a center).
2. orator will continue study on his own to develop copia: hearing others' speeches,
reading the best poets, historians, philosophers (across schools), orators, and law in both Greek and
Latin. Best orators Demosthenes, Isocrates, and Cicero.
3. orator will write for practice: translating Greek to Latin, paraphrasing, doing practice
theses and declamations, practising premeditation and improvisation
E. Purpose of this Education
1. active service: scorns philosophers
2. teaching after retirement
he Sophists would travel from polis to polis teaching young men in public spaces how to speak and debate. The most famous of the Sophists schools were led by Gorgias and Isocrates. Because rhetoric and public speaking were essential for success in political life, students were willing to pay Sophist teachers great sums of money in exchange for tutoring. A typical Sophist curriculum consisted of analyzing poetry, defining parts of speech, and instruction on argumentation styles. They taught their students how to make a weak argument stronger and a strong argument weak.

Sophists prided themselves on their ability to win any debate on any subject even if they had no prior knowledge of the topic through the use of confusing analogies, flowery metaphors, and clever wordplay. In short, the Sophists focused on style and presentation even at the expense of truth.

The negative connotation that we have with the word "sophist" today began in ancient Greece. For the ancient Greeks, a "sophist" was a man who manipulated the truth for financial gain. It had such a pejorative meaning that Socrates was executed by the Athenians on the charge of being a Sophist. Both Plato and Aristotle condemned Sophists for relying solely on emotion to persuade an audience and for their disregard for truth. Despite criticism from their contemporaries, the Sophists had a huge influence on developing the study and teaching of rhetoric.

While the great philosopher Aristotle criticized the Sophists' misuse of rhetoric, he did see it as a useful tool in helping audiences see and understand truth. In his treatise, The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle established a system of understanding and teaching rhetoric.

In The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle defines rhetoric as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion." While Aristotle favored persuasion through reason alone, he recognized that at times an audience would not be sophisticated enough to follow arguments based solely on scientific and logical principles. In those instances, persuasive language and techniques were necessary for truth to be taught.

After establishing the need for rhetorical knowledge, Aristotle sets forth his system for effectively applying rhetoric:

Three Means of Persuasion (logos, pathos, and ethos)
Three Genres of Rhetoric (deliberative, forensic, and epideictic)
Rhetorical topics
Parts of speech
Effective use of style

The Art of Rhetoric had a tremendous influence on the development of the study of rhetoric for the next 2,000 years. Roman rhetoricians Cicero and Quintilian frequently referred to Aristotle's work


The first master rhetorician Rome produced was the great statesman Cicero. During his career he wrote several treatises on the subject including On Invention, On Oration, and Topics. Cicero depended more on stylistic flourishes, riveting stories, and compelling metaphors and less on logical reasoning than their ancient Greek counterparts. His writings on rhetoric guided schools on the subject well into Renaissance.

During the Middle Ages, rhetoric shifted from political to religious discourse. Instead of being a tool to lead the state, rhetoric was seen as a means to save souls. Church Fathers, like St. Augustine, explored how they could use the "pagan" art of rhetoric to better spread the gospel to the unconverted and preach to the believers.

Texts by Cicero and Quintilian were rediscovered and utilized in courses of study; for example, Quintilian's De Inventione quickly became a standard rhetoric textbook at European universities. Renaissance scholars began producing new treatises and books on rhetoric, many of them emphasizing applying rhetorical skill in one's own vernacular as opposed to Latin or ancient Greek.
Quintilian emphasizes the value of rhetoric as a moral force in the community; since the function of the orator is to advance the cause of truth and good government, Quintilian says he must by definition be a good man morally and not just an effective speaker
This was a revolutionary doctrine in the development of rhetoric; Aristotle saw rhetoric as morally neutral (the moral character resides in the speaker, not the art), and Plato's ideal of the truth-speaking orator had no impact at all in antiquity Quintilian even goes a step beyond Isocrates' concerns for virtue and justice - as means for a better self-governing society - to make moral goodness integral to oratory


St. Augustine, was convinced that the pagan rhetorical tradition, so important to the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome, had great insights to offer Christian preachers about the art of good preaching.
Augustine stated that rhetoric is neither good nor bad in itself, but can be used to effectively defend both what is true and what is false.
He goes on to point out that if one wishes to defend truth, it is crucial to be eloquent in order to refute what is false through the power of oratory.

The orator must formulate his speech in such a way as to instruct the audience, hold their attention, and to win.

By this, Augustine meant that the orator must not only instruct the audience in what is true, he must also convince them of the truth so that they will act on it.
First of all, clarity and understanding are the primary goals. A rhetor should be able to adjust his manner of speaking to the abilities of his audience.

For example, if necessary the rhetor should be able to abandon the niceties of proper grammar and speech in order to make the subject more accessible to the audience.

When speaking or preaching to an assembly (such as in a church), it is not proper or customary for the audience to interrupt and ask questions.

It is the role of the rhetor to assist the listeners by anticipating their questions before they arise, and to answer them.

To reach the most people, the subject should be presented in several ways.

Once it is clear that the point has been made and the audience has reached understanding, the rhetor must move on. If he does not, he will lose the attention of his audience.
His influence can be seen even today in the modern liberal arts education
Quintilian's definition of rhetoric, like Aristotle's, leans toward the specific and precise rather than the general. He defines the rhetorician, again with precision and intent, specifically as "a good man, speaking well." Quintilian adds a moral dimension to our definition. A rhetorician is someone "speaking well," i.e., for good purposes, for purposes of justice, fairness, and truth. A rhetorician cannot be, and this is the important point, a bad person. This is the definition, extremely particular though it is, that Quintilian presents.

Aristotle saw rhetoric as morally neutral (the moral character resides in the speaker, not the art),
In On Rhetoric, Aristotle discusses how a rhetor's reliance on one's prior background, socio-cultural position, or visual/corporeal forms of persuasion is non-artistic. Accordingly, although it is recognized by Aristotle as persuasive, it is less skillful, which suggests that a rhetor's means to persuade should focus and privilege speech-making and delivery.

Both Aristotle and Quintilian recognize multiple forms of persuasion, yet both seems to share similar values of what constitutes rhetoric's focus on the artistic versus the non-artistic: Aristotle through the artistic proofs, and Quintilian through the process of style and delivery of speeches, which are bent on the aim of eloquence. Assuming these ideas are correct, Quintilian, then, may be responding to what he deems as a misreading of Aristotle and a reduction of the art of rhetoric in the Roman era.