Aristotle’s Rhetoric Theory

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Rhetorical Theory centered on the 4th Century BC writings of Aristotle.

Aristotle’s Rhetoric was the seminal work which was later revised by others including Kenneth Burke (dramatism) and Toulmin (argument model). George A. Kennedy (2004) wrote the most respected, authoritative and explanatory translation of Aristotle’s Rhetoric but an older translation by W. Rhys Roberts (1954) is available online for free.

Aristotle‚Äôs mentor, Plato (385 BC), reacted to the unjust rule of Athenian culture, first defining rhetoric in negative terms as a dangerous orm of flattery and the persuasion of uneducated mobs of people in courts and assemblies.Aristotle re-defined rhetoric in positive terms as the ability to identify the appropriate means of persuasion in any given situation. Mary P. Nichols (1987) states, ‚ÄúIn his Rhetoric, Aristotle defends rhetoric against the charges that it permits injustice and distorts truth ‚Äď charges made by Aristophanes and Plato.

He presents rhetoric as a bridge between private and public, passion and reason, individual interest and common good, and equity and law. Rhetoric thus appears as a means for statesmanship rather han a tool of despotism…In his Rhetoric, Aristotle divides rhetoric into three kind: deliberative rhetoric deals with the advantageous or the good, epideictic rhetoric with the noble, and forensic rhetoric deal with the just (I.

iii. 5)‚ĶAristotle teaches rhetoricians how to incorporate into their speeches the variety of goods that men seek, as they are revealed in their opinions and implied in their passions. Because it is based on a comprehensive understanding of human nature, their rhetoric will be persuasive.And because of that same comprehensiveness, it will be both true nd just, to the extent that human affairs permit‚Ķ Aristotle points out the limits necessary for successful persuastion ‚Äď from the logical rules that underlie thought to the diverse elements of common opinion that rhetoric must accommodate‚ĶAristotle indicates the extent to which rhetoric involves refining opinions and modifying desires in light of more comprehensive goods‚ĶHe therefore defines the art of rhetoric not as the ability to persuade, as others had done, but as ‚Äúther ability to see the possible means of persuasion in particular cases.The first rhetoric genre Aristotle classified was deliberative which concerned future situations like choosing a course of action.

The second rhetoric genre was forensic which concerned the past and often involved justice and injustice. The third genre was epideictic which was situated in the present and might involve honor or dishonor and praise or blame. Because these terms were originally written in Greek, their names can seem confusing and are often translated into various synonyms which are difficult to consolidate for the rhetoric neophyte..Modern heorists continued the ancient rhetoric controversy between neo-Aristotelian and neo- Sophistic with question whether rhetoric consists of ‚Äúthe container‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúthe contents‚ÄĚ which are limited by the container? Some sources assert that all rhetoricians subsequent to Aristotle only translated his ideas or dressed them in new clothes.

Rhetoric is all about the speaker considering how to ethically present persuasive ideas with trustworthiness while appealing to audience emotions and reason.Richard West and Lynn H.¬†Turner (2010) listed two assumptions of rhetoric: ‚ÄúEffective ublic speakers must consider their audience‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúEffective public speakers use a number of proofs in their presentations‚ÄĚ (p. 313). The first assumption advised the public speaker to engage in audience analysis.

This involved considering the anticipated audience as specific individuals evaluating their anticipated viewpoints in light of the context of the communication event. The proofs mentioned in the second assumption included Aristotle’s Greek terms ethos, logos and pathos.Ethos was a Greek word that applies to the guiding beliefs or ideas set forth by the peaker. Aristotle taught that a speaker could inspire the audience’s confidence by creating an image of himself as a person of good moral character with good sense and good will.

Logos, a Greek term used by Heraclitus (535-475 BC), refers to the principle of order and knowledge. Aristotle used logos to refer to reasoned discourse. Pathos represented the appeal to the audience’s emotions and passions as well as the speakers’ perception of his own character and emotions.Boris Abersek and Metka Kordigel Abersek (2010) summarize, “Aristotle teaches us that a peaker’s ability to persuade is based on how well the speaker appeals to his or her audience in three different areas: ethos (ethical appeals), pathos (emotional appeals), and logos (logical appeals) (Lewis, 1991).

These areas are what later rhetoricians have called the Rhetorical Triangle: ethos, pathos logos. Within the rhetorical triangle EQUILATERALITY is essential because its equal sides and angles illustrate the concept that all three appeals are equally important.Additionally, common rhetoric courses for engineers mostly forget to teach about the BALANCE of the logos, ethos and pathos. The dominance of one of the aspects (for instance logos) is likely to produce an argument that the readers will either find unconvincing or they will simply stop reading (Bizzell, 2000). ‚ÄĚ Aristotle taught about the enthymeme and deductive reasoning in terms of evidence and topics and about invented parables and fables.

He felt that an aspiring orator should attend to delivery, use language correctly, arrange the material well, end crisply using common sense.The five canons are extracted from all three books of the rhetoric and include invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Syllogisms are reasoning structures that require the audience to use logic to supply the missing information. Other tools that Aristotle recommended developing are figures of speech, schemes and tropes.

David L Mothersbaugh, Bruce A. Huhmann, and George R. Franke explain some figures of speech including schemes and tropes, “Rhetorical figures consist of schemes and tropes.Schemes and tropes deviate from expected language use, but in very different ways. For example, schemes vary the surface structure of expressions (e.

g. , rhymes repeat syllables at the nds of words), whereas tropes vary the deeper semantic structure (e. g. , irony states the opposite of what is meant). We leverage such differences to extend previous research across two studies.

Study 1 examines how figures combine in affecting the extent of processing. Surprisingly, although ads often contain multiple figures (e. . , Leigh 1994), existing research provides no insight as to what processing benefits might accrue from such combinations and why. Study 2 examines how schemes and tropes diverge in affecting the focus of processing.

Previous research uggests an advantage of tropes over schemes in terms of overall ad processing yet fails to consider the possibility that schemes yield qualitatively different types of processing for which they have an advantage over tropes. ‚ÄĚ E.¬†Jennifer Ashworth also rephrases Aristotle‚Äôs definition of metaphor, ‚ÄúMetaphor consists in giving the thing a name that belongs to something else; the transference being either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or on grounds of analogy. . . .

That from analogy is possible whenever there are four terms so related that the second is to the irst, as the fourth is to the third; for one may then put the fourth in place of the second, and the second in place of the fourth‚Ķ‚ÄúTh e simile also is a metaphor; the difference is but slight.When the poet says: He leapt on the foe as a lion, this is a simile; when he says of him ‚Äėthe lion leapt‚Äô, it is a metaphor‚ÄĒhere, since both are courageous, he has transferred to Achilles the name of ‚Äėlion‚Äô. ‚ÄĚ Aristotle also writes (1411a1-3): ‚ÄúOf the four kinds of metaphor the most taking is the proportional kind. Thus Pericles, for instance, said that the vanishing rom their country of the young men who had fallen in the war was ‚Äėas if the spring were taken out of the year‚Äô. ‚ÄĚ However, in this passage he does notexplain what the other three kinds of metaphor are.

Valerie J Smith (2007) reviews some rhetoric definitions and suggests new directions, ‚ÄúAs the substance of rhetorical persuasion” {Rhetoric, 1354a, 14-15), the enthymeme has remained central to Aristotle’s rhetorical theory. The “consistent definition of the enthymeme” found in logic textbooks and borrowed by rhetoricians, however, “falsely suggests a uniformity in views among philosophers” (Madden, 1952, p. 68).In fact, Sir William Hamilton distinguished 17 different meanings of the term enthymeme (cited in Madden, 1952, p.

68). According to Madden (1952), of this “remarkably large number,” two views are “historically most influential”: “the enthymeme conceived as a syllogism with an unexpressed proposition, the rendition given in textbooks”; and “the enthymeme considered as a syllogism whose propositions are ‘signs’ or ‘likelihoods,’ Aristotle’s special doctrine” (p. 368). In the former, and most common, view, several significant attributes are missed by reducing the enthymeme to a procedural matter.This section overviews the first view and elaborates Aristotle’s original conception of the enthymeme through consideration of the second view‚ĶOften the enthymeme is defined as “a syllogism with one of its parts missing,” and much debate surrounds whether enthymemes so defined apply to visual arguments. After arguing that popular interpretations of the enthymeme differ remarkably from Aristotle’s original conception, this essay reviews visual argumentation studies in order to demonstrate how elements of Aristotle’s classical enthymeme are implicit in current theories of visual rgumentation.

When the enthymeme is understood more broadly, visual communication can be classified as argumentation, thus enhancing the credibility of studies of visual persuasion. ‚ÄĚ When I gave my presentation in class on Rhetoric, I tried to think of all the available forms of persuasion that are available to me in the classroom environment. I wanted to highlight the fact that this is an ancient theory so I wore a sheet to evoke the idea of a toga even though only men wore ‚Äútogas. I had statues in the background that represented interests of my audience to show hat I had considered my audience as individuals while I was preparing my speech and I acknowledged my audience at the beginning of the speech.

These are all things that I would not have done naturally. I also passed around copies printed from free online translations of three of Aristotle‚Äôs books that comprise the Rhetoric. I even tried to keep my voice from being squeaky and obnoxious for better delivery plus I had practiced a couple of gestures ‚Äď particularly the one illustrating Socrates drinking his cup of Hemlock poison.Rhetoric theory is based on using the ethical and available means of persuasion and using a ixture of logical evidence and data, authoritative information and delivery, and emotions in their proper place. The audience both received and impacted the message by influencing the speaker with their reaction to the message. The audience often interprets the messages in unintended directions.

Jennifer Emerling Bone, Cindy L. Griffin and T. B.¬†Linda Scholz give new direction and redefine rhetoric, ‚ÄúAlthough Aristotle‚Äôs definition of rhetoric as ‚Äė‚Äėthe faculty of discerning the possible means of persuasion in each particular case‚Äô‚Äô is a familiar one for rhetorical scholars rounded in Western and/or European traditions and perspectives, challenges to this definition of rhetoric are not new‚Ķ Originally defined as ‚Äė‚Äėan invitation to understanding as a means to create a relationship rooted in equality, immanent value, and self-determination,‚Äô‚Äô the authors of the 1995 article sought to establish invitational rhetoric as unique from traditional conceptualizations of rhetoric as persuasion and as an attempt to convince others of the rightness of one‚Äôs own view (5).Foss and Griffin suggested that invitational rhetoric differs from attempts to win over an opponent or to advocate the correctness of a ingle position in a very complex issue. Invitational rhetoric, they suggested, can be viewed as a communication exchange in which participants create an environment where growth and change can occur but where changing others is neither the ultimate goal nor the criterion for success in the interaction.

In contrast to wanting to change another person, when rhetors use invitational rhetoric their goal is to enter into a dialogue in order to share perspectives and positions, to see the complexity of an issue about which neither party agrees, and to increase understanding.The interaction, r relationship between those involved in the exchange, is rooted in reciprocity and respect. Although this relationship may be present in other forms of rhetoric, what makes it unique in the theory of invitational rhetoric is a willingness on the part of rhetors to dialogue rather than debate and to forgo efforts to change others. ‚ÄĚ One early problem that rhetoric faced was translation, language and definitions issues.

Some critics complained about the random lack of organization in Aristotle’s original Rhetoric texts. This theory has passed the tests of time, heurism and logical consistency.

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