|The History and Theory of Rhetoric by James A. Herrick, Third Edition, 2005|
|Chapter One: An Overview of Rhetoric|
|1||The term "rhetoric" sometimes poses a problem in communication because it has become connoted with "empty speech".|
|1||Herrick mentions that Plato used the character Socrates to represent his (Plato's) own views.|
|2||Empiricist John Locke called rhetoric "perfect cheats".|
|2||Herrick discusses the contributions of Richard McKeon, who was very pluralistic in his critique methods (using many methods of critique versus a single approach). In reading about McKeon, his philosophical pluralism borders on the relativism of the early sophists like Gorgias, without falling into complete nihilism. McKeon saw values in philosophies outside of his own. His criticism sought to understand the reasons behind what the rhetor was communicating, as if understanding why the communicator believed such would draw the audience to a better mutual understanding.|
|2||Herrick asks, rhetorically, if modern rhetoric can be compared to the rhetoric that Plato so despised.|
|3||Herrick asks if rhetoric as a tool for persuasion is neutral or manipulative or deceptive. I think it begins neutral and either persuades informatively or manipulates deceptively depending on the rhetor's use. If my only experience with rhetoric was watching Boston Legal, I would say, if anything, it's manipulative powers have been sharpened even further.|
speaks of our leeriness of attempts by others to persuade us, our discomfort
with telephone solicitors or even a family member.
This reminds me of being a the mall over Christmas. I was walking past one of those kiosks that speckle the lower level. On the right, a woman was trying to rub lotion on all the girls passing by, and on the left, a young hippie-looking dude was calling over men like a barker at carnival side show. "Hey, you" he said to me, "Come here. Let me show you something."
"No thanks," I said, "I'm not interested."
He responded, "It will just take a second."
"No, really, I smiled, "I'm not interested" and walked on past.
I wondered up to the food court and ordered Chinese food. I was enjoying my meal, when this same guy marches into the food court to order lunch. I thought he was going to come talk to me. He didn't.
However, it made me consider what I would say if he asked, "Why wouldn't you stop and talk to me?"
I would have said- "...because I am absolutely happy. At this moment, I am want for nothing, and it's obvious that you're going to try and change that."
asks, "If medicine is a science, shouldn't rhetorical practices such as
an argument and persuasion be nonexistent?" He then provides examples
that show this is not the case.
The example reminded me of Socrates dialogue with Gorgias in which Gorgias tells Socrates that his brother was a doctor. Gorgias' brother often employed Gorgias to persuade his patient to have an unpleasant surgery.
|5||In defining rhetoric, the author seems to settle on "the use of symbols to persuade". How well you persuade depends on how effectively you use your symbols.|
|7||Herrick wants to pronounce "rhetor" as RAY-tor. Maybe he's from the south; although, Hope College, where he teaches, is in Michigan. How's that for a parenthetical Neo-Aristotelian quip?|
|7||The editor in me finds the following difficult to pass over, so I will not (grin). At the bottom of p.7, Herrick states "This section identifies five distinguishing characteristics of rhetorical discourse, the marks the art of rhetoric leaves on messages." Beside the sentence being initially awkward, he then lists six points- not five.|
|8||Of the 6 distinguishing characteristics of rhetoric, Herrick starts by saying that Rhetoric is Planned. This includes what argument to advance, which evidence supports it, understanding the audience and the aesthetics of the presentation. Herrick mentions Cicero (b.106 BCE - d.43) and three Latin terms Cicero used in this context: inventio (invention) to illustration the invention of an argument, dispositio (arrangement) to illustrate the ordering or arrangement of the argument, and elocutio (elocution or speaking) to illustrate finding the correct linguistic style for delivering the argument.||1|
|9||Another of the 6 characteristics: Rhetoric Is Adapted the an Audience. You must take into account the beliefs and average education of the audience. You must also find a way to build a bridge to your audience that establishes knowledge that is held in common between rhetor and audience. This is the starting point.||2|
|9||Aristotle put forth a rhetorical principle he called an "enthymeme" (en-thuh-meem), which is "an argument built from values, beliefs or knowledge held in common by speaker and audience." This identification of commonality between rhetor and audience is called "identification" by theorist Kenneth Burke.|
|10||Another of the 6 characteristics: Rhetoric Reveal Human Motives. In other words, what comes out of your communication reflects what's truly in your heart.||3|
|11||Another of the 6 characteristics: Rhetoric Is Responsive. In other words, your communication should invite dialogue.||4|
|12||Another of the 6 characteristics: Rhetoric Seeks Persuasion. In other words, your communication should influence the audience to accept your position.||5|
|12||The four goals of persuasion: Arguments, appeals (audience's loyalties), arrangement (best arguments last) and aesthetics (beautiful language)|
|15||Another of the 6 characteristics: Rhetoric Addresses Contingent Issues. It is important to weigh options in contingent matters (practical questions with no definite or unavoidable answers). In other words, debating whether the sun will rise has an unavoidable answer, therefore, it is not a contingent issue.||6|
|17||Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca pointed out that the quality of the audience determines the quality of rhetoric in a society. Much like the quality of the interlocutor determined the quality of the discourse in Socrates dialogues. For example, Plato shows that the dialogue between Meno and Socrates, who wants Meno to define virtue. Meno responds by giving examples of virtue, but he tires and gives up when Socrates tries to get him to think more deeply about the topic.|
|18||"The art of rhetoric is the study of effective advocacy."|
|19||Rhetoric distributes power: 1. Personal power, 2. psychological power, 3. political power.|
|20||Rhetoric's ability to test ideas is subverted when ideologies go unexamined. "…an unexamined ideology prevents its adherent from seeing things 'as the are'." Socrates is famous for saying that an unexamined life is not worth living.|
|21||Three ways in which rhetoric discovers facts: 1. Locating evidence, 2. critical thinking, 3. determining what is important.|
|22||Rhetoric shapes knowledge- Social rhetoric shapes the values and morals of its people. It forms the moral zeitgeist of the period. For example, rhetoric played a key roll in the emancipation of women in western cultures. Rhetoric turns facts and ideas into knowledge. This is sometimes good and sometimes bad.|
|23||Rhetoric builds community. The health of a community is defined by the language used to describe the community. Communities are sustained by rhetorical interactions.|
|Chapter Two: The Origins and Early History of Rhetoric|
|31||The exact beginning of rhetoric cannot be pinpointed any more than the beginning of dance.|
quotes Richard Leo Enos, who
teaches at Texas Christian University. Enos is an expert in classical
rhetoric and specializes in examining artifacts dealing with ancient
writings. He dates Homer to the 9th century. I am curious as to why so early.
I'll email him and ask (done).
"In this respect "Homer" may be more of a series of rhapsodes who did evolve their compositions over time and then these oral compositions were formalized and stabilized with writing.
There probably was a Homer but their were also Homeridae (Chios) who continued in the tradition."
He also recommended the following books: COMPANION TO HOMER (Wace and Stubbins); G. S. Kirk, HOMER AND THE ORAL TRADITION
I thought I knew a thing or two about the date of Homer, but, obviously, I've barely scratched the surface. Dr.Enos was very patient.
Enos has identified three functions of language in Homer's writing: heuristic (encouraging a person to learn), eristic (power to make its point), and protreptic (power to persuade).
|32||Herrick mentions disputes that arose at the death of a tyrant named Hieron [high-er-on] (see timeline at 467 BCE) over land that he had seized in Sicily. A rhetorician named Corax taught people to speak and defend themselves in court. Corax's systematic approach was duplicated by others and later taken to Athens.|
|32||The new democracy in Greece created opportunities. Training in rhetoric provided the education needed for the middle class to step into politics more easily.|
|33||To the Greeks, the city was known as the "polis."|
|33||The sophist created education for pay on the individual basis.|
points out that the Greek public gradually rejected the idea that their
destiny was guided by the gods and began responding to the spoken word
(persuasion by education).
This was one of the reasons that Socrates attacks the Sophists. They wanted to explain nature in an ateleological way. Socrates was concerned that if you simply explained that the sun was a hot rock and not one of the gods, then you could not swear by the god of the sun; therefore, your promises would have nothing to back them up. This, to Socrates, would result in a decline in morality. Similarly, in the Theaetetus, a dialogue about knowledge, we find that Socrates is concerned that the result of ateleologic physics (from Ionian physics), the Sophist are relativists because their ontology, or nature of existence, is constantly in flux (see Heraclitus). In fact, Gorgias was a solipsist, believing that nothing exists.
|34||Trials in Athens consisted of two speeches, one for the defense and another for prosecution. The jury did not deliberate. They voted.|
|34||There were no lawyers, but you could hire a logographer (expensive) to write a speech for you.|
says, "Important Sophists include Gorgias, Protagoras, Polus, Hippias,
I’m interested to know why Polus is important. He's presented as less than stellar in the Gorgias.
|35||The second half of the 5th century was a period of intellectual innovation. Rhetoric had much more of an contribution than philosophers like Plato.|
|36||Aristophanes mocks the Sophists in the play "The Clouds".|
|36||Sophists claimed to be able to teach arete (ar-a-tey), which as virtue and valor and good character. Socrates attacked this idea in the Gorgias.|
|36||Herrick says that the Sophist employed the dialectic. Of course, in Socrates view, they mostly have long speeches. To Socrates, the dialectic was a means to get to the truth. To the Sophists, it was a means to learn both sides of an argument.|
|37||The Sophist used a method called dissoi logoi (dis-soy leh-goy), in which they learned to argue a point from negative and the affirmative.|
|37||The Sophist used the idea of "kairos" (kigh-ross) to reflect taking advantage of the moment. Kairos is one of two words for time in Greek; the other being chronos (crow-noss). A Sophist, who was properly trained, would press his point and persuade at the right time.|
|37||"epideixis" [ep-ee-dex-is] is a speech prepared for a formal occasion.|
|38||Herrick says that Plutarch wrote that the Sophists were men of "political shrewdness and practical sagacity" (sagacity means "soundness of judgment"). Herrick fails to make it clear as to whether Plutarch was referring to the Sophist of the 5th century BCE or the Sophists of his day. Plutarch wrote around 85 CE.|
|38||Xenophon called the Sophists "masters of fraud." In fact, it's rumored that Xenophon once asked, "How many Sophists does it take to shingle a house?" His response was, "It depends on how thin you slice them." Just kidding. Reading about the distaste for the Sophists just sounds like the setup for lawyer jokes of today.|
|38||Just as lawyers of today are viewed with suspicion by the pedestrian crowd, the Sophists were viewed as persuading by clever arguments.|
|38||Aristotle wrote of the empty arguments of the Sophists in "On Sophistical Refutations."|
|39||One reason the Sophists were distrusted was because the taught for pay.|
|39||Another reason the Sophists were distrusted was that many were foreigners. The Sophists called all non-Greeks barbarians.|
Harratt notes that the Sophist were "skeptical about the divine source
Impiety could really create a problem. According to Plato, the accusation of Meletus against Socrates was "Socrates is guilty of crime; first, for not worshipping the gods whom the city worships, but introducing new divinities of his own; secondly, for corrupting the youth. The penalty due is death."
Even today, impiety is associated with immorality by most Americans, which is why an atheist could not be elected President. The names of the gods we sing about change, but the song remains the same.
|39||The elite of Athens deemed the Sophists a threat to the more oligarchical way of thinking. They would prefer that education be out of reach to the common middle class.|
mentions that the Sophists believed that the world could be reproduced
In other words, by rhetoric, they would create belief, which would become truth by majority.
|40||Nomos - Social custom or convention; rule by agreement among the citizens. Contrast "themos", which is law derived from the authority of the king. Contrast physis, or natural law, and logos, the Platonic source of absolute truth. The Sophists worried Athens because of their belief in nomos. To them, law as a matter of public agreement.|
|40||Janet Sutton says there is evidence that the poor view of the Sophist may be due to the portrayal of their enemies like Plato. They actually were held in high esteem in Athens.|
was famous for his three-aprt formation of skeptical philosophy:
1. Nothing exists - This is called solipsism [sol-ip-siz-em].
2. If anything exists, we cannot know it. - I suppose this is nihilism.
3. If we could know that something existed, we would not be able to communicate it to anyone else. - skeptical relativism
|This all gravely contrasted with Plato's belief in absolutism - The logos was the source of absolute truth and was inside all of us through reincarnation. Through the dialectic, it could be brought forth.|
|41||Richard Leo Enos calls Gorgias one of the most innovative theorists in Greek rhetoric.|
|41||To Gorgias, persuasion was "the art of deception" - which was in stark contrast to Plato's logos of absolute truth.|
|41||The ability of rhetoric to create belief was like the casting of magic spells - the words like incantations.|
|42||To take this idea of verbal incantations, Gorgias sometimes employed a system of rhyming that mesmerized his audience. His words were like a snake charmers flute, captivating the cobra.|
|42||Gorgias is so confident in his ability to persuade, that wrote an encomium on Helen of Troy, showing her innocence. In other words, he wa saying that he was so good, he could get Helen of Troy off the hook.|
|43||The Sophist employed numerous oratory tricks or compartmentalized oratory formulas. These are the things they charged money to teach. The allegoria (over bold metaphors), the hypallage [hey-pal-a-gee] (using one word for another), catachresis [cat-a-cree-sis] (X in the sentence - Ask not what your country can do for you, rather ask what you can do for your country), an antithesis (Your proposal will bring war, but my ideas will bring peace)|
|Rhetoric appealed to emotion to warp judgment for the purpose of persuasion.|
|43||Protagoras was the first to charge for lectures. He is the one who said "Man is the measure of all things."|
|43||Protagoras was agnostic about the gods.|
arguments. These were argumentative tricks that obscured true meaning for the
goal of winning an argument.
|44||Herrick says that Protagoras' approach to addressing both sides of an argument could be seen as the basis for the dialectic, taken up by Socrates.|
|44||Protagoras had his students learn both sides of an argument. The student had to argue both sides.|
|44||Protagoras' dissoi logoi ensured that the student understood his opponent's position as well as his own.|
claims that Jacqueline de Romilly in "The Great Sophists in
Periclean Athens" says on p. viii that
Isocrates studied under Socrates. I checked (because this would further prove
that Socrates was a real person), and it does not say this. It just says that
the most of the writers in Athens studied under the Sophists. Maybe he
confused the word Sophist with Socrates.
Specifically, it says on page ix, "He himself [Isocrates] studied under Gorgias, having travelled to Thessaly to attend his lectures." I emailed Dr. Herrick to ask about it.
Update: Dr. Herrick agreed with me and says that he's currently working on the 4th edition. He will make the correction.
|45||Isocrates founded a school in Athens and became one of the wealthiest and best known teachers of his day. His fee was 1000 drachmas at a time when the average laborer made one drachma per day.|
|45||Isocrates was a native Athenian and a pan-Hellenist. In other words, he wanted to expand the Grecian empire by uniting the bickering cities of Greece. He felt that if he could get people to talk out their differences, it would unite Greece. Ford|
|45||At the top of p.45, Herrick says that Isocrates was "likely" a student of Gorgias, and then in the middle he says that he "was" a student.|
|46||Isocrates introduced the requirements of thematic and pragmatic. Thematic focused on significant matters, which pragmatic focused on making a positive contribution to the audience.|
|46||Isocrates required a high moral standard for his students, in contrast with the average Sophist.|
|46||Isocrates did not believe he could teach virtue and arete. To him, you were either moral or not.|
|47||Philip II, of Macedon, put an end to pan-Hellenism by crushing the hoplites in the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BCE (pronounced care-a-knee-a).|
speaks of the women of Athens having fewer freedoms as citizens and property
holders. Women were expected to stay home- except for religious festivals.
Women were not permitted to make speeches.
He quote Democritus (dee-mock-cree-tus), "...women should not be allowed to practice argument because men detest being ruled by women."
An interesting comparison is the New Testament admonition of women in Corinth, just 50 miles from Athens. The Apostle Paul writes his letter to the Corinthians saying "34- women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35- If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." (1 Cor. 14:34-35).
|47||The rights of women in Greece seemed to decline as democracy increased.|
|48||Aspasia traveled with Pericles, gave him political advice and wrote speeches for him.|
|Chapter Three: Plato versus the Sophists: Rhetoric on Trial|
|54||Herrick points out that there is a long standing rivalry between rhetoric and philosophy, and then contrasts it with the fact that all of Plato's dialogues use rhetoric. H|
|55||The Gorgias is a criticism of all rhetoric and rhetoricians.|
|55||In the Gorgias, Plato addresses whether or not rhetoric, by its nature, tends to mislead. It addresses the effect of persuasion forming the basis of law and justice.|
had the following criticism of the Sophists: taking money, exaggerated
pedagogy, and boastfulness.
asks Gorgias what he teaches. Gorgias says "Rhetoric"- the use of
words. Socrates asks what value comes of his teaching. He eventually boils it
down to the ability to persuade with words. Socrates presses further, and
Gorgias says it deals with persuasion in courts of law dealing with justice
Justice and virtue are Socrates hot buttons. Gorgias said the magic word.
|57||Socrates gets Gorgias to admit that he can create a belief about justice, but doesn't have time to teach true justice.|
|57||Socrates shows that words create belief, which leaves the audience feeling as though they have knowledge, but it's only belief.|
|57||"In the course of this conversation with Gorgias, Socrates has made the surprising assertion that one who truly understands justice could never choose to do injustice. This is because to understand justice is to love it, and at the same time to recognize just how repulsive injustice is." Herrick, p.57|
|This is why, in the Republic, Socrates believes that a philosopher king will suffice to rule the city. He believes that he can create a perfect society by imparting knowledge of justice. By the end of his life, he begins to change his mind and writes the dialogue called "Laws". Just as Gorgias could not have enough time to teach a jury justice- so he must persuade belief. Perhaps he realizes that even a life time is not enough to teach everyone justice- So, he writes the Laws.|