|Chapter 1: An Overview of Rhetoric|
|How are the following terms defined in this chapter:
2. the art of rhetoric
3. rhetorical discourse
|1. Rhetoric is the effective use of symbols to persuade; 2. "The art of rhetoric is the study of effective advocacy." It is also the study and practice of effective symbolic expression; 3. Rhetorical discourse is crafted communication; 4. The rhetor is the communicator.|
|What are the marks or characteristics of rhetorical discourse in this chapter?||Rhetorical discourse is communication that is planned, adapted to its audience, considers audience motives, situationally responsive, seeks to persuade and concerned with issues it can affect.|
|Which specific resources of language are discussed under the heading, Rhetoric Is Planned?||Herrick mentions Cicero (b.106 BCE - d.43) and three Latin terms Cicero used in this context: inventio (invention) to illustrate 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.|
|What social functions of the art of rhetoric are discussed in this chapter?||Advocacy for any disadvantaged group, but feminist issues were specifically mentioned.|
|Which three types of power are enhanced by an understanding of the art of rhetoric?||Rhetoric distributes power: 1. Personal power, 2. psychological power, 3. political power.|
|Chapter 2: The Origins and Early History of Rhetoric|
|What benefits, practices and personal qualities characterized the Sophists?||The Sophists learned how to present ideas in the best light and most persuasive way. According to Plato, they were more concerned with winning an argument than presenting the truth. They taught for money.|
|What educational revolution did the Sophist introduce into Athenian society? Why were these teachers of rhetoric controversial in Athens?||The Sophist made a form of education available to the middle class that was formally reserved for the wealthy. This allows the middle class to argue more effectively in court, and it allowed the middle class to enter politics.|
|What was the Sophists view of truth?||The Sophist had a very relative and nihilistic view of truth. This is one reason that Socrates had such a problem with the Sophists. He was constantly trying to get them to define virtue in an absolute way. Socrates asked what does virtue have that nothing else has.|
|Why was the concept of a clash of views important to the Sophists?||The Sophist used a method called the dissoi logoi (dis-soy luh-goy), in which they practiced argue both sides of an argument. Gorgias believed that in order to be most persuasive you must know the argument so well, that you could argue either side with equal veracity.|
|What was the eristic rhetoric, and why might some Athenians have been bothered by the practice?||Eristic rhetoric regards arguing for no other reason than to win an argument, regardless of truth. Socrates, in his dialogue with Meno and Euthademius, they developed arguments based on grammatical tricks of language that had not basis in logic. Their arguments used syllogisms that created tricks of language to make an point to win an argument. Persuasion was more important than justice.|
|Why, in your own words, was the study of rhetoric important to the citizens of ancient Athens?||It opened educational opportunities to the middle class and to women. It provided better access to the public to fair court system and a voice in politics.|
|What threat did the Sophists pose to traditional Greek society?||If
the middle class had access to the courts and political system, it took this
control away from the Aristocracy.
Also, Many of the Sophists, like Isocrates, pursued an ateleological view of nature. There was more of an agnostic view of the gods. Socrates believed that if the Athenians swore an oath that he or she believed was backed up by a deity, the Athenian was more likely to keep the oath and be virtuous. If there were no gods to back up oaths, Athenians would be less virtuous.
|What claims did the Sophists make about their teachings?||The Sophists taught, basically, that they could make a boy into a man. That they could impart arete, how to manage their life with maturity and how to be a leader.|
|What did Gorgias see as the relationship between rhetoric and magic?||He believed that there were formulas of verbal tricks that could be used. It was like combining a ingredients to a magic position. If you had a bag of tricks from which you could pull argument methods, you could bedazzle your audience with flowery speech. The cleverness of speech could convinced without appealing to the veracity of the argument.|
|What goal did Isocrates seek through his emphasis on pan-Hellenism?||Isocrates wanted to unite the warring city-states of Greece. He wanted to use rhetoric to argue causes versus military might. He felt that if the average citizen was able to participate in the courts and political system that this would unit Greece, allowing for an expand Greece. ' Demosthenes (b.384–d.322 BCE) [day-mos-thin-eez] also wanted this, and he was hunted down by Antipater and killed for it.|
|Who was Aspasia?||She was a companion to Pericles, who was a powerful Athenian politician prior to the Peloponnesian War (431 - 404 BCE). She was an expert in politics and rhetoric, writing speeches for Pericles. Even Socrates mentions that Aspasia taught him rhetoric. She did this at a time that women's rights were very poor. Women did not receive education. Many of the Sophist, who taught for money, would also teach women. This opened the door for women. Socrates believed that women should be educated, but for different reasons. Because he believed in reincarnation, he felt that those who were reincarnated could have been a man or woman into a non-gender specific body. See timeline at 440 BCE and what Plutarch said about her.|
|Chapter 3: Plato Versus the Sophists: Rhetoric on Trial|
|What were Plato's main objections in Gorgias to rhetoric as practiced by the Sophists?||Plato
felt that rhetoric placed the value of winning an argument over the value of
truth and justice. He felt that this caused persuasion to be the basis of law
and justice. Rhetoric, he felt, was willing to use verbal trickery to
persuade, even if the result created injury.
Plato felt it was immoral to take money for the teaching of rhetoric. This lead to a willingness to teach rhetoric to accomplish immoral feats in the courts and political will. With rhetoric, they could affect
Plato also felt that they exaggerated their pedagogical claims. In other words, they promised they could teach more than was possible for them to teach - like arete.
|Why is Plato concerned about the difference between mere belief and true knowledge?||Plato felt that belief was the result of persuasion regardless of truth, virtue and justice. Belief was most important to the Sophists because they were relativist to the point of nihilism. Plato was always concerned about defining nouns to an categories that had only one shared value, one unified truth. The Sophists were all about the plurality of virtues.|
|What criteria must a pursuit satisfy in order to be considered a techne by Plato?||It must have good results that it regularly targets and achieves and must be unique - in other words, not covered by some other techne.|
|Plato argues in Gorgias that rhetoric is a sham art. He also discusses a number of true arts. What is the true art to which rhetoric corresponds? What does Plato apparently mean by this comparison?||Plato
contrasts the true art of justice with rhetoric. Plato calls rhetoric the
counterfeit art of Justice, like putting on makeup is the counterfeit art to
physical fitness (which he calls gymnastics).
Maintenance arts for the body: Gymnastics (Physical fitness) - counterfeit = Makeup
Restoration art for the body: Medicine - counterfeit = cookery (mom's chicken soup cures)
Maintenance art for the soul: Legislation with a knowledge of virtue and vice - Counterfeit = sophistic (long speeches)
Restoration art for the soul: Justice (teaching true knowledge of virtue) - counterfeit = rhetoric
true art of Justice was intended to restore health to a soul that was ailing
due to committing unjust actions. Rhetoric did not provide the soul with
knowledge required to live justly. Instead, it potentially persuaded you to
believe that the actions were just. This caused people to live even more
unjustly. It's interesting that Plato uses the analogy of Justice being
medicine for the soul, as Gorgias' brother was a doctor.
Gorgias relates how his brother would hire him to persuade patients to allow his brother to operate on them.
Many times, the lack of a good anesthesia caused some much anxiety, that Gorgias would come in and convince the patient to allow the operation.
|What are the various types of souls Plato discusses in Phaedrus?||Plato
argued that there were three parts to the soul:
1. One part that loves wisdom
2. One part that loves nobility and honor (like military men)
3. One part that loves appetite or lusts
In Plato's myth of the Charioteer, he compares the 3 parts of the soul to a winged-horse chariot. Wisdom is the charioteer. One horse is noble and handsome and of good breeding. The other horse is just the opposite. This horse is strong and uncontrollable, representing the appetite and lusts of the soul. Wisdom must persuade nobility and lust to cooperate. To do this, wisdom must learn what the other two parts love and create a discourse between nobility and lust, with each owing a promise to give the other part what it loves.
|What is the specific role assigned to a true art of rhetoric by Plato in Phaedrus?||The
true rhetorician must be a philosopher. "The true art of persuasive
speech would aim to bring order to society through a thorough study of the
human soul, the different types of people, and the power of words."
The art of influencing or leading the soul through words. He tries to provide a better definition for rhetoric than the sophists. Since the "truth" is the foundation of rhetoric, Plato is very concerned about properly defining objects. He wants to categorize objects into an "every" and "only" category. There is no plurality in Socrates truth.
If words are to be used to affect the soul, Plato wants the user to understand the types of souls so that the rhetoric can be adjusted to best address the needs of the particular type of soul. Plato wants the rhetor to help the soul find balance and order in the struggle between wisdom and desire.
|Do you agree with Socrates that rhetoric works best "among the ignorant"? Can rhetoric still be employed when an audience becomes better informed? Does the quality of an audience govern the quality of the rhetoric it is likely to hear?||Yes,
I agree that rhetoric works best among the less informed. For example, topics
such as religion. People want to believe religion and are willing to forgo
empirical evidence in favor of ideas. If rhetoric produces belief, faith is a
It is more difficult to use rhetoric to produce belief with an informed audience. For example, if you wanted to create the belief that global warming is a hoax, it is very easy to do among a more pedestrian crowd than in front to scientists.
The quality of the audience absolutely determines the quality of rhetoric, as the rhetorician must know the baseline of beliefs within his or her audience. If you want to create beliefs outside of the bounds of this baseline, your rhetoric must be more substantive.
|Based on your reading in chap. 2, has Plato been fair to the Sophist? Does he have a good argument against them.||Yes, I believe he has been fair, but only in light of the evidence submitted. If the Sophists really do ply their trade for money, and are willing to create belief regardless of truth, their craft must be criticized. In other ways, the Sophist empowered the disadvantaged and did much good.|
|Chapter 4: Aristotle on Rhetoric|
|1. How is Aristotle's view of rhetoric different from Plato's?|
|2. Aristotle called rhetoric the counterpart (antistrophos) of dialectic. In what ways are the two arts similar, and how are the different?|
|3. What does Aristotle mean by "artistic proofs"? (entechnoi pisteis)?|
|4. What are the three types of artistic proofs Aristotle identifies, and with what is each concerned?|
|5. What is an enthymeme?|
|Questions for Discussion|
|1. Describe the courses someone might take in a modern university in order to learn the components of the art of rhetoric as Aristotle describes that art in the Rhetoric.|
|2. Many Greek of Aristotle's day believed that good character was a more reliable for of proof that was physical evidence. The reasoning behind this preference, apparently, was that it is much easier to fake physical evidence that it is good character. What do you think of this view of the relative reliability of physical evidence, which Aristotle treats as an inartistic proof about which he has little to say, and good character, which he makes perhaps the most important and persuasive of the three artistic proofs?|
|3. What is your response to Aristotle's argument that studying rhetoric is useful for (a) defending the truth, (b) adapting complicated ideas to a large and untrained audience, © thinking through both sides of a case, and (d) self-defense? Are these still good reasons for studying the subject, or have things changed too much since Aristotle's day for these reasons still to hold? Is there any use of rhetoric that should be added to Aristotle's list?|