Page # Bekker # Rhetoric by Aristotle, Translated by W. Rhys Roberts Comment Link
    Book I, Chapter One    
1, par.1 1354a Rhetoric is the counterpart of Dialectic.  This is reminiscent of Plato calling it a counterfit. However, he says that we can do it normally or improve with practice, which, in my opinion, is the the definition of an art.  Plato never had Socrates define art in the Gorgias, which was unlike him. Aristotle concludes the first paragraph by calling rhetoric an art, in blatant contrast to his teach, Plato.

Herrick, on p.75, says "Aristotle's Rhetoric opens with the statement the "rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic." The Greek word for "counterpart" is the same word used in the Gorgias for rhetoric being the counterpart of cookery."
1, par.1 1354a Aristotle seems to define rhetoric as occuring when we debate issues, defend ourself or attack others. Aristotle is probably mindful that rhetoric, to his peers (students of Plato), is probably less important.  
1, par.2 1354a Now, the framers of the current treatises on rhetoric have constructed but a small portion of that art He's saying that the Sophists barely scratched the surface to define the art.  
1, par.2 1354a These writers, however, say nothing about enthymemes, which are the substance of rhetorical persuasion, but deal mainly with non-essentials. [en-thuh-meem] Aristotle's word for an argument built from values, beliefs or knowledge held in common by speaker and audience. - Herrick p.9  
1, par.2 1354a The arousing of prejudice, pity, anger, and similar emotions has nothing to do with the essential facts, but is merely a personal appeal to the man who is judging the case. Aristotle is pointing out that rhetoric can use emotion to persuade, but that this does not address the true issues. Aristotle is considered the father of logic. His introduction of the enthymeme vs "non-essentials" is a case for a systematic approach to rhetoric.   
1, par.2 1354a It is not right to pervert the judge by moving him to anger or envy or pity -- one might as well warp a carpenter's rule before using it.  In other words, you will not get a fair ruling if you persuade by emotion any more than you could detect plumb with a warped carpenter's ruler.  
1, par.3 1354b   In this paragraph, Aristotle warns that the judge should make few rulings in court (compared to the voting of the jury)- in case he is affected by his friendship with the accused or swayed by emotion.  
2, par.1 1354b  [10] Hence, although the method of deliberative and forensic Rhetoric is the same, and although the pursuit of the former is nobler and more worthy of a statesman than that of the latter, which is limited to transactions between private citizens, they say nothing about the former, but without exception endeavor to bring forensic speaking under the rules of art. Regarding Deliberative Oratory, Herrick (p.80) points out that Aristotle spent much more time on this than Forensic Oratory. He also seems to equate Political Oratory and Deliberative Oratory synonymously. Basically, Deliberative Oratory affected the entire polis, whereas Forensic only one person. Forensic was also more prone to talk about "non essentials"- the things that would lead an rhetor to say unscrupulous things to create belief that the client is innocent.  
1, par.1 1354b,28 The reason for this is that in political oratory there is less inducement to talk about nonessentials. Things that distract from the core issue.  
1, par.1 1354b,34 In forensic oratory this is not enough; to conciliate the listener is what pays here. In other words, you must gain the trust of the listener.   
1, par.2   It is clear, then, that rhetorical study, in its strict sense, is concerned with the modes of persuasion.    
1, par.2 1355a,8 The enthymeme is a sort of syllogism, and the consideration of syllogisms of all kinds, without distinction, is the business of dialectic, either of dialectic as a whole or of one of its branches.  An enthymeme [en-tha-meem] is "true knowledge". Herrick says that it literally means "held in the mind" (p.79). The reference to the syllogism implies taking it from one premise (that the rhetor knows is mutually agreed upon by both speaker and the audience) to the next premise.

Herrick states "Aristotle believed that all rhetoric was characterized by such enthymemes, or arguments marked by premises that are unstated because they are accepted mutually by the speaker and the audience." (p.79)

The enthymeme seems to be that unspoken belief that is common in the minds of both the speaker and audience- or, if not in common, knowable.
      "The Aristotelian distinction between a syllogism and an enthymeme thus seems largely one of context--tightly reasoned philosophical discourse in the case of the syllogism versus popular speech or writing with resulting informality in the expression of the argument in an enthymeme."

Aristotle, On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse, trans. George A. Kennedy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) 33, Questia, 19 Jan. 2008
1, par.2 1355a,16 The true and the approximately true are apprehended by the same faculty; it may also be noted that men have a sufficient natural instinct for what is true, and usually do arrive at the truth. Hence the man who makes a good guess at truth is likely to make a good guess at probabilities. This reflects the fact that the courts voted more for probabilities than facts, which they thought could be conjured from bribe.  
1, par.4 1355a,21 Rhetoric is useful (1) because… He started by defining rhetoric and now he's telling why it is good. Once again, a contrast to Plato who demonized it in the Gorgias.
1. Aristotle tells us that rhetoric is useful because truth is easier to detect than a lie, so even a bad rhetorician should be able to move the process along. 2. Aristotle says, there are some people who are just too dense to grasp instruction. For these folks, you must persuade with words. 3. It's useful for understanding both sides of an issue (dissoi logoi). 4. It's useful for defending yourself

It's interesting how he's taking several ideas right from the Sophist's handbook.
  1355b,8 It is clear, further, that its function is not simply to succeed in persuading, but rather to discover the means of coming as near such success as the circumstances of each particular case allow. In this it resembles all other arts.  In other words, its good for more than persuading. It can be used to discovering the best way to improve the circumstance. Creating improvement is what makes it an art.

In Nicomachean Ethics 6.4, Aristotle says "All art is concerned with coming into being, i.e. with contriving and considering how something may come into being". This, he gleaned from Plato, who in the Theaetetus [thee-a-tee-tus] portrayed Socrates as a midwife of the intellect through dialectic. Aristotle is saying through rhetoric, betterment is born and justice is created. This is what makes it an art.

To Aristotle, just as one man uses a tool to shape stone, the rhetorician uses rhetoric as a tool to discern and persuade. Both are practicing their art to create something.
  1355b,20 What makes a man a "sophist" is not his faculty, but his moral purpose. In rhetoric, however, the term "rhetorician" may describe either the speaker's knowledge of the art, or his moral purpose. In dialectic it is different: a man is a "sophist" because he has a certain kind of moral purpose, a "dialectician" in respect, not of his moral purpose, but of his faculty. In other words, what makes a man a sophist is not his ability to argue, but his deliberate choice to persuade regardless of moral boundries (*). However, the rhetorician will be called to service due to his expertise or his power to persuade. The dialectician is called upon because he is able to persuade by the power of his ability to argue. (*) On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse, 1991, George A. Kennedy, p.36
  1355b,24 We must make as it were a fresh start, and before going further define what rhetoric is. It seems to me that Aristotle has in mind that he is addressing the students of Plato. He's saying, forget about what you learn about rhetoric from the Academy. Let's start fresh. Cleanse of previous conceptions.  
    Book I, Chapter Two    
  1355b,25 Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion. Rhetoric is the ability to figure out the best way to persuade in any given case.  
  1355b,27 This is not a function of any other art. Every other art can instruct or persuade about its own particular subject-matter;  Here Aristotle is following a practice of Plato, which ironically, causes his conclusion to disagree with Plato. Plato was very concerned about defining things so that he could show that every instance of a particular art shared this definition and that a particular art only had this definition. It's his "every and only" principle. Here, Aristotle is saying that only the art of rhetoric is defined as the practice of finding the best way to persuade in all other arts.  
  1356a,1 Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.  Herrick points out this 1. Ethos (speakers character), 2. Pathos (emotion of the audience) and 3. Logos (proofs the speaker brings to the speech) -p.85  
    Aristotle says that since rhetoric deals with ethics, and ethical studies are political, rhetoric masquerades as political science. Notice the use of the syllogism.  
    As a matter of fact, it [rhetoric] is a branch of dialectic and similar to it, as we said at the outset. Neither rhetoric nor dialectic is the scientific study of any one separate subject: both are faculties for providing arguments. This is perhaps a sufficient account of their scope and of how they are related to each other. Remembering that Aristotle is a biologist, it is interesting to see him classifying rhetoric as branching from dialectic. He notably places dialectic first, with rhetoric flowing from it as a branch like two related species that were different enough that they could not inter breed.  
  1356b,1 just as in dialectic there is induction on the one hand and syllogism or apparent syllogism on the other, so it is in rhetoric.  In other words, in dialectic, you have a syllogism on one hand, and principles that follow from that logic- Rhetoric works the same way.  
  1356b,3 The example is an induction, the enthymeme is a syllogism, and the apparent enthymeme is an apparent syllogism. I call the enthymeme a rhetorical syllogism, and the example a rhetorical induction.  I think he just means that there is structured logic within rhetoric. In other words, you move from something that the audience understands to be true to a logical conclusion when your proofs are applied.  
  1356b,10 and since every one who proves anything at all is bound to use either syllogisms or inductions (and this is clear to us from the Analytics ), it must follow that enthymemes are syllogisms and examples are inductions. Examples are inductions in the way examples show the general principles of the enthymeme (syllogism).  
  1356b,24 Speeches that rely on examples are as persuasive as the other kind, but those which rely on enthymemes excite the louder applause. In other words, stories are good, but logic moves your audience to a better understanding, resulting in better persuasion.  
    In either case it is persuasive because there is somebody whom it persuades. But none of the arts theorize about individual cases. Medicine, for instance, does not theorize about what will help to cure Socrates or Callias, but only about what will help to cure any or all of a given class of patients In other words, rhetoric persuades about individual and specific items within an art.  
    In the same way the theory of rhetoric is concerned not with what seems probable to a given individual like Socrates or Hippias, but with what seems probable to men of a given type; and this is true of dialectic also. Once again, Aristotle speaks of knowing what your audience believes to be true.  
    Dialectic does not construct its syllogisms out of any haphazard materials, such as the fancies of crazy people, but out of materials that call for discussion; and rhetoric, too, draws upon the regular subjects of debate.  It will move from what the communities believes to be true to the results implied in the rhetoric.  
    The enthymeme and the example must, then, deal with what is in the main contingent, the example being an induction, and the enthymeme a syllogism, about such matters. The enthymeme must consist of few propositions, fewer often than those which make up the normal syllogism. For if any of these propositions is a familiar fact, there is no need even to mention it; the hearer adds it himself. Thus, to show that Dorieus has been victor in a contest for which the prize is a crown, it is enough to say "For he has been victor in the Olympic games," without adding "And in the Olympic games the prize is a crown," a fact which everybody knows. I think he is saying, the items you will use as proofs (enthymemes and examples) must target your premiss. The examples you use must be principles that move the audience toward persuasion. Your enthymeme must move the the matter logically and simply from the known to the probable. Your main premise must require logic to puzzle it out, and your examples should lead the audience to your conclusion.  
      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. p.15  
    Skipping to chapter 3    
    Book I, Chapter 3    
  1358b Rhetoric falls into three divisions, determined by the three classes of listeners to speeches. For of the three elements in speech-making -- speaker, subject, and person addressed -- it is the last one, the hearer, that determines the speech's end and object. As if he's classifying types of plants…  
    From this it follows that there are three divisions of oratory-(1) political, (2) forensic, and (3) the ceremonial oratory of display. This, Herrick referred to as 1. Deliberative Oratory - political, 2. Epideictic Oratory - ceremonial such as a funeral, 3. Forensic Oratory - legal pleading  
  1359a Rhetoric has three distinct ends in view, one for each of its three kinds. 1. The political speech aims to show why something is good or bad for the community. 2. Legal speech seek to show something just or unjust. 3. the epideictic speech gives praise or blame.  
    Since only possible actions, and not impossible ones, can ever have been done in the past or the present, and since things which have not occurred, or will not occur, also cannot have been done or be going to be done, it is necessary for the political, the forensic, and the ceremonial speaker alike to be able to have at their command propositions about the possible and the impossible, and about whether a thing has or has not occurred, will or will not occur.  Aristotle is placing rhetoric in a three-dimensional definition. One dimension is substance: Deliberative - political, Epideictic - ceremonial and Forensic - legal. The second dimension is time: Deliberative - future, Epideictic - present, and Forensic - past. The third dimension is Conclusion: Deliberative - acceptance or rejection, Epideictic - honor or disgrace and Forensic - just or unjust.  
    Further, all men, in giving praise or blame, in urging us to accept or reject proposals for action, in accusing others or defending themselves, attempt not only to prove the points mentioned but also to show that the good or the harm, the honour or disgrace, the justice or injustice, is great or small, either absolutely or relatively; and therefore it is plain that we must also have at our command propositions about greatness or smallness and the greater or the lesser -- propositions both universal and particular. Thus, we must be able to say which is the greater or lesser good, the greater or lesser act of justice or injustice; and so on. The third dimension  
    Book II, Chapter One    
  1377b   Chapter 3 begins by reminding the student that the results are of such importance, that the student must make sure the audience finds him credible (ethos) and his proofs believable (logos) and he must get his audience in the right frame of mind (pathos).   
  1378a   Aristotle admonishes the student to understand how an audience reacts when angry versus friendly. If they feel friendly, they are more apt to feel he's done little wrong.  
    There are three things which inspire confidence in the orator's own character -- the three, namely, that induce us to believe a thing apart from any proof of it: good sense, good moral character, and goodwill.  Aristotle goes on to say that your audience will form a bad opinion because they don't have good sense - or, they may form the correct opinion, but because they are a bad person, they will vote badly. Or, the audience may be sensible and upright, but they just don't like the speaker.  
      He goes on to say that the speaker must know these three things about anger. 1. How angry are they. 2. What type of people make them angry and 3. What is it that makes them angry.  
  1378a Anger may be defined as an impulse, accompanied by pain, to a conspicuous revenge for a conspicuous slight directed without justification towards what concerns oneself or towards what concerns one's friends.     
      He defines anger as the result of being slighted. The feeling of anger the person has is accompanied with a certain pleasure - the fantasy of revenge.  
    There are three kinds of slighting -- contempt, spite, and insolence. (1) Contempt is one kind of slighting: you feel contempt for what you consider unimportant, and it is just such things that you slight. (2) Spite is another kind; it is a thwarting another man's wishes, not to get something yourself but to prevent his getting it. The slight arises just from the fact that you do not aim at something for yourself: clearly you do not think that he can do you harm, for then you would be afraid of him instead of slighting him, nor yet that he can do you any good worth mentioning, for then you would be anxious to make friends with him. (3) Insolence is also a form of slighting, since it consists in doing and saying things that cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to yourself, or because anything has happened to yourself, but simply for the pleasure involved. In summary, the three types of slight that cause anger: 1. We get angry when we are not treated with respect. 2. You are prevented from getting what you want. 3. Those who insult you because they think they are superior.  
    Book II, Chapter Eighteen    
    The use of persuasive speech is to lead to decisions. In this paragraph, he states that the persuasion may be for one person, many, a judge or a proposition.  
  1391b We have further determined completely by what means speeches may be invested with the required moral character. We are now to proceed to discuss the arguments common to all oratory.  We've discussed what it takes to persuade, now let's look at types of arguments.  
      Types of arguments: 1. Something is possible or impossible. 2. Something happened or it didn't happen. 3. Something is bigger or smaller than it seems.  
    That if the harder of two things is possible, so is the easier. That if a thing can come into existence in a good and beautiful form, then it can come into existence generally; thus a house can exist more easily than a beautiful house.  Regarding possible or impossible, he argues that if something complex can exist, sometime similar by less complex can exist.  
    That if the end is possible, so is the beginning; for all things that occur have a beginning. Establishing common field of view  
    That where the parts are possible, the whole is possible; and where the whole is possible, the parts are usually possible. He says usually because in the example of having a child, the parents cannot beget the parts (*) (*) On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse, 1991, George A. Kennedy, p.175
  1392b That if a thing can be produced without art or preparation, it can be produced still more certainly by the careful application of art to it. Hence Agathon has said:

    To some things we by art must needs attain,
    Others by destiny or luck we gain.
Agathon was a student of Gorgias. He was present at Plato's Symposium with Socrates and others. Agathon gives an epideictic speech in praise of love at the Symposium. Wiki
  1392b,14 That if anything is possible to inferior, weaker, and stupider people, it is more so for their opposites; thus Isocrates said that it would be a strange thing if he could not discover a thing that Euthynus had found out. As for Impossibility, we can clearly get what we want by taking the contraries of the arguments stated above. Isocrates wrote a letter called Against Euthynus. In which, Isocrates tells of the plight of Nicias, who was a friend of Isocrates. At the conclusion of the the Peloponnesian war in 404 BCE, Sparta placed a handful of Athenian aristocrates in charge of Athens. They would become known as the Thirty Tyrants.  When they came to power, Isocrates' friend, Nicias, fled for fear they would take all of his possessions. Nicias entrusted 3 talents of silver to a man named Euthynus. When Nicias returned for his silver, Euthynus returned only two talents of silver. Isocrates says that because Euthynus was not a trained speaker, he would make the case against Euthynus.  He argued that it was more probable that Euthynus retained a talent of silver than it was for Nucias to make such a fuss. Link
    Questions of Past Fact may be looked at in the following ways: First, that if the less likely of two things has occurred, the more likely must have occurred also.  In the letter against Euthynus, he shows that it was more probable that Nicias was telling the truth.  
    That if a man had the power and the wish to do a thing, he has done it; for every one does do whatever he intends to do whenever he can do it, there being nothing to stop him.  In other words, showing motivation.  
  1393a,26 since therefore in each type oratory the object under discussion is some kind of good -- whether it is utility, nobleness, or justice -- it is clear that every orator must obtain the materials of amplification through these channels. Here he agains outlines the three types of rhetoric: Utility  (Deliberative) and Nobleness (Epideictic) and justice (Forensic). In other words, the rhetorician should hone in on one of these qualities in his discussion of the matter. Amplify is the greek word [auxēsis] (*). (*) On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse, 1991, George A. Kennedy, p.178
      Auxesis is a form of hyperbole, in which something is referred to by a term disproportionate to its importance for the very purpose of amplifying that thing's importance or gravity.

It can be contrasted with meiosis and litotes, which make deliberate use of understatement. (Wiki)
  1393a These are of two main kinds (of oratory), "Example" and "Enthymeme"; for the "Maxim" is part of an enthymeme.    
  1393a We will first treat of argument by Example, for it has the nature of induction, which is the foundation of reasoning.  In other words, using examples of which the audience already knows the conclusion produces principles prior to the conclusion of your argument. From these agreed upon principles, you can build your case.  
    This form of argument has two varieties; one consisting in the mention of actual past facts, the other in the invention of facts by the speaker. Of the latter, again, there are two varieties, the illustrative parallel and the fable (e.g. the fables of Aesop, those from Libya). So your example can either be from real facts (illustrative parallel) or a fable (one that you invent or one that is known).  
  1393b   He gives an example from Socrates, who said it was a bad idea to select the best athlete by lot. Everyone knows they must compete and prove themselves to be the best. By making this connection, he says- Similarly, we should not chose public officials by lot.  
  1394a   Aristotle then says to make sure you give your Enthymeme first and your examples last. Build the case through logical proofs, then give examples that illustrate.  
    Book II, Chapter Twenty-Two    
  1395b Educated men lay down broad general principles; uneducated men argue from common knowledge and draw obvious conclusions.  Once again, he stresses to know your audience.  
      Aristotle admonishes to know all of the facts before starting an argument.  
  1396a Suppose it to be Achilles whom we are to advise, to praise or blame, to accuse or defend; here too we must take the facts, real or imaginary; these must be our material, whether we are to praise or blame him for the noble or base deeds he has done, to accuse or defend him for his just or unjust treatment of others, or to advise him about what is or is not to his interest.  Once again, the three forms of rhetoric: praise or blame (epideictic), accuse or defend (forensic) and to advise him (deliberative).  
  1396b We will begin, as we must begin, by observing that there are two kinds of enthymemes. One kind proves some affirmative or negative proposition; the other kind disproves one. The difference between the two kinds is the same as that between syllogistic proof and disproof in dialectic. The demonstrative enthymeme is formed by the conjunction of compatible propositions; the refutative, by the conjunction of incompatible propositions. In other words, one demonstrates the fact and the other refutes it.  
    Book II, Chapter Twenty-Three    
    1. One line of positive proof is based upon consideration of the opposite of the thing in question. Observe whether that opposite has the opposite quality. If it has not, you refute the original proposition; if it has, you establish it. E.g. "Temperance is beneficial; for licentiousness is hurtful." Or, as in the Messenian speech, "If war is the cause of our present troubles, peace is what we need to put things right again." Or --

    For if not even evil-doers should
    Anger us if they meant not what they did,
    Then can we owe no gratitude to such
    As were constrained to do the good they did us.

Or --

    Since in this world liars may win belief,
    Be sure of the opposite likewise-that this world
    Hears many a true word and believes it not.
The method of antithesis.