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PUBLIC RHETORIC OF ARISTOTLE

/ The Greeks and Romans distinguished five parts, or divisions of thc stud-v of
rhetoric.
l lnvention - discovery ofconvincing arguments.
2. Arrangement - organizing material for best impact
3. St)le - selection ofappropriate lalguage
4. Delivcry - coordinating voice and gestures
5. Memory - mastery and rehearsal of content
/ The Greek philosopher Plato regarded rhetoric as mostly flattery. Far from seeing
it as an art, he described rhetoric as a .'Knack" similar to cooking or the clcver
use of cosmctics- Both are attempts to make things seem bette r than they realll'
are.
/ Aristotle. a student of Plato. made rhetoric as an academic subject. More than
2000 l ears ago- Aristotle's Rhetoric sl stematicalll explored the topics of speaker.
mcssagc, and audicnce.
/ Ancient Grsece $'as knou'n for its traveling speech teachers called sophists.
Particularly in Athens, these teachers trained aspiring larvy'ers and politicians to
participate effectivel-v in the courts and deliberative councils.

RHETORIC : MAKING PERSUASION PROBABLE

v/ Aristotle saw the firnction of rhetoric as the discovery in each case of '-the
availablc mears of persuasion." Hc never spcllcd out r.vhat he meant by
persuasion but his concem rvith non-coercive methods makes it clear that he ruled
out force of law, torture, and u'ar. His threefold classification ofspeech situations
according to the nature ofthe audience shoxs that he had affarrs ofstate in mind.
l. Courtroom (forcnsic) speaking which addresses iudges who are trying to
decide the facts ofa person's guilt or innocence.
2. Political (deliberative) speaking attempts to influence legislators or voters
llho decidc futurc polic1,.
3. Ceremonial (epidcictic) speaking heaps praise or blame on anotlle r for the
benefit of spectators.

/ Becausc the students of Aristotlc n'ere familiar with the question-and-ansncr style
of Socratic dialogue, Aristotle classified rhetoricas a counterpart or offshoot of
dialectic. Dialectic is one-on-one discussion; rhetoric is one person addressing
manl-: Dialectic is a search for truth: rhetoric tries to demonstrate truth that's
alreadl been found. Dialectic ansrvers general philosophical questions: rhetoric
addresses specific- practical ones. Dialectic deals with certaint): rhetoric deals
n i& probabiliS .
RHETORICAL PROOF: LOGOS, ETHOS, pATHOS

The available means of penuasion is based on three kinds of proof: Logical


(Logos), ethical (ethos) and elnotional (Pathos).
Logical proof comes from tle line argument in the speech, ethical proof is the
way the speaker's character is revealed through the message, and emotional proof
is the feeling the speech dralvs out ofthe hearers.

Logical proof: Lines of Argument that make sense

Aristotle focuses on two tenns of logical proof- the elthymerne and the cxample.
He regarded the enthymeme as "the strongest of the proofs." An enth;rmemi is
merely an incomplete version of a formal deductive syllogism.
Major or general premise: All people are created equal Minor or specific
premise: I am a person - Conclusion: I arn equal to other people.

Ethical Proof: Perceived Source Credibility

* According to Aristotle, it's enough for a speech to contain plausible argument.


'ot as well. Many audience
The speaker must seem credible impressions are formed
before the speaker ever begins.

l. Pcrceived intelligence: The qualirl,* of iltelligence has more to do with


practical wisdom and shared values than it does lvith training at plato.s
academy. Audiences judge intelligence by the overlap between their
beliefs and the speaker's ideas.
2. Virtuous Character: Character has to do $'ith the speaker's image as a
good honest person.
3. Good will: Good will is a positive judgment of the speaker's intention
toward the audience. Aristotle thought it possible for an orator to possess
extraordinary intelligence and sterlirg character. Yet still not have the
Iisteners' best interest at heart.
Although Aristotle's comments on ethos lvere stated in a felv brief sentences no other
portion ofhis Rhetoric has received such close scientific scrutinv.

Emotion Proof: Striking a Responsive Chord

.i. Aristotle believed that the effective speaker must knolv how to stir up various
emotions in &e audience. He catalogued a series of opposite feelings, then
explained the conditions under which each mood is experienced- and finally
described how the speaker can get an audience to feel that $'ay.

I. Anger Vs Mildness: Aristotle's discussion of aager rvas an early version


of Freud's fmstration-aggression hypothesis. People feel angry when they
are thuarted in their attempt to futfill a need. Remind them of
interpersonal insights, ard thcy rvill become irate. Show them that the
offender is sorr1. deserves praise, or has great power, and the audience
rvill calm dorvn.
2. Love or friendship Vs hatred: Co sistent rvith present-day research on
attraction, Aristotle considered similarly as the kev to mutual lvarmth The
speaker must point out common goals, experience, attitudes and desires.
3. Fest Vs Confidence: Fear comes from mental image of potential disaster'
The speaker should paint a vivid llold picture ofthe tragedy, showing that
its occurrence is probable.
4. Shame Vs Shamelessne ss: We feel cmbarrassed or guilty lvhen loss is due
to our o$,n weakness or vice. The emotion is e specialll'' acutc $'hen a
speaker recites our failings in the presoncs of famil.v, fiiends- or those n'e
admire.
) lndignation Vs Pity: We all have a built-in sense of faimess. Appeal to the
faimess ofpersons.
6. Admiration Vs. Envl : Pe oplc admire moral viftue' porver, rl ealth, and
bcauty. Bl demonstrating that an individual has acquired life's goods
through hard lvork rathcr than merc luck. admiration rvill increase

THW FIVE CANONS OF RHETORIC

* Although the organization of Aristotle's Rhetonc is somewhat puzzling, scholars


and practitioneri s.vnthesize his tvords into four distinct standards for measuring
the quality ofa spiaker: the construction ofan argument (invention)' ordering of
material lanangeinent)- selection oflanguage (s\1c), and techniques of delivery,.

L lnvention: To generate effectivc enthymemes and examples' the speaker


clrar,vs on both specialized knorvledge abor'rt the subject and general lines
of rcasoning comnon to all kinds of speeches. Orato r hunts for arguments
as hunter hunts for game.
2. Arrangement: Thcre are tlvo pats to a spcech: for it is nec€ssary first to
state ihe subject and then to demonstrale it Tho introduction should
capture attention- establish credibili4' aId make clear the purpose of the
speech. The conclusion should remind the listeners rvhat -vou have said
und l"uu" them feeling good about you and your ideas
3. Style: Aristotle believed that '-to leam easily rs naturall-v plcasant to all
people," and that "metaphor most brings about leaming " Usc metaphor
that has clarity, s\\'eetness and strangencss.
4. Memory: Ariitotle 's students needed no reminder that good speakers are
able to iraq,' upon a collection ofideas and phrases stored in the mind'
5. Delivery: Audieuces reject delivery that scerns planned or staged.
Naturalness is persuasivc: artificc' just the reverse Any form of
presentation that calls attention to itself takes awa)' from the speakers'
p roofs.
CRITIQUE

'?.Tor many teachers of public speaking, criticizing Aristotle's rhetoric is like


'
doubting Einstein's theory ofrelativity.
,, Failed to define what enthymeme mean
* ln Rhetonc. audiences are passive
* Wrong to play the emotions ofthe audience (an ethical issue)
.:. Rhetoric is a foundational theorv humanistic studies

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