Week Three: Rhetoric
Reflect on ‘rhetoric’: Read Aristotle’s Rhetoric, available in text version at http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/rhetoric.mb.txt
What are some of the key points Aristotle makes about rhetorical speech? Summarise these on your blog.
Simply put, Rhetoric is the art of speaking that persuades others (Mazzei 2015, p. 1). The term rhetoric is commonly correlated with Aristotle (Ames 2016). Aristotle’s Rhetoric was written in 350 BCE and is still frequently referenced today. The text itself is broken into two books, book one and book two. It would be a mammoth task to thoroughly analyse and review the ancient text, therefore I have simplified key points of it.
Key points of Aristotle’s Rhetoric:
Aristotle focuses upon various modes of persuasive, namely; Ethos, Pathos and Logos.
Aristotle argued that a person’s character or Ethos is the centre of a successful speech. He maintained that the three features that inspire confidence in the speaker’s ethos is: ‘good sense, good moral character, and goodwill’ (Aristotle 350 B.C.E).
Pathos or emotion is a means of persuasion that Aristotle uses to persuade the mind.
Aristotle suggests seven emotions and their opposites that can be used by the speaker:
Anger/calmness, friendship/hostility, fear/confidence, shame/ boldness, kindness/ harshness, pity/resentment and envy/rivalry (Porter 2015).
Aristotle highlights logical reasoning or Logos as a crucial means of persuasion.
‘The truth is, as indeed we have said already, that rhetoric is a combination of the science of logic and of the ethical branch of politics; and it is partly like dialectic, partly like sophistically reasoning’ (Aristotle 350 B.C.E). Aristotle attests that reasoning is of highest significance, and must deliberated in every argument.
After reading Aristotle’s scientific approach to the art of persuasion, it is evident why the ancient text is still referred to today, almost 2000 years after it being written.
Watch In Defense of Rhetoric: No Longer Just for Liars:
Produced by graduate students of Professional Communication at the Clemson University in Southern California. This video sets the record straight on what rhetoric is. It clarifies common misconceptions on the subject, in addition to defending the ancient art of persuasion.
Academics in English and Professional Communication are interviewed to further break down common misconceptions on rhetoric and broaden viewers understanding on the extensive topic that is rhetoric.
It discusses how rhetoric is used in our everyday communication, regardless of who you are. Dr. Randy Nicholls, chair of the department of Professional Communication at Limestone College of Southern Carolina, argues that everyone uses rhetoric so that we can be understood, believed or agreed with.
Essentially the video is about encouraging people to fear not rhetoric, because we all use it throughout our own individual communication circumstances. This video also urges their audience to become more self-aware of their practices in order to enhance their personal and professional interaction outcomes.
Ames, K 2016, Module 2: Rhetoric, course notes, COMM12033: Speech and Script, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au
Aristotle, digital image, Wikimedia, viewed 26 March, 2016, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/Aristotle._Line_engraving_by_P._Fidanza_after_Raphael_Sanzio_Wellcome_V0000205.jpg
Aristotle. (350 B.C.E.) Rhetoric. Rhys Roberts, W. (Trans). Retrieved from http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/rhetoric.mb.txt
Art of Rhetoric, digital image, viewed 26 March 2016, http://tarynhutchison.com/wp-content/uploads/Art-of-rhetoric001_thumb.jpg
Clemson English 2011, In Defense of Rhetoric Video, video, 27 June, viewed 25 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYMUCz9bHAs&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
Mazzei, M 2015, ‘Rhetoric’, Salem Press Encyclopedia, Research Starters, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 May 2016.
Porter J, 2014, Jeremy Porter Communications, ‘Know the three modes of persuasion’ viewed March 22 2015, http://www.jrmyprtr.com/modes-of-persuasion/