Rhetoric as a Liberal Art 09/12/2017
Liberal arts tradition finds its beginning in ancient Greece and Rome ∙ Artes Liberales described those subjects or areas of study or knowledge necessary for a free person to actively participate in civic and political life
∙ The core liberal arts were grammar, logic, and rhetoric; arithmetic, geometry
∙ Ancient Greece- rhetoric provided the necessary “tools” for citizenship and active political participation
∙ Defending oneself in the law courts (there were no lawyers back then)
∙ Speaking out for or against a particular political position in
∙ Praising the actions of other citizens at formal state festivals ∙ Mourning the dead
∙ Clearly expressing ones thoughts and ideas to the broader public and, in so doing, gaining respect and influence
Today, we think of a “liberal arts” education as one designed to train the whole person versus teaching one particular skill-set or preparing for a specific vocation
With the increase in STEM fields, there has been much debate about the value or practical use of liberal arts
∙ We need rhetoric – and the perspectives rhetoric provides – now more than ever
Rhetoric as a Liberal Art
∙ Trains us to express complex ideas in clear writing and speech ∙ Helps us distinguish vetted fact from superstition, rumor, and unexamined conventional wisdom
∙ Allows us to reason logically and statistically, avoiding the fallacies and biases to which the untutored human mind is vulnerable
∙ Reminds us of human fallibility
∙ Teaches us to appreciate that people who disagree with us are not stupid or evil
∙ Enables us to appreciate the value of trying to change minds by persuasion rather than intimidation or demagoguery
The invention of rhetoric:
∙ Rise of Democracy
∙ Shift from Orality to Literacy
∙ Influence of Pericles “First, Citizens”
Key Rhetorical Figures in Ancient Greece
∙ 480-380 BCE Gorgias We also discuss several other topics like ∙ How does NAD+trap electrons from glucose?
∙ 480-380 BCE Pericles
∙ 5th Century Aspasia
∙ 400 BCE Dissoi Logoi
∙ 436-338 BCE Isocrates
∙ 428-347 BCE Plato
∙ 382-322 BCE Aristotle
Who were the Sophists?
1. Teachers of the Athenian
2. Believed knowledge/reality was subjective, not objective 3. Rejected the idea of an absolute, knowable Truth
4. Saw “rhetoric” or “reasoned speech” (logos) as a way to uncover multiple sides of or perspectives to a argument
5. Committed to discovering the probable (eikos)
6. Approached education as a way to better oneself – virtue and wisdom (arête) could be taught
7. Preferred conventional wisdom and opinion (doxa) to true knowledge (episteme)
8. Introduced the concept of the right or fitting time (kairos) Rhetoric – rhetorike (greek) which comes from two words rhetor (public speaker) and ike (the art or skill of)
Invention – invenire (Latin) which means to come upon, discover, find out
Theory – theoros (greek) which describes the action of viewing or of sight theoria (latin) which means speculation, contemplation, or careful thought If you want to learn more check out what is calvinism?
Practice – Praxis (latin) which means “action, practice, direct practical experience, habitual mode of action, method, technique”
Logos – demonstatre shift that we can have discussions about language
He is well known because he speaks in such a way you want to listen to him
∙ Effective thoughtful speech that was his own
Gorgias “Encomium of Helen”
∙ Encomium = praise of a person or thing
1. How does Gorgias define speech (logos)?
∙ A powerful lord which implies it has the ability to dictate, to control ∙
2. What is the purpose or potential of this kind of speech (logos)? ∙ To defend Helen bc she’s been wrongfully blamed
∙ 4 reasons
o she was taken by physical force by the gods.
o She cant withstand the force of the gods
o persuasion of speech
o swayed by love
3. What persuasive powers are assigned to the speaker?
4. What sort of agency does the audience have, if any?
∙ You cant resist against the gods
∙ Don’t have a choice on how to respond
5. What are the moral and ethical implications of this view of speech (logos)
∙ speech is a power lord, as powerful as the gods, as physical force ∙ don’t blame the power of rhetoric, blame the people
Key Takeaways of Encomium of Helen:
1. It is a demonstration or display (epidexis) of Gorgias’ own rhetorical prowess and skill
2. It offers an argument that speech (logos) can be just as powerful as the gods, physical force, seduction, and the power of love 3. It introduces the question of whether rhetoric itseld or those who use and/or abuse it are responsible for its moral/ethical implications We also discuss several other topics like What is the purpose of conducting an experiment?
Guiding Q’s for reading
1. how does this author define speech (logos) or rhetoric?
2. what is the purpose or potential of this kind of speech (logos) or rhetoric?
3. what persuasive powers are assigned to the speaker?
4. what sort of agency does the audience have, if any?
5. what are the moral and ethical implications of this view of speech (logos) or rhetoric?
It’s a relfection of Protagoras, who famously says,
“Of all things the measure is man, of things that are that they are, and of things that are not that they are not” If you want to learn more check out What are the Roles of Marketing in Strategic Planning?
∙ Illness is bad for the sick but good for the doctors
∙ Death is bad for those who die, but good for the undertakers and grave-diggers
∙ Bad for a ship-owner if his merchant-ships are involved in a collision or get smashed up, but good for the shipbuilders
∙ Bad for everyone else, but good for a potter if pottery gets smashed
1. it is a demonstration or display (epidexis) of sophistic intellectual training and formal argument
2. it seems to create a form of situational ethics, or a subjective view of moralitu and how we define what is “real”
3. It reveals the power of reasoned speech or offer multiples perspectives of view
4. suggests that the speaker/orator has the capacity to use language for their own perspective ends We also discuss several other topics like If blood to too thick what happens to blood pressure?
What is agency?
∙ The ability to speak in such a way that your community will listen to you
∙ The capacity to act, that is, to have the competence to speak to write in such a way that will be recognized or heeded by others in one’s community. Such competency permits entry into ongoing cultural conversations and is the sine qua non (something absolutely necessary) of public participation
∙ “ Whatever else it may be, rhetorical agency refer to the capacity to act, that is , to have the competence to speak or write in such a way that will be recognized or heeded by others in ones community. Such competency permits entry into ongoing cultural conversations and is the sine qua non [ something absolutely necessary] of public participation.”
Aspasia of Miletus
∙ From Miletus, a far eastern Greek subject ally, cultivated city known for literacy and philosophy
∙ Arrives in Athens around 440 BCE, already well educated and free of gendered expectations put on Athenian-born women of the time ∙ Becomes mistress of Pericles and lives with him until his death ∙ Her intellectual abilities are praised by Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, Plutarch, and Athenaeus We also discuss several other topics like Is ventral rami sensory or motor?
∙ Becomes Pericles mistress until his death.
∙ Her intellectual ability is praised by Plato, Xenophron, Cicero, Plutarch, and Athenaeus.
∙ “the specialist in sophistic learning and teach of speechwriting to Pericles” (Athenaeus)
∙ “Socrates’ teacher in rhetoric”
∙ “I marvel that Aspasia, who is only a woman, should be able…”
What is agency? (Campbell)
1. Communal and participatory
2. Invented by authors or speakers
3. Emerges in artistry or craft
4. Effected through form
5. Ambiguous and open to reversal (can be used for good or evil) Isocrates
∙ Student of Gorgias and a contemporary of Plato
∙ A product of his historical context, specifically the Peloponnesian War (431-404BCE)
o Against the Sophists (390 BCE)
o Antidosis (353 BCE)
o Influenced heavily by the war
Isocrates on Rhetoric in Against the Sophists
1. What is Isocrates issue with the Sophists?
∙ They charge their students
∙ They look down on their students
∙ They make the promise that they can teach them everything about all of life and Isocrates doesn’t think they can fulfill that
∙ He thinks its immoral and not possible to make the claim to teach everyone everything there is to know about life
2. What is Isocrates issue with teachers of political oratory [politkoi logoi]?
∙ They focus on persuasion not necessarily the truth
∙ Its not collaborative or discussion oriented, they just use techniques of persuasion to make them do what they want them to do We need individuals that can address people differently and fit the audience.
∙ Like a science or formula
3. What does Isocrates teach us about how to compose a speech? ∙ You need to think about the fitness of occasion, propriety of style, and originality of treatment
∙ Join evidence together and arrange them properly
∙ Style the speech in a way that is pleasing to listen to
∙ Approach it with much study and a vigorous and imaginative mind ∙ Deal with situation, occasion, audience, thesis, arrangement ∙ Thesis
Isocrates on Rhetoric on Antidosis
1. How and why does Isocrates identify speech as a vital part of the human condition?
∙ Changes you as a person
∙ It connects and empowers us as human beings.
2. What is the purpose of “philosophy”?
∙ “speech is our guide and should be employed from those who have the most wisdom”
∙ a gymnastic of the mind, a way to train or excersize your mind to think and to reason
∙ Isocrates is trying to distance himself from the sophist.
3. What is the benefit of rhetorical education?
∙ Help citizens not only become moral and political leaders, but become philosophers and lovers of wisdom
∙ Pg.77 “I consider that the kind…”
4. Why does “philosophy” or practice of logos require judgment? Pg.78 “ In fact they appreciate…” pg.79 “ For men who have been gifted”
1. Isocrates offers us a “middle view” between the sophists and Plato on the relationship between [Logos]. Probabilty [eikos].
Knowledge[episteme], truth, the fitting or right time [Kairos], and the education of ones mind and soul.
2.Isocrates introduces the idea that rhetorical training changes the whole person, not simply how one speaks.
3.Isocrates emphasizes the idea of judgement.
Epitaphios Logos= Athenian Funeral Oration, From the Greek word “epitaphios” (short speech honoring the dead)+ “logos” (discource about human reality, our experience, reasoned speech)
Epideixis= to display or show forth on or through something. According to plato, the goal of an epitaphios logos is to accomplish two things:
∙ 1. Extol (praise) the dead
∙ 2.Exhort (praise, motivate,encourage) the living
Where and how does this happen in the text?
An American style of epitaphios logos:
∙ 1. Filled with life and death metaphors.
The speech reflects Pericles funeral oration by:
1. Praising the dead
2. Influencing the living to fight on.
The speech also praises all men and unifies with the use of words such as we and us.
3. He mentions the history and current state of the democracy. The main difference to Lincolns speech and Pericles’ Oration is how he does not condemn the confederate side and explains how Americans have not held up the promise that all men were created equal.