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Herrick Discussion on Sophists

by: Mariah Tucker

Herrick Discussion on Sophists COMM 6120-01

Marketplace > Southern Utah University > Communication > COMM 6120-01 > Herrick Discussion on Sophists
Mariah Tucker
GPA 3.7

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About this Document

These notes cover the discussion we had in class about Herrick and his overview of sophists and rhetoric in ancient Greece and Rome.
Qualitative Communication Research
Dr. Kevin Stein
Class Notes
rhetoric, history, Greece, Rome, communication, philosophy
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mariah Tucker on Saturday September 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COMM 6120-01 at Southern Utah University taught by Dr. Kevin Stein in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Qualitative Communication Research in Communication at Southern Utah University.


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Date Created: 09/17/16
Qualitative Communication Dr. Kevin Stein Herrick Reading Discussion The Herrick reading was basically a lengthy history on the development of rhetoric over time, so we discussed the different highlights of the work. Aristotle defines rhetoric as the opposite of dialectic. Kevin discussed the way that sophists began teaching in Athens, and how the Athenians weren’t really fond of them, because they were not from Athens. The Athenians were also not too keen on the idea of charging people for knowledge. Sophists were considered to be deceitful by the philosophers, because they were charging money, and the philosophers were not convinced that the information they were teaching the people was worth as much as they said it was. Philosophers believed that enlightenment to others should be done for free instead of for money. We discussed a story about sophists Corax and Tisias. Tisias hired Corax to teach him how to argue in court using rhetoric, so he could get his land back. Tisias decided to take Corax to court, because he did not believe that Corax had taught him well enough to actually win his case. Both parties believed that either way they would win. Tisias believed that if he won it would prove that he could use rhetoric well, and if he lost, it would prove that Corax had not taught him well enough. Corax believed that if Tisias won, then it would prove that he had taught Tisias well enough, and if Tisias lost, then he would still essentially win the case. The judge threw this out, because it was ridiculous, but it was still used as an example in class. Kevin brought up Plato’s allegory of the cave. Essentially the allegory is about a group of individuals that basically spend a good part of their lives in a cave, where they are chained to the chairs, so they can only see what is directly in front of them. Behind them there is a fire, and throughout the day or their time there in general, they see shadows of people and animals on the wall in front of them from the fire. This is all they see day in and day out. One day one of the individuals is taken outside from that spot, where they can see real people, animals, and sunlight for basically the first time ever in their life. When they try to tell the others what they saw when they return to the cave, the others don’t believe something like that could even exist, because all they have seen is the cave wall. Gorgias “Nothing exists; even if something existed nothing can be know about it; and even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others.” Gorgias is essentially that nothing can truly be known, because everyone has a different interpretation of things. Everyone comes from a different background, so there are multiple interpretations of the same event or situation based on the way each person sees it. Everything essentially exists in a personal perception or view, so by Gorgias thinking, it is not possible for something to exist the same way for people as a whole. Gorgias is known for his writing Encomium of Helen, which essentially illustrates explaining a hard concept that they don’t necessarily believe or know a lot about. Kevin illustrated this by saying it would be similar to him explaining to someone why Donald Trump would be a good choice as a presidential candidate. Kevin doesn’t agree with Trump on multiple points, and rather dislikes him, so convincing someone to vote for him would be hard for Kevin to discuss Trump in a positive aspect for a potential presidential choice. Gorgias utilized chiasmus and antithesis in much of his writing. Chiasmus is basically using rhetoric and repeating a concept or phrase in reverse order to emphasize the meaning. As an example Kevin used John F. Kennedy’s quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” The words emphasize the importance of civic duty without directly saying that each person needs to serve their country. An antithesis combines two contrasting ideas to illustrate a point. Dr. Martin Luther King used antithesis in a speech when he said, “Injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Gorgias utilized both rhetorical tools in his writings. Protagoras was another well-known sophist during that era in history. He believed that people essentially create their own truths based on personal experiences and intelligence levels. He believed in the use of debate in order to discover truth among individuals. “Man is the measure for all things, of all things that are not that they are not of things that are that they are.” He is essentially saying that since people are all different the measures for determining validity and worth vary from person to person. Isocrates was a major egotist that founded the first rhetorical school in Athens. One of his most famous works is “Against the Sophists. He was considered to be a great teacher in Athens. When Kevin was talking about the ways that he was considered to be a superior teacher than other sophists of the time he compared Isocrates to a fully accredited and respected music school, and some of the other sophists at the time to a person that put up a flyer with their phone number on it, saying that they would teach someone guitar. You can still learn things from both options, but there is an option that is clearly superior if you really want to learn music. Aspasia was the only girl sophist, and historians believe that she actually taught Socrates. Some believe that Socrates never actually existed, so a few students in our class like the theory that Aspasia was Socrates. It can’t be proven, and there are probably not a lot of people who consider that to be an actual possibility, but it was an interesting thought briefly discussed in class. Many scholars believe that Aspasia may have invented the Socratic Method, so if we go by the theory that Aspasia is actually Socrates, it kind of works. It’s not absolute or even accepted by anyone outside of our classroom, but the theory was kind of fun in class. Historians believe that Aspasia was a possible partner of Pericles, and is considered to be an excellent writer and rhetorician. Plato wrote the dialogue between Socrates and Gorgias. Plato didn’t really like or respect Gorgias in any way, so he used this writing to make Gorgias look inferior to Socrates. He believes that knowledge isn’t always truth. He called knowledge a knack or cookery, because it’s isn’t absolute. He sees rhetoric as a development as opinion. He considers rhetoric to be a sham art for the soul. Kevin compared this thinking to the way fad diets work. They sound really appealing at first, but after a while it isn’t as interesting anymore, and isn’t applicable to your life as much. Aristotle was Plato’s student and his views were very different from Plato’s. Aristotle liked rhetoric and thought it to be a useful tool, while Plato believed that it wasn’t useful, and was essentially just a fancy expression of an opinion. Aristotle loved syllogisms and enthymemes. Syllogisms are reasoning tools that allow a reader to draw a conclusion from two premises. “All men are mortal, so all mortals are men.” The reader can draw a conclusion about men’s mortality from the premise stated in the beginning of the sentence. Enthymemes are similar except for the fact that the premise is not explicitly stated. “Socrates is mortal because he is human.” If you understand the premise of the mortality of people based on being human, you will understand that they are saying Socrates is a mortal man, without them explicitly saying that he is a mortal man. Types of Speech Arguments Deliberative: Usually used in political speeches to ensure the audience is getting the message clearly and accurately. Epideictic: Typically used in a special occasion such as a wedding toast. Forensic: This is the type of argument most commonly seen in the judicial system, specifically in the courts. Artistic: This form requires rhetorical skill. Ethos, Pathos and Logos are commonly used in this type of argument. Inartististic: There is no rhetoric needed, because the argument is usually built on solid undeniable facts. Ethos: Creating trust between you and your audience. Pathos: Emotional appeal to the audience. Logos: Using logical arguments to get an audience to agree with your stance on the argument. Topoi: Common topics addressed during a debate. Poisoning the Well: Deciding someone is responsible for something based on a characteristic or th trait, instead of hard evidence. It originated during the 14 century in Europe, when people decided Jews were responsible for the plague, because they were poisoning the water in the wells. They really weren’t, but people still blamed them for it. Tu Quoque: Latin for “you too.” Falsely reasoning that someone is guilty of an offense who has no right to instruct others on the matter. Common Fallacies Ad Populum Fallacy: Commonly known as the bandwagon fallacy. The argument is designed to convince someone that everyone else is doing it. Straw Man: Making somebody look bad for personal gain. You can twist an argument or find something they said out of context to do this. Kevin used the example of Lloyd Benson saying that Dan Quale was not at all like Jack Kennedy, when Quale tried to argue that he was the same age as Kennedy when Kennedy ran for president, after people told Quale that he was too young to run for president. Hasty Generalization: Assuming something with very little evidence. We used Utah drivers as an example. There are a lot of terrible drivers in Utah, but that doesn’t mean that all Utah drivers are absolutely terrible drivers. Post Hoc Ergo Propter: Assuming things are related when they really aren’t after the fact of the matter. For instance you could assume that your roommate drank all of your milk, because it was gone when you got home, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that is what happened. Rhetoric in Rome While the sophists were in Athens there were rhetorists in Rome that were highly respected by the Greeks. They used Greek rhetoric, so they were more liked than some of the sophists. The appreciated the way that they could learn about rhetoric in the way the romans taught it. Rhetoric and the Greek language were a huge part of the roman education system, making it a major part of society as a whole. In Roman society rhetoric was practiced by individuals memorizing influential speeches. They fully immersed themselves in rhetoric. They used to debate with a focus on delivery instead of how it is today. Today debaters often focus on the amount of content they can share with their audience in the allotted amount of time, whereas Roman rhetorists wanted to make their speeches very eloquent and capture the audience that way. Cicero published De Inventione when he was 19 years old. The work was a collection of notes and musings on how rhetoric operates in society. He wanted to combine wisdom and eloquence in his writings, in order to have a deeper discussion of character. Cicero focused on five specific traits in his his writing, which are: invention, arrangement, expression, memory, and delivery. Parts of Roman Speech Neoartistilan Rhetoric: Taking old ideas and making them seem new. Conjecture issues: Focusing on facts only in a case. Definitional issues: Issues establishing grounds and reasoning for an argument. Quality Issues: Examining the severity of the act. Translative issues: These were very procedural in nature. Quintilian wrote the institutes of oratory. He believed that we need to be good people and teach other people how to use rhetoric. He believed that if everyone was generally good and could behave in society, as well as be educated in rhetoric, than society would be more productive and beneficial. Longinus had five principles of good writing and believed that good writing comes from the level of intensity that a person evokes with their language choice. Longinus’ Five Principles Strong Emotion: He believed that using strong emotion in speaking or writing would be more beneficial in persuading the audience than simply stating facts. Adequate Figures: He believed that if you were going to use facts, you should make sure they were accurate so your word was trustworthy. Diction/Word Choice: He was very keen on making sure the best wording was always used in his arguments. Using Figurative language: He focused on using language that would captivate the audience through capturing their attention. Power of Language: He loved language and believed that it had a power if used correctly. In class we compared this to a politician making promises to get votes, but then not actually following through with their promises. Key Terms: Techne-Rhetoric: The aesthetic craft of rhetoric is more than just art. It is essentially using language to create a vivid image for the reader or audience. Dialetic-Rational: Arguments for and against the issue being discussed.


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