The Rhetorical Tradition

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The Rhetorical Tradition by Mind Map: The Rhetorical Tradition

1. Defining Rhetoric: The core idea behind all the different definitions is that rhetoric has something to do with the relationship between language and persuasion.

1.1. Discourse: Can be any speech, written or spoken, as well as the exchange of symbols or meanings in any context.

1.2. Persuasion: occurs when someone convinces you of something; it encompasses the dramatic experience of being moved to rage, tears, or action by a speech, as well as more subtle processes such as being influenced  by advertising or political ideology.

2. Rhetoric in practice: Everything one does with other people involves their implicit or explicit cooperation. and cooperation requires and element of persuasion.

3. The Origins Of Rhetoric: Originated in Athens, Greece, sometime around the fifth century BCE.

3.1. Rhetoric In Ancient Greece: Aristoltle, a student of Plato and one whom many scholars credit with being the first theorist of rhetoric, disagreed that persuasive technique was only a way of making " the weaker case the stronger"

3.1.1. Techne: an art or technque

3.1.1.1. Rhetoric and logic are necessary counterparts. Rhetoric and logic are not opposites but mutually complementary and necessary counter parts: logic requires persuasion, and persuasion requires logic.

3.1.1.2. The form and function of speeches are shaped by the possible speech goals. The logic and coherence of speeches are determined by their goals. To clarify this point, Aristotle classified different kinds of speech by their purposes: Forensic, Epideictic, and Deliberative.

3.1.1.2.1. Forensic: for use at a trial.

3.1.1.2.2. Epideictic: for use at a funeral.

3.1.1.2.3. Deliberative: For use in the senate.

3.1.2. Rhetoric can be treated as a coherent area of inquiry. Rhetoric is not simply a collection of techniques for slick speech; it also has a logic and a purpose as the "faculty of observing the available means of persuasion in any given situation.

3.2. Rhetoric Across the ages.

3.2.1. 1st century BCE. Cicero, a Roman orator, philosopher, and statesman, wrote extensively on rhetoric and specifically oratory.

3.2.2. 4th century CE. Augustine of Hippo, a theologian and saint of the Catholic Church, picked up where the Greeks and Romans left off, arguing that philosophy and theology required rhetoric as a way of making truth intelligible to people who were not theologians or philosophers.

3.2.3. 14th century CE to the 17th century: During the Renaissance, rhetoric flowered and rhetoricians turned to the arts of speech and letter writing as part of a new commitment to eloquence in the courts, palaces, and salons of king and other leaders.

3.2.4. 17th and 18th centuries: Thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Giambattista Vico, Hugh Blair became increasingly interested in the relationship among rhetoric, politics, human knowledge, and human nature.

4. Rhetoric Today

4.1. Identity and Power: Rhetoric helps us understand how certain identities are persuasive and why certain identity practices and labels seem to facilitate potential power. Thus, even though the beginnings of rhetoric focused on the narrow context of persuasive public issues of identity and power.

4.2. Visual and Material Symbols: Rhetoric can help us explore the visual and material world because, at its root, it is about discourses and symbols. We can gain a better understanding of modern life by exploring how visual symbols and material symbols persuade us to act, think, or believe in certain ways.

4.3. The Public and Democracy: The questions of identity and power, visuals and material elements, and the public and democracy represent some of the possibilities for rhetoric as a modern interpretive technique. Thus, we work through the rest of this guide, we will refer both ti the ancient problem of rhetoric and to some of its more contemporary applications.