Introduction to Rhetoric
EN 1007 – Fall 2009 – Carol Poster
Lecture 5 – Aristotle – Oct 19
- Aristotle: biography
o 384 BC – 322 BC.
o Born in Stagira; North eastern Agia.
o Referred to as ‘the philosopher’.
o Translated into Arabic; long commentaries were writing about his rhetoric.
o His father, Nicomachus, was court physician to King Amyntas of
o Aristotle studied at Platonic academy from 366 (went to Athens to ‘live
philosophy’ age 18) to 347 (Plato’s death when Aristotle was 37).
o Rhetoric is a part of citizenship; independent of political and ethical.
o Founded and taught in own school, Lyceum (335-322).
o Peripatetic – ‘walking around’.
Lyceum; founded in place essentially an area with a large porch
where people wondered around.
o Known as Golden tongue.
- History of Aristotelian corpus.
o Not works he wrote for publication.
o Lecture notes.
o Possibly notes taken by students.
o Assembled by members of school.
o Neglected for a long period until 50-45 BC they were edited, a friend of
o Length of about 30-40 English books.
- Composition of rhetoric.
o What rhetoric is to Aristotle?
One of the few who attempted to know everything and to organize it
in a systematic fashion.
• With branches.
Tried to divide knowledge by type.
• Degree and certainty.
o Q and A method.
o Art of persuasion; interest in argumentation and proof.
- Counterpart of dialectic.
- Techne (ars) vs. empeiria – people all argue/persuade but most at random.
In speaking and persuasion, we know how to act.
Don’t know how they work but that they do work. o Techne; derive technology; systematic way of doing something practical,
systematic skill; craft/skill – direct English translation.
Learning Greek; learn latin, translate to Greek then translate back.
Techne (Greek) to Ars (Latin) to Art (English); closest translations.
- Place of rhetoric in hierarchy of knowledge – demonstration/science, practical
wisdom/applied science (phronesis, dialectic), techne (rhetoric, handbooks,
probable), knack (practice, maxism).
o Demonstrative knowledge; math and physics and metaphysics.
o Practical wisdom/applied science (phronesis) – ethics.
Practical philosophy means how to conduct your life as an ethical
member of the community.
o Difference between Demonstrative and practical; things that happen in the
most part but are not always true.
o Rhetoric; productive art, similar to practical wisdom because its related to
Like poetry; has outcome.
Applied side to practical wisdom.
- What is not subject of rhetoric – eclipses and sunrises, pure matters of opinion.
o There are systematic ways of doing things.
o A system for producing discourse.
Should be useful.
o Not needed; simple matters of fact (simply state them).
- 3 pisteis (ethos, pathos, logos). Singular; pistis, plural: pisteis.
o Persuasion = proof.
o Pistis = proof.
o Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic (Entechne/Atechne)
Ethos – character of speaker.
• Intrinsic; can control.
• Extrinsic; outside control.
Pathos – emotions of audience.
• Persuading my manipulating emotions.
• Extrinsic; prior to what exists when you start speaking.
• Intrinsic; how you use extrinsic as a speaker.
• Aristotle is against pathos.
Logos – reason (not facts, which are ‘pragmata’)
• One place at one time, away from crime scene, facts have to
do with place of client.