8/29 Notes: Rhetoric
In Ancient Greece & Rome, citizens focused on making decisions, resolving disputes, and
mediating public discussion of important issues.
o RHETORIC = CITIZENSHIP
Disagreement is universal among all citizens as rhetoric brings us to a decision, whether it be
clear-cut and dry or still full of discrepancies.
The Problem of Perception
o Theory: cognition, consciousness & self-consciousness.
o Kenneth Burke: “If people didn’t disagree, rhetoric wouldn’t be possible. Rhetoric is
used to explain one’s viewpoint on a wide array of topics that are relevant to the given
medium of conversation.”
o KW: INVENTION: finding and displaying the available arguments on any issue.
Requires systematic thought, practice, and thoroughness.
Rhetoric is productive arguments and intelligent discourse
o For it to occur, people must be open to new ideas & beliefs. (It also represents a purely
Rhetoric & Power:
o Rhetoric is used to distribute the POWER that resides in language among all of its
students. People who study rhetoric can use it to its best means.
Representative (Rep.) Theory of Language
o Language is transparent as it lets meanings shine throughout it. It represents meaning
(Locke & Empiricism)
Constitutive Theory of Language
o Language constructs meaning. LANGUAGE IS A FORCE THAT MOVES PEOPLE TO A CALL
Rhetoric & Contemporary Society
o In today’s world, we highly value science and facts; however, facts need context and
interpretation. Good and effective rhetoric isn’t just facts and expert testimony.
KW: PROPOSITION: arguable statement put forward for discussion within an argument. KW: PROOF: statement(s) used to persuade an audience to accept a proposition.
Aristotle’s 3 Kinds of Rhetorical Proofs
o Author’s ch