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Rhetorical Tradition SPRING '13 notes.docx

8 Pages

Course Code
COMM 1010
Peter Wells

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1/22 Introduction to Rhetoric • Concerns regarding rhetoric: o Sounds relatively negative. o Began in Greek/Rome for people to solve dispute, help determine who serves in Senate. o It then changed to a form of speech for people to perform for fun. This was when rhetoric declined. o Rhetoric:  Making arguments to better ways of living.  It is a means to avoid violence.  It is a way of democracy. o Recently we disagree to people as a personality flaw i.e. “you are annoying, uneducated, etc…” o Rhetoric is to disagree to make better decisions. o Ways that degrade rhetoric:  Silence is an assumption that someone passively agrees.  People hunt for comfort; not examining different points of views. Definitions of Rhetoric • Single definition perspective: (has four components) bryint 1953 1. Rhetoric is an instrumental study: used as a tool to understanding communication. 2. Rhetoric is a literacy study: it looks at the meanings of language. 3. Rhetoric is a philosophical study: method of inquiry; to better analyze the world. 4. Rhetoric is a social study: major force of behavior in society. • Systems perspective: (three periods) 1. Classical Period: arguments based of Greece/Rome; lacks at style, delivery. 2. British Period: focused on nature of audience, perception from the outside. 3. Contemporary Period: looking at identification and community engagement. • Evolutionary Perspective: o Rhetoric develops from itself; building-blocks. o Main point: rhetoric is always evolving. Characteristics of Rhetoric 1. Planned: 2. Involves audience: gets people to do something; gets audiences compliance (AKA agreement). 3. Has motives: intentions; rationale; hidden and stative motive 4. Responsive: addresses means from a group/person. 5. Persuades: comes to an agreement; influences. 6. Establishes truth: truth is not a fact, it is subjective (AKA personal opinion). 7. It addresses contingent issues: manages ambiguity (AKA uncertainty). 1/24 (cont.) - Relying on emotional appeal o Emotion - memory connection - Using famous people o They are identifiable so we remember “it” easier. o We look up to them so we tend to copy what they do. - Being simple or complex o Complex rhetoric reference similar things; targeting a specific group; it must be complex with reason and targets a certain group. o Simple rhetoric targets everyone. It makes a problem easy to solve; makes an individual prone to thinking that it’s about them. Aspects of Rhetoric • Rhetoric…(action): 1. Creates a virtual experience: it creates an experience in oneself to make them feel a certain way. 2. Explains: we learn something from it. 3. Alters perception: it changes the way you think. 4. Initiate & maintain action: • And in doing so…(outcomes): 1. Ideas are tested: arguing for a cause; supporting yourself 2. Advocacy (support) is assisted 3. Communities are built 4. Facts are discovered 5. Knowledge is shaped 6. Power is distributed • Limits: o Intention: knowing what you want to have across but during encoding, there is a disconnect.  Any message could be decoded in many ways. o Text type: rhetoric is not limited by text. If it is persuasive and made by human, it has a rhetorical component. • Rhetoric and Signs: o Meaning is:  Iconic: literally looks like the thing it represents. It can also represent themself. Icons can have different levels of importance.  Symbolic: a sign we socially agree on but don’t look like anything it means. All language is symbolic; we have tied sounds to meaning and sometimes the definitions change.  Indexical: sign linked to its meaning by cause of association.  • Iconic: George Washington • Symbolic: The eagle (it represents freedom) Ethics - Truth VS. Ethics: ethics is more important. Finding the best argument is the way to go; not truth. - Root of ethics (ethos): character measured from honesty, goodwill, intelligence. - Types of ethics: 1. Teleological: interest in the outcome, not the means. 2. Kant’s categorical imperative: “don’t do it if you can’t make it a universal law.” 3. Deontological: all about the rules. “If you believe what you say, it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not.” • Ethical responsibilities as a rhetor: o Stop mindlessly thinking; be critical and push back. • Responsibilities when enacting rhetoric o Value the audience
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