Overview of Rhetoric

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • No class next Monday - President's Day
  • Canvas is up!
  • Quizzes will start after next week
  • Read the rest of ch. 1 for next week

AGENDA

  • Start Ch. 1

WHAT IS RHETORIC?

MY FIRST PROBLEM LIES OF COURSE IN THE VERY WORD "RHETORIC" - WAYNE BOOTH

HOW DO WE USUALLY FEEL ABOUT RHETORIC?

Mere Rhetoric

THE HATE GOES ALL THE WAY BACK TO 4TH CENTURY BC

plato - Rhetoric as flattery

AND THE BASHING CONTINUES...

John Locke- rhetoric as deceptive
If we speak of things as they are, we must allow that all the art of rhetoric, besides order and clearness; all the artificial and figurative application of words eloquence hath invented, are for nothing else but to insinuate wrong ideas, move the passions, and thereby mislead the judgment; and so indeed are perfect cheats…. - JOHN LOCKE

ON THE OTHER HAND...

Nietzsche- RHETORIC AS THE ESSENCE OF LANGUAGE
There is obviously no unrhetorical “naturalness” of language to which one could appeal; language itself is the result of purely rhetorical arts. The power to discover and to make operative that which works and impresses, with respect to each thing, a power which Aristotle calls rhetoric, is, at the same time, the essence of language…. - NIETZSCHE

FOR EXAMPLE: "ya'll" versus "you guys" or "partner"

RHETORIC & PERSUASION

  • Linked together frequently
  • Closely linked to gaining compliance
  • Others are trying to persuade us all the time (Ex. Telemarketers)
  • Makes us wary of rhetoric
  • We also are persuading all the time

Hence, humans are rhetorical beings

DEFINING RHETORIC

“the energy inherent in emotion and thought, transmitted through a system of signs, including language, to others to influence their decisions or actions" - GEORGE KENNEDY

Suggests rhetoric develops in the realm of symbols

Language = A shared symbol system

What are some other symbols/symbol systems out there?

What about dancing, paintings/art, acting, architecture/buildings, or sports?

Basically, rhetoric is EVERYWHERE as symbol systems are everywhere

AN EFFECTIVE SYMBOLIC EXPRESSION

...we can define the art of rhetoric as follows: The systematic study and intentional practice of effective symbolic expression. Effective here will mean achieving the purposes of the symbol-user, whether that purpose is persuasion, clarity, beauty, or mutual understanding. (pg. 8)

OTHER RELATED TERMS

  • Rhetorical theory is the systematic presentation of rhetoric’s principles, its various social functions, and how the art achieves its goals.
  • Messages crafted according to the principles of rhetoric we will call rhetorical discourse, or simply rhetoric.
  • An individual practicing the art of rhetoric we will occasionally refer to as a rhetor.

DISCUSSION

What is the difference between communication and rhetoric? Is it synonymous?

QUESTION TO CONSIDER

NEUTRAL TOOL FOR AGREEMENT OR IMMORAL ACTIVITY FOR MANIPULATION?

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Quizzes will start next week- Quiz #1 next Wednesday

AGENDA

  • Finish ch. 1 lecture

CHARACTERISTICS OF RHETORICAL DISCOURSE

  1. planned
  2. adapted to an audience
  3. shaped by human motives
  4. responsive to a situation
  5. persuasion-seeking (achieves through argument, appeals, arrangement, aesthetics)
  6. concerned with contingent issues

Planned

  • Which arguments will I advance?
  • Which evidence best supports my point?
  • How will I order and arrange my arguments and evidence?
  • What resources of language are available to me, given my topic and audience?

Adapted to an audience

Shaped by and reveals human motives

Ex. The AirBnB ad last week = what were it's motives?

Responsive to a situation

Usually in response to a particular event, time, place, audience, problem. Ex. Patriot Act

Persuasive seeking

  • Argument: a claim supported by reasons
  • Appeals: after an audience's emotions or audience's values
  • Arrangements: the order of a message. Ex. IKEA
  • Aesthetics: adding form, beauty, or force to your expression/message Ex. Repetition

Concerned w/ contingent issues

“it is the duty of rhetoric to deal with such matters as we deliberate upon without arts or systems to guide us” and when “the subjects of our deliberation are such as seem to present us with alternative possibilities.” -Aristotle
  • Never about "an inevitable fact" or "virtual impossibility"
  • Ex. Should physician assisted suicide be federally legalized?

EXERCISE

Answer on a sheet of paper...

  • Is it planned?
  • What audience was it adapted to?
  • Was it shaped by motives? What were these motives?
  • Was it responsive to a particular situation? What situation?
  • Is it persuasive-seeking? Does it use argument, appeals, arrangement, aesthetics?
  • Is it concerned with contingent issues?

SOCIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE ART OF RHETORIC

  1. ideas are tested
  2. advocacy is assisted
  3. power is distributed (talk is action, personal, psychological, political)
  4. facts are discovered
  5. knowledge is shaped
  6. communities are built

GROUP EXERCISE

  • Each group (9 groups total) will be assigned a social function of the art of rhetoric
  • As a group, summarize the section
  • Provide a clear example that demonstrates that social function
  • Be ready to present to class as group

DISCUSSION

NEUTRAL TOOL FOR AGREEMENT OR IMMORAL ACTIVITY FOR MANIPULATION?

Credits:

Created with images by WikiImages - "friedrich nietzsche man portrait" • bissartig - "hollywood hollywood sign los angeles"

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