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History of Rhetoric Old Dead Greeks Rhetoric and Oratory the art of swaying an audience by eloquent speech. In ancient Greece and Rome oratory was included under the term rhetoric, which meant the art of composing as well as delivering a speech. Oratory first appeared in the law courts of Athens and soon became important in all areas of life. It was taught by the Sophists. The Ten Attic Orators (listed by Alexandrine critics) were Antiphon, Andocides, Lysias, Isocrates, Isaeus, Aeschines, Demosthenes, Lycurgus, Hyperides, and Dinarchus. Classic Rome's great orators were Cato the Elder, Mark Antony, and Cicero. • The theory of rhetoric was discussed by Aristotle and Quintilian; and three main classes of oratory were later designated by classical rhetoricians: (a) deliberative– to persuade an audience (such as a legislature) to approve or disapprove a matter of public policy; (b) forensic–to achieve (as in a trial) condemnation or approval for a person's actions; (c) epideictic– "display rhetoric" used on ceremonial occasions. Rhetoric was included in the medieval liberal arts curriculum. In subsequent centuries oratory was utilized in three main areas of public life–politics, religion, and law. During the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation, oratory was generally confined to the church, which produced such soul-searing orators as Savanorola, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox. • Classical Rhetoric: The eloquence that Nestor, Odysseus, and Achilles display in Homer's Iliad led many Greeks to look upon Homer as the father of oratory. The establishment of democratic institutions in Athens in 510 BC imposed on all citizens the necessity of public service, making skill in oratory essential; hence a group of teachers arose known as Sophists, who endeavored to make men better speakers by rules of art. Protagoras, the first of the Sophists, made a study of language and taught his pupils how to make the weaker cause appear the stronger. • The actual founder of rhetoric as a science is said to be Corax of Syracuse (fl. about 465 BC), who defined rhetoric as the "artificer of persuasion" and composed the first handbook on the art of rhetoric. Later masters of rhetoric were Corax's pupil Tisias (fl. 5th cent. BC), also of Syracuse; Gorgias of Leontini, who went to Athens in 427 BC; and Thrasymachus of Chalcedon (fl. 5th cent. BC), who also taught at Athens. Antiphon (480?-411 BC), the first of the so-called Ten Attic Orators, was also the first to combine the theory and practice of rhetoric, and with Isocrates, the great teacher of oratory in the 4th century BC, the art of rhetoric was broadened to become a cultural study, a philosophy with a practical purpose. Plato satirized the more technical approach to rhetoric, with its emphasis on persuasion rather than truth, in his Gorgias, and in the Phaedrus he discussed the principles constituting the essence of the rhetorical art. • Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, defined the function of rhetoric as being, not that of persuasion, but rather that of "discovering all the available means of persuasion," thereby emphasizing the winning of an argument by persuasive marshaling of truth, rather than the swaying of an audience by an appeal to their emotions. He regarded rhetoric as the counterpart, or sister art, of logic. The instructors in formal rhetoric in Rome were at first Greek, and the great masters of theoretical and practical rhetoric, Cicero and Quintilian, were both influenced by Greek models. • Cicero wrote several treatises on the theory and practice of rhetoric, the most important being On the Orator; Quintilian's famous Institutio Oratoria still retains its value as a thorough treatment of the principles of rhetoric and the nature of ideal eloquence. Scholastic declamations of the early empire are found in the extant suasorioe and controversioe of the rhetorician Seneca, the former belonging to deliberative rhetoric, the latter dealing with legal issues and presenting forensic rhetoric. During the first four centuries of the Roman Empire, rhetoric continued to be taught by teachers who were called Sophists, the term by this time used as an academic title. • Protagoras, the first of the Sophists, made a study of language and taught his pupils how to make the weaker cause appear the stronger. The actual founder of rhetoric as a science is said to be Corax of Syracuse (fl. about 465 BC), who defined rhetoric as the "artificer of persuasion" and composed the first handbook on the art of rhetoric. Later masters of rhetoric were Corax's pupil Tisias (fl. 5th cent. BC), also of Syracuse; Gorgias of Leontini, who went to Athens in 427 BC; and Thrasymachus of Chalcedon (fl. 5th cent. BC), who also taught at Athens. Antiphon (480?-411 BC), the first of the so-called Ten Attic Orators, was also the first to combine the theory and practice of rhetoric, and with Isocrates, the great teacher of oratory in the 4th century BC, the art of rhetoric was broadened to become a cultural study, a philosophy with a practical purpose. "KAKOU KORAKOS KAKON OON” Rhetoric & the Story of Corax vs. Tisias • The Scene: "Corax and his pupil Tisias were reputedly the first Sophists. Like many young men with an appetite for worldly success, Tisias sought training from Corax in the hope of being able to sue his way to wealth and influence. Wishing to make sure he was not duped by his teacher, Tisias contracted to pay Corax only after he had actually won a law suit. On this condition his training commenced and soon enough was over. But Tisias became complacent. Years went by and Tisias brought no suits against anyone. Corax had been willing to wait to be paid, but not forever, so he brought a suit against Tisias to recover his fee" -- Britannica.com • Tisias: Your Honors, I stand before you today in humility of spirit and purity of motive. I ask only that you listen patiently and judge rightly in issuing your verdict. • Your Honors, I charge Corax for failing to teach me well the art of Rhetoric. The proof of this charge is here before us today. For if I should lose my case, it will surely prove that I was not taught Rhetoric very well. And this being the case I should NOT have to pay the tuition. For no one should have to pay for services that weren't rendered according to what was promised. • On the other hand, if I win the case, it shows that I had enough sense and talent to figure out the art of Rhetoric out on my own, despite the negligence of my instructor. But even this is not necessary to my case. For a ruling against Corax, is a ruling for me. And a ruling for me means I do not have to pay tuition. In either case, then, I should NOT have to pay tuition. • Corax: Your Honors, I, too, stand humbly before you. I, too, recognize, in years far more experienced than that of my adversary, your outstanding record of prudent and just decision making on behalf of those whose cause is just. We are indeed fortunate to gain a hearing before you. This, then, is my case. • I have given Tisias the very best education in rhetoric of which I am capable, on the condition that he would at some point in his career pay my tuition. This he has not done. Now, if you rule against me -that is if Tisias does in fact win his case -- it serves to show that I taught him Rhetoric well, in which case he should be required to pay my tuition. If, however, Tisias does not win his case, that would show him to be a poor, or rather bad, student. (We already know he is poor.) Those who are wise well know that a teacher is not to be faulted if, in discharging his services well and faithfully, the student is simply too stupid or too lazy (or too both) to take advantage of those services, expertly rendered. • But even this is unnecessary to my case. For a ruling against Tisias is a ruling in favor of me. Such a ruling would, of course, mean that Tisias must pay my tuition. In either case, then, my tuition should be paid. The Decision: "KAKOU KORAKOS KAKON OON" • Translation: "From a bad crow, a bad egg." Or, "When a mischievous bird of prey lays an egg, the egg too is mischievous." • The verdict was actually a play on words: Corax means "crow“ and Tisias means "eggs“ • The case was, in effect, thrown out of court. Modern Version • The following argument reworks the traditional sophist's argument for buying lessons in rhetoric ("You should buy my lessons so that you can evaluate my argument that you should buy my lessons") by developing the infinite regress implicit in recursive consultation. • Medieval and Renaissance Rhetoric: Rhetoric constituted one of the subjects of the trivium, or three preliminary subjects of the seven liberal arts taught at the universities, the other two being grammar and logic. The chief medieval authorities on rhetoric were three Roman scholars of the 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries: Martianus Capella (fl. late 4th cent. and early 5th cent.), author of an encyclopedia of the seven liberal arts (arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and music, in conjunction with grammar, logic, and rhetoric); Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus, historian and founder of monasteries, famed especially for his Institutiones Divinarum et Humanarum Lectionum, the second book of which contains an account of the seven liberal arts; and Isidore of Seville, a Spanish archbishop who compiled an encyclopedic work setting forth the erudition of the ancient world. • During the Renaissance, the study of rhetoric was again based on the works of such writers of classical antiquity as Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian. A number of contemporary dissertations were produced, among them the Art of Rhetorique (1553) by the English statesman and writer Thomas Wilson (1525?-81), the Art or Craft of Rhetoryke by the English schoolmaster Leonard Cox (fl. 16th cent.), and treatises by Pierre de Courcelles (fl. 16th cent.) and André de Tonquelin (fl. 16th cent.), both French rhetoricians. Rhetoric was a prescribed subject in colleges and universities, public disputations and competitive exercises keeping the practice long alive. • In the first half of the 20th century, a revival of the study of formal rhetoric, encouraged largely by the exponents of the linguistic science known as semantics, occurred throughout the English-speaking countries of the world. Among the modern educators and philosophers who made notable contributions to the study of rhetoric were the British literary critic I. A. Richards and the American literary critics Kenneth Duva Burke (1897-1993) and John Crowe Ransom. • Modern Rhetoric: In the early 18th century, rhetoric declined in importance, although more on its theoretical than on its practical side, since the political arena and the debating platform continued to furnish numerous opportunities for effective oratory. For the succeeding half-century, the art of rhetoric had increasingly fewer exponents. The Lectures on Rhetoric (1783) by the Scottish clergyman Hugh Blair (1718-1800) achieved considerable popularity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as did the Philosophy of Rhetoric (1776) by the Scottish theologian George Campbell (1719-96) and the Elements of Rhetoric (1828) by the British logician Richard Whately (1787- 1863). Old Dead Greeks, Part Two: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle The Sophists were men whose responsibility it was to train and educate the sons of Athenian citizens. There were no formal school as we know them today. Instead, these were peripatetic schools, meaning that the instructor would walk with students and talk with them – for a fee, of course. The Sophists taught the skills (sophia) of rhetoric and oratory. Both of these arts were essential for the education of the Athenian citizenry. After all, it was the sons of the citizens who would eventually find themselves debating important issues in the Assembly and the Council of Five Hundred. Rhetoric can be described as the art of composition, while oratory was the art of public speaking. The Sophists abandoned science, philosophy, mathematics and ethics. What they taught was the subtle art of persuasion. A Sophist was a person who could argue eloquently – and could prove a position whether that position was correct or incorrect. In other words, what mattered was persuasion and not truth. The Sophists were also relativists. They believed that there was no such thing as a universal or absolute truth, valid at all times. According to Protagoras (c.485-c.411 B.C.), "Man is the measure of all things." Everything is relative and there are no values because man, individual man, is the measure of all things. Nothing is good or bad since everything depends on the individual. Gorgias of Leontini (c.485-c.380 B.C.), who visited Athens in 427, was a well-paid teacher of rhetoric and famous for his saying that a man could not know anything. And if he could, he could not describe it and if he could describe it, no one would understand him. The Sophistic movement of the fifth century B.C. has been the subject of much discussion and there is no single view about their significance. Plato's treatment of the Sophists in his late dialogue, the Sophist, is hardly flattering. He does not treat them as real seekers after truth but as men whose only concern was making money and teaching their students success in argument by whatever means. Aristotle said that a Sophist was "one who made money by sham wisdom." At their very best, the Sophists challenged the accepted values of the fifth century. They wanted the freedom to sweep away old conventions as a way of finding a better understanding of the universe, the gods and man. The Sophists have been compared with the philosophes of the 18th century Enlightenment who also used criticism and reason to wipe out anything they deemed was contrary to human reason. Regardless of what we think of the Sophists as a group or individually, they certainly did have the cumulative effect of further degrading a mythical understanding of the universe and of man. Socrates From the ranks of the Sophists came SOCRATES (c.469399 B.C.), perhaps the most noble and wisest Athenian to have ever lived. • • • Socrates was that he was remarkable for living the life he preached. Taking no fees, Socrates started and dominated an argument wherever the young and intelligent would listen, and people asked his advice on matters of practical conduct and educational problems. Socrates was not an attractive man -- he was snub-nosed, prematurely bald, and overweight. But, he was strong in body and the intellectual master of every one with whom he came into contact. The Athenian youth flocked to his side as he walked the paths of the agora. They clung to his every word and gesture. He was not a Sophist himself, but a philosopher, a lover of wisdom. In 399 B.C., Socrates was charged with impiety by a jury of five hundred of his fellow citizens. His most famous student, Plato, tells us, that he was charged "as an evildoer and curious person, searching into things under the earth and above the heavens; and making the worse appear the better cause, and teaching all this to others." He was convicted to death by a margin of six votes. Oddly enough, the jury offered Socrates the chance to pay a small fine for his impiety. He rejected it. He also rejected the pleas of Plato and other students who had a boat waiting for him at Piraeus that would take him to freedom. But Socrates refused to break the law. What kind of citizen would he be if he refused to accept the judgment of the jury? No citizen at all. He spent his last days with his friends before he drank the fatal dose of hemlock. Plato Socrates wrote nothing himself. What we know of him comes from the writings of two of his closest friends, Xenophon and Plato. • • • Our knowledge of Socrates comes to us from numerous dialogues which Plato wrote after 399. In nearly every dialogue – and there are more than thirty that we know about – Socrates is the main speaker. The style of the Plato's dialogue is important – it is the Socratic style that he employs throughout. A Socratic dialogue takes the form of question-answer, question-answer, questionanswer. It is a dialectical style as well. Socrates would argue both sides of a question in order to arrive at a conclusion. Then that conclusion is argued against another assumption and so on. Perhaps it is not that difficult to understand why Socrates was considered a gadfly! There is a reason why Socrates employed this style, as well as why Plato recorded his experience with Socrates in the form of a dialogue. Socrates taught Plato a great many things, but one of the things Plato more or less discovered on his own was that mankind is born with knowledge. That is, knowledge is present in the human mind at birth. It is not so much that we "learn" things in our daily experience, but that we "recollect" them. In other words, this knowledge is already there. This may explain why Socrates did not give his students answers, but only questions. His job was not to teach truth but to show his students how they could "pull" truth out of their own minds (it is for this reason that Socrates often considered himself a midwife in the labor of knowledge). And this is the point of the dialogues. For only in conversation, only in dialogue, can truth and wisdom come to the surface. Plato's greatest and most enduring work was his lengthy dialogue, The Republic. This dialogue has often been regarded as Plato's blueprint for a future society of perfection. I do not accept this opinion. Instead, I would like to suggest that The Republic is not a blueprint for a future society, but rather, is a dialogue which discusses the education necessary to produce such a society. It is an education of a strange sort – he called it paideia. Nearly impossible to translate into modern idiom, paideia refers to the process whereby the physical, mental and spiritual development of the individual is of paramount importance. It is the education of the total individual. The Republic discusses a number of topics including the nature of justice, statesmanship, ethics and the nature of politics. It is in The Republic that Plato suggests that democracy was little more than a "charming form of government." And this he is writing less than one hundred years after the brilliant age of Periclean democracy. So much for democracy. After all, it was Athenian democracy that convicted Socrates. For Plato, the citizens are the least desirable participants in government. Instead, a philosopher-king or guardian should hold the reigns of power. An aristocracy if you will – an aristocracy of the very best – the best of the aristoi. Plato's Republic also embodies one of the clearest expressions of his theory of knowledge. In The Republic, Plato asks what is knowledge? what is illusion? what is reality? how do we know? what makes a thing, a thing? what can we know? These are epistemological questions – that is, they are questions about knowledge itself. He distinguishes between the reality presented to us by our senses – sight, touch, taste, sound and smell – and the essence or Form of that reality. In other words, reality is always changing – knowledge of reality is individual, it is particular, it is knowledge only to the individual knower, it is not universal. Building upon the wisdom of Socrates and Parmenides, Plato argued that reality is known only through the mind. There is a higher world, independent of the world we may experience through our senses. Because the senses may deceive us, it is necessary that this higher world exist, a world of Ideas or Forms -- of what is unchanging, absolute and universal. In other words, although there may be something from the phenomenal world which we consider beautiful or good or just, Plato postulates that there is a higher unchanging reality of the beautiful, goodness or justice. To live in accordance with these universal standards is the good life -- to grasp the Forms is to grasp ultimate truth. The unphilosophical man – that is, all of us – is at the mercy of sense impressions and unfortunately, our sense impressions oftentimes fail us. Our senses deceive us. But because we trust our senses, we are like prisoners in a cave – we mistake shadows on a wall for reality. This is the central argument of Plato's ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE which appears in Book VII of The Republic. Plato's most famous student was ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.). • At the age of eighteen, Aristotle became the student at the Academy of Plato (who was then sixty years of age). Aristotle also started his own school, the Lyceum in 335 B.C. It too was closed by Justinian in A.D. 529. Aristotle was a "polymath" – he knew a great deal about nearly everything. Very little of Aristotle's writings remain extant. But his students recorded nearly everything he discussed at the Lyceum. In fact, the books to which Aristotle's name is attributed are really little more than student notebooks. This may account for the fact that Aristotle's philosophy is one of the more difficult to digest. Regardless, Aristotle lectured on astronomy, physics, logic, aesthetics, music, drama, tragedy, poetry, zoology, ethics and politics. The one field in which he did not excel was mathematics. Plato, on the other hand, was a master of geometry. For four years, Aristotle served as the teacher of a thirteen year old Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon. In 334, he returned to Athens and established his school of philosophy in a set of buildings called the Lyceum (from a name for Apollo, “the shepherd”). The beautiful grounds and covered walkways were conducive to leisurely walking discussions, so the students were known as peripatoi (“covered walkways”). First, we must point out that Aristotle was as much a scientist as a philosopher. He was endlessly fascinated with nature, and went a long way towards classifying the plants and animals of Greece. He was equally interested in studying the anatomies of animals and their behavior in the wild. Aristotle also pretty much invented modern logic. Except for its symbolic form, it is essentially the same today. • Aristotle's rhetoric has had an enormous influence on the development of the art of rhetoric. Not only authors writing in the peripatetic tradition, but also the famous Roman teachers of rhetoric, such as Cicero and Quintilian, frequently used elements stemming from the Aristotelian doctrine. Nevertheless, these authors were neither interested in an authentic interpretation of the Aristotelian works nor in the philosophical sources and backgrounds of the vocabulary that Aristotle had introduced into rhetorical theory. Thus, for two millennia the interpretation of Aristotelian rhetoric has become a matter of the history of rhetoric, not of philosophy. His theory of rhetorical arguments, for example, is only one further application of his general doctrine of the sullogismos, which also forms the basis of dialectic, logic and his theory of demonstration. Another example is the concept of emotions: though emotions are one of the most important topics in the Aristotelian ethics, he nowhere offers such an illuminating account of single emotions as in the Rhetoric. Finally, it is the Rhetoric too which informs us about the cognitive features of language and style.