Rhetoric

Rhetoric

Overview
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western tradition. Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, who considers it a counterpart of both logic and politics, and calls it "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion." Rhetorics typically provide heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle's three persuasive audience appeals, logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

, pathos
Pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

, and ethos
Ethos
Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

.
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I consider theology to be the rhetoric of morals.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Category:Discourse
Encyclopedia
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western tradition. Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, who considers it a counterpart of both logic and politics, and calls it "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion." Rhetorics typically provide heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle's three persuasive audience appeals, logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

, pathos
Pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

, and ethos
Ethos
Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

. The five canons of rhetoric, which trace the traditional tasks in designing a persuasive speech, were first codified in classical Rome, invention
Inventio
Inventio is the system or method used for the discovery of arguments in Western rhetoric and comes from the Latin word, meaning "invention" or "discovery"...

, arrangement
Dispositio
See also: Disposition Dispositio is the system used for the organization of arguments in Western classical rhetoric. The word is Latin, and can be translated as "organization" or "arrangement."...

, style
Elocutio
Elocutio is the term for the mastery of stylistic elements in Western classical rhetoric and comes from the Latin loqui, "to speak". Although today we associate the word elocution more with eloquent speaking, for the classical rhetorician it connoted "style".It is the third of the five canons of...

, memory
Memoria
Memoria was the term for aspects involving memory in Western classical rhetoric. The word is Latin, and can be translated as "memory."It was one of five canons in classical rhetoric concerned with the crafting and delivery of speeches and prose.The art of rhetoric grew out of oratory, which was...

, and delivery
Pronuntiatio
Pronuntiatio was the discipline of delivering speeches in Western classical rhetoric. It is the one of five canons of classical rhetoric that concern the crafting and delivery of speeches. In literature the equivalent of ancient pronuntiatio is the recitation of epics Pronuntiatio was the...

. Along with grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

 and logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, rhetoric is one of the three ancient arts of discourse. From ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 to the late 19th Century, it was a central part of Western education, filling the need to train public speakers and writers to move audiences to action with arguments. The word is derived from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

  (rhētorikós), "oratorical", from (rhḗtōr), "public speaker", related to (rhêma), "that which is said or spoken, word, saying", and ultimately derived from the verb (erô), "to speak, say".

The scope of rhetoric


Scholars have debated the scope of rhetoric since ancient times. Although some have limited rhetoric to the specific realm of political discourse, many modern scholars liberate it to encompass every aspect of culture. Contemporary studies of rhetoric address a more diverse range of domains than was the case in ancient times. While classical rhetoric trained speakers to be effective persuaders in public forums and institutions like courtrooms and assemblies, contemporary rhetoric investigates human discourse writ large. Rhetoricians have studied the discourses of a wide variety of domains, including the natural and social sciences, fine art, religion, journalism, digital media, fiction, history, cartography, and architecture, along with the more traditional domains of politics and the law. Public relations, lobbying, law, marketing, professional and technical writing, and advertising are modern professions that employ rhetorical practitioners.

Because the ancient Greeks highly valued public political participation, rhetoric emerged as a crucial tool to influence politics. Consequently, rhetoric remains associated with its political origins. However, even the original instructors of Western speech—the Sophists—disputed this limited view of rhetoric. According to the Sophists, such as Gorgias
Gorgias
Gorgias ,Greek sophist, pre-socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger...

, a successful rhetorician could speak convincingly on any topic, regardless of his experience in that field. This method suggested rhetoric could be a means of communicating any expertise, not just politics. In his Encomium to Helen, Gorgias even applied rhetoric to fiction by seeking for his own pleasure to prove the blamelessness of the mythical Helen of Troy in starting the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

.

Looking to another key rhetorical theorist, Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 defined the scope of rhetoric according to his negative opinions of the art. He criticized the Sophists for using rhetoric as a means of deceit instead of discovering truth. In “Gorgias,” one of his Socratic Dialogues, Plato defines rhetoric as the persuasion of ignorant masses within the courts and assemblies. Rhetoric, in Plato’s opinion, is merely a form of flattery and functions similarly to cookery, which masks the undesirability of unhealthy food by making it taste good. Thus, Plato considered any speech of lengthy prose aimed at flattery as within the scope of rhetoric.

Aristotle both redeemed rhetoric from his teacher and narrowed its focus by defining three genres of rhetoric—deliberative, forensic or judicial, and epideictic
Epideictic
The Epideictic oratory, also called ceremonial oratory, or praise-and-blame rhetoric, is one of the three branches, or "species" , of rhetoric as outlined in Aristotle's Rhetoric, to be used to praise or blame during ceremonies....

. Yet, even as he provided order to existing rhetorical theories, Aristotle extended the definition of rhetoric, calling it the ability to identify the appropriate means of persuasion in a given situation, thereby making rhetoric applicable to all fields, not just politics. When one considers that rhetoric included torture (it IS persuasive, and was accepted in forensics in the West until very recently), it is clear that rhetoric cannot be viewed only in academic terms. However, the enthymeme
Enthymeme
An enthymeme , in its modern sense, is an informally stated syllogism with an unstated assumption that must be true for the premises to lead to the conclusion. In an enthymeme, part of the argument is missing because it is assumed...

 based upon logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 (especially, based upon the syllogism) was viewed as the basis of rhetoric. However, since the time of Aristotle, logic has also changed, for example, Modal logic
Modal logic
Modal logic is a type of formal logic that extends classical propositional and predicate logic to include operators expressing modality. Modals — words that express modalities — qualify a statement. For example, the statement "John is happy" might be qualified by saying that John is...

 has undergone a major development which also modifies rhetoric. Yet, Aristotle also outlined generic constraints that focused the rhetorical art squarely within the domain of public political practice. He restricted rhetoric to the domain of the contingent or probable: those matters that admit multiple legitimate opinions or arguments.

The contemporary neo-Aristotelian and neo-Sophistic positions on rhetoric mirror the division between the Sophists and Aristotle. Neo-Aristotelians generally study rhetoric as political discourse, while the neo-Sophistic view contends that rhetoric cannot be so limited. Rhetorical scholar Michael Leff
Michael Leff
Michael Leff was an internationally known U.S. scholar of rhetoric. He was a Professor and served as Chair of the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Memphis. Before teaching at the University of Memphis he held faculty positions at The University of California-Davis, Indiana...

 characterizes the conflict between these positions as viewing rhetoric as a “thing contained” versus a “container.” The neo-Aristotelian view threatens the study of rhetoric by restraining it to such a limited field, ignoring many critical applications of rhetorical theory, criticism, and practice. Simultaneously, the neo-Sophists threaten to expand rhetoric beyond a point of coherent theoretical value.

Over the past century, people studying rhetoric have tended to enlarge its object domain beyond speech texts. Kenneth Burke
Kenneth Burke
Kenneth Duva Burke was a major American literary theorist and philosopher. Burke's primary interests were in rhetoric and aesthetics.-Personal history:...

 asserted humans use rhetoric to resolve conflicts by identifying shared characteristics and interests in symbols. By nature, humans engage in identification, either to identify themselves or another individual with a group. This definition of rhetoric as identification broadened the scope from strategic and overt political persuasion to the more implicit tactics of identification found in an immense range of sources.

Among the many scholars who have since pursued Burke's line of thought, James Boyd White
James Boyd White
James Boyd White is an American law professor, literary critic, scholar and philosopher who is generally credited with founding the "Law and Literature" movement and is the preeminent proponent of the analysis of constitutive rhetoric in the analysis of legal texts.-Biography:White attended...

 sees rhetoric as a broader domain of social experience in his notion of constitutive rhetoric. Influenced by theories of social construction, White argues that culture is “reconstituted” through language. Just as language influences people, people influence language. Language is socially constructed, and depends on the meanings people attach to it. Because language is not rigid and changes depending on the situation, the very usage of language is rhetorical. An author, White would say, is always trying to construct a new world and persuading his or her readers to share that world within the text.

Individuals engage in the rhetorical process anytime they speak or produce meaning. Even in the field of science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, the practices of which were once viewed as being merely the objective testing and reporting of knowledge, scientists must persuade their audience to accept their findings by sufficiently demonstrating that their study or experiment was conducted reliably and resulted in sufficient evidence to support their conclusions.

The vast scope of rhetoric is difficult to define; however, political discourse remains, in many ways, the paradigmatic example for studying and theorizing specific techniques and conceptions of persuasion, considered by many a synonym for "rhetoric."

Rhetoric as a civic art


Throughout European History, rhetoric has concerned itself with persuasion in public and political settings such as assemblies and courts. Because of its associations with democratic institutions, rhetoric is commonly said to flourish in open and democratic societies with rights of free speech, free assembly, and political enfranchisement for some portion of the population. Those who classify rhetoric as a civic art believe that rhetoric has the power to shape communities, form the character of citizens and greatly impact civic life.

Rhetoric was viewed as a civic art by several of the ancient philosophers. Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 and Isocrates
Isocrates
Isocrates , an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works....

 were two of the first to see rhetoric in this light. In his work, Antidosis, Isocrates states, "we have come together and founded cities and made laws and invented arts; and, generally speaking, there is not institution devised by man which the power of speech has not helped us to establish". With this statement he argues that rhetoric is a fundamental part of civic life in every society and that it has been necessary in the foundation of all aspects of society. He further argues in his piece Against the Sophists that rhetoric, although it cannot be taught to just anyone, is capable of shaping the character of man. He writes, "I do think that the study of political discourse can help more than any other thing to stimulate and form such qualities of character". Aristotle, writing several years after Isocrates, supported many of his arguments and continued to make arguments for rhetoric as a civic art.

In the words of Aristotle, in his essay Rhetoric, rhetoric is "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion". According to Aristotle, this art of persuasion could be used in public settings in three different ways. He writes in Book I, Chapter III, "A member of the assembly decides about future events, a juryman about past events: while those who merely decide on the orator's skill are observers. From this it follows that there are three divisions of oratory- (1) political, (2) forensic, and (3) the ceremonial oratory of display". Eugene Garver, in his critique of "Aristotle's Rhetoric", confirms that Aristotle viewed rhetoric as a civic art. Garver writes, "Rhetoric articulates a civic art of rhetoric, combining the almost incompatible properties of techne and appropriateness to citizens". Each of Aristotle’s divisions plays a role in civic life and can be used in a different way to impact cities.

Because rhetoric is a public art capable of shaping opinion, some of the ancients including Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 found fault in it. They claimed that while it could be used to improve civic life, it could be used equally easily to deceive or manipulate with negative effects on the city. The masses were incapable of analyzing or deciding anything on their own and would therefore be swayed by the most persuasive speeches. Thus, civic life could be controlled by the one who could deliver the best speech. Plato's explores the problematic moral status of rhetoric twice: in Gorgias
Gorgias
Gorgias ,Greek sophist, pre-socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger...

, a dialogue named for the famed Sophist, and in The Phaedrus
Phaedrus
Phaedrus , Roman fabulist, was probably a Thracian slave, born in Pydna of Macedonia and lived in the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius...

, a dialogue best known for its commentary on love.

More trusting in the power of rhetoric to support a republic, the Roman orator Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 argued that art required something more than eloquence. A good orator needed also to be a good man, a person enlightened on a variety of civic topics. He describes the proper training of the orator in his major text on rhetoric, De Oratore
De Oratore
De Oratore is a dialogue written by Cicero in 55 BCE. It is set in 91 BCE, when Lucius Licinius Crassus dies, just before the social war and the civil war between Marius and Sulla, during which Marcus Antonius Orator, the other great orator of this dialogue, dies...

, modeled on Plato's dialogues.

Modern day works continue to support the claims of the ancients that rhetoric is an art capable of influencing civic life. In his work Political Style, Robert Hariman
Robert Hariman
Robert Hariman is a distinguished philosopher of rhetoric, currently professor and department chair at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Hariman has a B.A. degree in Communications from Macalester College, as well as a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota...

 claims, "Furthermore, questions of freedom, equality, and justice often are raised and addressed through performances ranging from debates to demonstrations without loss of moral content". James Boyd White
James Boyd White
James Boyd White is an American law professor, literary critic, scholar and philosopher who is generally credited with founding the "Law and Literature" movement and is the preeminent proponent of the analysis of constitutive rhetoric in the analysis of legal texts.-Biography:White attended...

 argues further that rhetoric is capable not only of addressing issues of political interest but that it can influence culture as a whole. In his book, When Words Lose Their Meaning, he argues that words of persuasion and identification define community and civic life. He states that words produce "the methods by which culture is maintained, criticized, and transformed". Both White and Hariman agree that words and rhetoric have the power to shape culture and civic life.

In modern times, rhetoric has consistently remained relevant as a civic art. In speeches, as well as in non-verbal forms, rhetoric continues to be used as a tool to influence communities from local to national levels.

Rhetoric as a course of study


Rhetoric as a course of study has evolved significantly since its ancient beginnings. Through the ages, the study and teaching of rhetoric has adapted to the particular exigencies of the time and venue. The study of rhetoric has conformed to a multitude of different applications, ranging from architecture to literature. Although the curriculum has transformed in a number of ways, it has generally emphasized the study of principles and rules of composition as a means for moving audiences. Generally speaking, the study of rhetoric trains students to speak and/or write effectively, as well as critically understand and analyze discourse.

Rhetoric began as a civic art in Ancient Greece where students were trained to develop tactics of oratorical persuasion, especially in legal disputes. Rhetoric originated in a school of pre-Socratic philosophers known as the Sophists circa 600 BC. Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

 and Lysias
Lysias
Lysias was a logographer in Ancient Greece. He was one of the ten Attic orators included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace in the third century BC.-Life:According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the author of the life ascribed to...

 emerged as major orators during this period, and Isocrates
Isocrates
Isocrates , an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works....

 and Gorgias
Gorgias
Gorgias ,Greek sophist, pre-socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger...

 as prominent teachers. Rhetorical education focused on five particular canons: inventio (invention), dispositio (arrangement), elocutio (style), memoria (memory), and actio (delivery). Modern teachings continue to reference these rhetorical leaders and their work in discussions of classical rhetoric and persuasion.

Rhetoric was later taught in universities during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 as one of the three original liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

 or trivium (along with logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 and grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

). During the medieval period, political rhetoric declined as republican oratory died out and the emperors of Rome garnered increasing authority. With the rise of European monarchs in following centuries, rhetoric shifted into the courtly and religious applications. Augustine exerted strong influence on Christian rhetoric in the Middle Ages, advocating the use of rhetoric to lead audiences to truth and understanding, especially in the church. The study of liberal arts, he believed, contributed to rhetorical study: “In the case of a keen and ardent nature, fine words will come more readily through reading and hearing the eloquent than by pursuing the rules of rhetoric.” Poetry and letter writing, for instance, became a central component of rhetorical study during the Middle Ages. After the fall of the Republic in Rome, poetry became a tool for rhetorical training since there were fewer opportunities for political speech. Letter writing was the primary form through which business was conducted both in state and church, so it became an important aspect of rhetorical education.

Rhetorical education became more restrained as style and substance separated in 16th century France with Peter Ramus, and attention turned to the scientific method. That is, influential scholars like Ramus argued that the processes of invention and arrangement should be elevated to the domain of philosophy, while rhetorical instruction should be chiefly concerned with the use of figures and other forms of the ornamentation of language. Scholars such as Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

 developed the study of “scientific rhetoric.” This concentration rejected the elaborate style characteristic of the classical oration. This plain language carried over to John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

’s teaching, which emphasized concrete knowledge and steered away from ornamentation in speech, further alienating rhetorical instruction, which was identified wholly with this ornamentation, from the pursuit of knowledge.

In the 18th century, rhetoric assumed a more social role, initiating the creation of new education systems. “Elocution
Elocution
Elocution is the study of formal speaking in pronunciation, grammar, style, and tone.-History:In Western classical rhetoric, elocution was one of the five core disciplines of pronunciation, which was the art of delivering speeches. Orators were trained not only on proper diction, but on the proper...

 schools” arose (predominantly in England) in which females analyzed classic literature, most notably the works of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, and discussed pronunciation tactics.

The study of rhetoric underwent a revival with the rise of democratic institutions during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Scotland’s author and theorist Hugh Blair
Hugh Blair
Hugh Blair FRSE was a Scottish minister of religion, author and rhetorician, considered one of the first great theorists of written discourse....

 served as a key leader of this movement during the late 18th century. In his most famous work "Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres", he advocates rhetorical study for common citizens as a resource for social success. Many American colleges and secondary schools used Blair’s text throughout the 19th century to train students of rhetoric.

Political rhetoric also underwent renewal in the wake of the US and French revolutions. The rhetorical studies of ancient Greece and Rome were resurrected in the studies of the era as speakers and teachers looked to Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 and others to inspire defense of the new republic. Leading rhetorical theorists included John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

 of Harvard who advocated the democratic advancement of rhetorical art. Harvard’s founding of the Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory sparked the growth of rhetorical study in colleges across the United States. Harvard’s rhetoric program drew inspiration from literary sources to guide organization and style.

Debate clubs and lyceums also developed as forums in which common citizens could hear speakers and sharpen debate skills. The American lyceum in particular was seen as both an educational and social institution, featuring group discussions and guest lecturers. These programs cultivated democratic values and promoted active participation in political analysis.

Throughout the 20th century, rhetoric developed as a concentrated field of study with the establishment of rhetorical courses in high schools and universities. Courses such as public speaking and speech analysis apply fundamental Greek theories (such as the modes of persuasion: ethos
Ethos
Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

, pathos
Pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

, and logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

) as well as trace rhetorical development throughout the course of history. Rhetoric has earned a more esteemed reputation as a field of study with the emergence of Communication Studies
Communication studies
Communication Studies is an academic field that deals with processes of communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols over distances in space and time. Hence, communication studies encompasses a wide range of topics and contexts ranging from face-to-face conversation to speeches to mass...

 departments in university programs and in conjunction with the linguistic turn. Rhetorical study has broadened in scope, and is especially utilized by the fields of marketing, politics, and literature.

Rhetoric, as an area of study, is concerned with how humans use symbols, especially language, to reach agreement that permits coordinated effort of some sort. Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, the first university in the United States, based on the European model, taught a basic curriculum, including rhetoric. Rhetoric, in this sense, how to properly give speeches, played an important role in their training. Rhetoric was soon taught in departments of English as well.

Epistemology



The relationship between rhetoric and knowledge is one of the oldest and most interesting problems. The contemporary stereotype of rhetoric as "empty speech" or "empty words" reflects a radical division of rhetoric from knowledge, a division that has had influential adherents within the rhetorical tradition, most notably Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 and Peter Ramus. It is a division that has been strongly associated with Enlightenment thinking about language, which attempted to make language a neutral, transparent medium. A philosophical argument has ensued for centuries about whether or not rhetoric and truth have any correlation to one another. In ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, the sophists generally believed that humans were incapable of determining truth but used logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

 to determine what was best (or worst) for the community. Sophists like Protagoras
Protagoras
Protagoras was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher and is numbered as one of the sophists by Plato. In his dialogue Protagoras, Plato credits him with having invented the role of the professional sophist or teacher of virtue...

 put great emphasis on speech as a means that could help in making these decisions for the community.

However, Plato was critical of the sophists’ views because he believed that rhetoric was simply too dangerous, being based in skill and common opinion (doxa
Doxa
Doxa is a Greek word meaning common belief or popular opinion, from which are derived the modern terms of orthodoxy and heterodoxy.Used by the Greek rhetoricians as a tool for the formation of argument by using common opinions, the doxa was often manipulated by sophists to persuade the people,...

). Plato set out to instead discover episteme
Episteme
Episteme, as distinguished from techne, is etymologically derived from the Greek word ἐπιστήμη for knowledge or science, which comes from the verb ἐπίσταμαι, "to know".- The Concept of an "Episteme" in Michel Foucault :...

, or “truth,” through the dialectical method. Since Plato’s argument has shaped western philosophy, rhetoric has mainly been regarded as an evil that has no epistemic status.

Over the 20th century, with the influence of social constructionism
Social constructionism
Social constructionism and social constructivism are sociological theories of knowledge that consider how social phenomena or objects of consciousness develop in social contexts. A social construction is a concept or practice that is the construct of a particular group...

 and Pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

, this tradition began to change. Robert L. Scott states that rhetoric is, in fact, epistemic. His argument is based on the belief that truth is not a central, objective set of facts but that truth is based on the situation at hand. Scott goes as far as stating that if a man believes in an ultimate truth and argues it, he is only fooling himself by convincing himself of one argument among many possible options. Ultimately, truth is relative to situated experiences, and rhetoric is necessary to give meaning to individual circumstances. Researchers in the rhetoric of science
Rhetoric of science
Rhetoric of science is a body of scholarly literature exploring the notion that the practice of science is a rhetorical activity. It emerged from a number of disciplines during the late twentieth century, including the disciplines of sociology, history, and philosophy of science, but it is...

, have shown how the two are difficult to separate, and how discourse helps to create knowledge. This perspective is often called "epistemic rhetoric", where communication among interlocutors is fundamental to the creation of knowledge in communities.

Truth has also been theorized as a mutual agreement amongst the community. Academics like Thomas Farrell discuss the importance of social consensus as knowledge. Furthermore, Brummett points out, “A worldview in which truth is agreement must have rhetoric at its heart, for agreement is gained in no other way.” So, if one agrees with the statement that truth is mutual agreement, truth must be relative and necessarily arise in persuasion. Emphasizing this close relationship between discourse and knowledge, contemporary rhetoricians have been associated with a number of philosophical and social scientific theories that see language and discourse as central to, rather than in conflict with, knowledge-making.(See Critical Theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

, Post-structuralism
Post-structuralism
Post-structuralism is a label formulated by American academics to denote the heterogeneous works of a series of French intellectuals who came to international prominence in the 1960s and '70s...

, Hermeneutics, Dramatism
Dramatism
Dramatism, introduced by rhetorician Kenneth Burke, made its way into the field of communication in the early 1950s as a method for understanding the social uses of language and how to encounter the social and symbolic world of a drama...

, Reflexivity).

History


Rhetoric has its origins in the earliest civilization, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

. Some of the earliest examples of rhetoric can be found in the Akkadian writings of the princess and priestess Enheduanna (ca. 2285-2250 BC), while later examples can be found in the Neo-Assyrian Empire during the time of Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

 (704–681 BC). In ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, rhetoric has existed since at least the Middle Kingdom period
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 (ca. 2080-1640 BC). The Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 held eloquent speaking in high esteem, and it was a skill that had a very high value in their society. The "Egyptian rules of rhetoric" also clearly specified that "knowing when not to speak is essential, and very respected, rhetorical knowledge." Their "approach to rhetoric" was thus a "balance between eloquence and wise silence." Their rules of speech also strongly emphasized "adherence to social behaviors that support a conservative status quo" and they held that "skilled speech should support, not question, society." In ancient China, rhetoric dates back to the Chinese philosopher
Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy is philosophy written in the Chinese tradition of thought. The majority of traditional Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States era, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and...

, Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

 (551-479 BC), and continued with later followers. The tradition of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 emphasized the use of eloquence
Eloquence
Eloquence is fluent, forcible, elegant or persuasive speaking. It is primarily the power of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language, thereby producing conviction or persuasion...

 in speaking. The use of rhetoric can also be found in the ancient Biblical tradition.

In ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, the earliest mention of oratorical skill occurs in Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

's Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, where heroes like Achilles
Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

, Hektor, and Odysseus
Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

 were honored for their ability to advise and exhort their peers and followers (the Laos or army) in wise and appropriate action. With the rise of the democratic polis, speaking skill was adapted to the needs of the public and political life of cities in ancient Greece, much of which revolved around the use of oratory as the medium through which political and judicial decisions were made, and through which philosophical ideas were developed and disseminated. For modern students today, it can be difficult to remember that the wide use and availability of written texts is a phenomenon that was just coming into vogue in Classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

. In Classical times, many of the great thinkers and political leaders performed their works before an audience, usually in the context of a competition or contest for fame, political influence, and cultural capital; in fact, many of them are known only through the texts that their students, followers, or detractors wrote down. As has already been noted, rhetor was the Greek term for orator: A rhetor was a citizen who regularly addressed juries and political assemblies and who was thus understood to have gained some knowledge about public speaking in the process, though in general facility with language was often referred to as logôn techne, "skill with arguments" or "verbal artistry."

Rhetoric thus evolved as an important art, one that provided the orator with the forms, means, and strategies for persuading an audience of the correctness of the orator's arguments. Today the term rhetoric can be used at times to refer only to the form of argumentation, often with the pejorative connotation that rhetoric is a means of obscuring the truth. Classical philosophers believed quite the contrary: the skilled use of rhetoric was essential to the discovery of truths, because it provided the means of ordering and clarifying arguments.

The Sophists


In Europe, organized thought about public speaking began in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. Possibly, the first study about the power of language may be attributed to the philosopher Empedocles
Empedocles
Empedocles was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the originator of the cosmogenic theory of the four Classical elements...

 (d. ca. 444 BC), whose theories on human knowledge would provide a basis for many future rhetoricians. The first written manual is attributed to Corax
Corax of Syracuse
Corax or Korax , along with Tisias, was one of the founders of ancient Greek rhetoric. It has sometimes been asserted that they are merely legendary personages. Other scholars contend that Corax and Tisias were the same person, described in one fragment as "Tisias, the Crow"...

 and his pupil Tisias
Tisias
Tisias , along with Corax of Syracuse, was one of the founders of ancient Greek rhetoric, or sophism. Tisias was reputed to have been the pupil of the lawyer Corax, who agreed to teach Tisias under the condition that he would give him payment for schooling if he won his first case...

. Their work, as well as that of many of the early rhetoricians, grew out of the courts of law; Tisias, for example, is believed to have written judicial speeches that others delivered in the courts. Teaching in oratory was popularized in the 5th century BC by itinerant teachers known as sophists, the best known of whom were Protagoras
Protagoras
Protagoras was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher and is numbered as one of the sophists by Plato. In his dialogue Protagoras, Plato credits him with having invented the role of the professional sophist or teacher of virtue...

 (c.481-420 BC), Gorgias
Gorgias
Gorgias ,Greek sophist, pre-socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger...

 (c.483-376 BC), and Isocrates
Isocrates
Isocrates , an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works....

 (436-338 BC). The Sophists were a disparate group who travelled from city to city, teaching in public places to attract students and offer them an education. Their central focus was on logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

 or what we might broadly refer to as discourse
Discourse
Discourse generally refers to "written or spoken communication". The following are three more specific definitions:...

, its functions and powers. They defined parts of speech, analyzed poetry, parsed close synonyms, invented argumentation strategies, and debated the nature of reality. They claimed to make their students "better," or, in other words, to teach virtue
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

. They thus claimed that human "excellence" was not an accident of fate or a prerogative of noble birth, but an art or "techne" that could be taught and learned. They were thus among the first humanists. Several sophists also questioned received wisdom about the gods and the Greek culture, which they believed was taken for granted by Greeks of their time, making them among the first agnostics. For example, they argued that cultural practices were a function of convention or nomos
Nomos
Nomos or Nomoi may refer to:* Nome , a subdivisions of Ancient Egypt* Nome , the administrative division immediately below the peripheries of Greece * law...

 rather than blood or birth or phusis. They argued even further that morality or immorality of any action could not be judged outside of the cultural context within which it occurred. The well-known phrase, "Man is the measure of all things" arises from this belief. One of their most famous, and infamous, doctrines has to do with probability and counter arguments. They taught that every argument could be countered with an opposing argument, that an argument's effectiveness derived from how "likely" it appeared to the audience (its probability of seeming true), and that any probability argument could be countered with an inverted probability argument. Thus, if it seemed likely that a strong, poor man were guilty of robbing a rich, weak man, the strong poor man could argue, on the contrary, that this very likelihood (that he would be a suspect) makes it unlikely that he committed the crime, since he would most likely be apprehended for the crime. They also taught and were known for their ability to make the weaker (or worse) argument the stronger (or better). Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

 famously parodies the clever inversions that sophists were known for in his play The Clouds.

The word "sophistry" developed strong negative connotations in ancient Greece that continue today, but in ancient Greece sophists were nevertheless popular and well-paid professionals, widely respected for their abilities but also widely criticized for their excesses.

Isocrates



Isocrates (436-338 BC), like the sophists, taught public speaking as a means of human improvement, but he worked to distinguish himself from the Sophists, whom he saw as claiming far more than they could deliver. He suggested that while an art of virtue or excellence did exist, it was only one piece, and the least, in a process of self-improvement that relied much more heavily on native talent and desire, constant practice, and the imitation of good models. Isocrates believed that practice in speaking publicly about noble themes and important questions would function to improve the character of both speaker and audience while also offering the best service to a city. In fact, Isocrates was an outspoken champion of rhetoric as a mode of civic engagement. He thus wrote his speeches as "models" for his students to imitate in the same way that poets might imitate Homer or Hesiod, seeking to inspire in them a desire to attain fame through civic leadership. His was the first permanent school in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 and it is likely that Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum were founded in part as a response to Isocrates. Though he left no handbooks, his speeches ("Antidosis" and "Against the Sophists" are most relevant to students of rhetoric) became models of oratory (he was one of the canonical "Ten Attic Orators") and keys to his entire educational program. He had a marked influence on Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 and Quintilian
Quintilian
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing...

, and through them, on the entire educational system of the west.

Plato



Plato (427-347 BC) famously outlined the differences between true and false rhetoric in a number of dialogues; particularly the Gorgias and Phaedrus wherein Plato disputes the Sophistic notion that the art of persuasion (the Sophists' art which he calls "rhetoric"), can exist independent of the art of dialectic. Plato claims that since Sophists appeal only to what seems probable, they are not advancing their students and audiences, but simply flattering them with what they want to hear. While Plato's condemnation of rhetoric is clear in the Gorgias, in the Phaedrus he suggests the possibility of a true art wherein rhetoric is based upon the knowledge produced by dialectic, and relies on a dialectically informed rhetoric to appeal to the main character: Phaedrus, to take up philosophy. Thus Plato's rhetoric is actually dialectic (or philosophy) "turned" toward those who are not yet philosophers and are thus unready to pursue dialectic directly. Plato's animosity against rhetoric, and against the Sophists, derives not only from their inflated claims to teach virtue and their reliance on appearances, but from the fact that his teacher, Socrates, was sentenced to death for being a Sophist.

Aristotle



Plato's student Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (384-322 BC) famously set forth an extended treatise on rhetoric that still repays careful study today. In the first sentence of The Art of Rhetoric
Rhetoric (Aristotle)
Aristotle's Rhetoric is an ancient Greek treatise on the art of persuasion, dating from the 4th century BC. In Greek, it is titled ΤΕΧΝΗ ΡΗΤΟΡΙΚΗ, in Latin Ars Rhetorica. In English, its title varies: typically it is titled Rhetoric, the Art of Rhetoric, or a Treatise on...

, Aristotle says that "rhetoric is the counterpart [literally, the antistrophe
Antistrophe
Antistrophe is the portion of an ode sung by the chorus in its returning movement from west to east, in response to the strophe, which was sung from east to west.It has the nature of a reply and balances the effect of the strophe...

] of dialectic." As the "antistrophe" of a Greek ode
Ode
Ode is a type of lyrical verse. A classic ode is structured in three major parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode. Different forms such as the homostrophic ode and the irregular ode also exist...

 responds to and is patterned after the structure of the "strophe
Strophe
A strophe forms the first part of the ode in Ancient Greek tragedy, followed by the antistrophe and epode. In its original Greek setting, "strophe, antistrophe and epode were a kind of stanza framed only for the music," as John Milton wrote in the preface to Samson Agonistes, with the strophe...

" (they form two sections of the whole and are sung by two parts of the chorus), so the art of rhetoric follows and is structurally patterned after the art of dialectic because both are arts of discourse production. Thus, while dialectical methods are necessary to find truth in theoretical matters, rhetorical methods are required in practical matters such as adjudicating somebody's guilt or innocence when charged in a court of law, or adjudicating a prudent course of action to be taken in a deliberative assembly.
For Plato and Aristotle, dialectic involves persuasion, so when Aristotle says that rhetoric is the antistrophe
Antistrophe
Antistrophe is the portion of an ode sung by the chorus in its returning movement from west to east, in response to the strophe, which was sung from east to west.It has the nature of a reply and balances the effect of the strophe...

 of dialectic, he means that rhetoric as he uses the term has a domain or scope of application that is parallel to but different from the domain or scope of application of dialectic. In Nietzsche Humanist (1998: 129), Claude Pavur explains that "[t]he Greek prefix 'anti' does not merely designate opposition, but it can also mean 'in place of.'" When Aristotle characterizes rhetoric as the antistrophe of dialectic, he no doubt means that rhetoric is used in place of dialectic when we are discussing civic issues in a court of law or in a legislative assembly. The domain of rhetoric is civic affairs and practical decision making in civic affairs, not theoretical considerations of operational definitions of terms and clarification of thought – these, for him, are in the domain of dialectic.

Aristotle's treatise on rhetoric is an attempt to systematically describe civic rhetoric as a human art or skill (techne). His definition of rhetoric as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion," essentially a mode of discovery, seems to limit the art to the inventional process, and Aristotle heavily emphasizes the logical aspect of this process. But the treatise in fact also discusses not only elements of style and (briefly) delivery, but also emotional appeals (pathos) and characterological appeals (ethos). He thus identifies three steps or "offices" of rhetoric—invention, arrangement, and style—and three different types of rhetorical proof:
  • ethos
    Ethos
    Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

    : how the character and credibility of a speaker can influence an audience to consider him/her to be believable.
    • This could be any position in which the speaker—whether an acknowledged expert on the subject, or an acquaintance of a person who experienced the matter in question—knows about the topic.
    • For instance, when a magazine claims that An MIT professor predicts that the robotic era is coming in 2050, the use of big-name "MIT" (a world-renowned American university for the advanced research in math, science, and technology) establishes the "strong" credibility.
  • pathos
    Pathos
    Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

    : the use of emotional appeals to alter the audience's judgment.
    • This can be done through metaphor, amplification, storytelling, or presenting the topic in a way that evokes strong emotions in the audience.
  • logos
    Logos
    ' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

    : the use of reasoning, either inductive or deductive, to construct an argument.
    • Logos appeals include appeals to statistics, math, logic, and objectivity. For instance, when advertisements claim that their product is 37% more effective than the competition, they are making a logical appeal.
    • Inductive reasoning
      Inductive reasoning
      Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances...

       uses examples (historical, mythical, or hypothetical) to draw conclusions.
    • Deductive reasoning
      Deductive reasoning
      Deductive reasoning, also called deductive logic, is reasoning which constructs or evaluates deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises or hypothesis...

      , or "enthymematic" reasoning, uses generally accepted propositions to derive specific conclusions. The term logic evolved from logos. Aristotle emphasized enthymematic reasoning as central to the process of rhetorical invention, though later rhetorical theorists placed much less emphasis on it.


Aristotle also identifies three different types or genres of civic rhetoric: forensic (also known as judicial, was concerned with determining truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

 or falsity of events that took place in the past
Past
Most generally, the past is a term used to indicate the totality of events which occurred before a given point in time. The past is contrasted with and defined by the present and the future. The concept of the past is derived from the linear fashion in which human observers experience time, and is...

, issues of guilt), deliberative (also known as political, was concerned with determining whether or not particular actions should or should not be taken in the future
Future
The future is the indefinite time period after the present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the nature of the reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently exists and will exist is temporary and will come...

), and epideictic
Epideictic
The Epideictic oratory, also called ceremonial oratory, or praise-and-blame rhetoric, is one of the three branches, or "species" , of rhetoric as outlined in Aristotle's Rhetoric, to be used to praise or blame during ceremonies....

 (also known as ceremonial, was concerned with praise and blame, values, right and wrong, demonstrating beauty and skill in the present).

In the rhetoric field, there is an intellectual debate about Aristotle's definition of rhetoric. Some believe that Aristotle defines rhetoric in On Rhetoric as the art of persuasion, while others think he defines it as the art of judgment. Rhetoric as the art of judgment would mean the rhetor discerns the available means of persuasion with a choice. Aristotle also says rhetoric is concerned with judgment because the audience judges the rhetor's ethos.

One of the most famous of Aristotelian doctrines was the idea of topics (also referred to as common topics or commonplaces). Though the term had a wide range of application (as a memory technique or compositional exercise, for example) it most often referred to the "seats of argument"—the list of categories of thought or modes of reasoning—that a speaker could use in order to generate arguments or proofs. The topics were thus a heuristic or inventional tool designed to help speakers categorize and thus better retain and apply frequently used types of argument. For example, since we often see effects as "like" their causes, one way to invent an argument (about a future effect) is by discussing the cause (which it will be "like"). This and other rhetorical topics derive from Aristotle's belief that there are certain predictable ways in which humans (particularly non-specialists) draw conclusions from premises. Based upon and adapted from his dialectical Topics, the rhetorical topics became a central feature of later rhetorical theorizing, most famously in Cicero's work of that name.

Cicero



For the Romans, oration became an important part of public life. Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 (106-43 BC) was chief among Roman rhetoricians and remains the best known ancient orator and the only orator who both spoke in public and produced treatises on the subject. Rhetorica ad Herennium
Rhetorica ad Herennium
The Rhetorica ad Herennium, formerly attributed to Cicero but of unknown authorship, is the oldest surviving Latin book on rhetoric, dating from the 90s BC, and is still used today as a textbook on the structure and uses of rhetoric and persuasion....

, formerly attributed to Cicero but now considered to be of unknown authorship, is one of the most significant works on rhetoric and is still widely used as a reference today. It is an extensive reference on the use of rhetoric, and in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, it achieved wide publication as an advanced school text on rhetoric.

Cicero is considered one of the most significant rhetoricians of all time. His works include the early and very influential De Inventione
De Inventione
The De Inventione is a handbook for orators that M. Tullius Cicero composed when he was still a young man. Quintillian tells us that Cicero considered the work rendered obsolete by his later writings. Originally four books in all, only two have survived into modern times.-External links:* by C.D....

 (On Invention, often read alongside the Ad Herennium as the two basic texts of rhetorical theory throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance), De Oratore
De Oratore
De Oratore is a dialogue written by Cicero in 55 BCE. It is set in 91 BCE, when Lucius Licinius Crassus dies, just before the social war and the civil war between Marius and Sulla, during which Marcus Antonius Orator, the other great orator of this dialogue, dies...

 (a fuller statement of rhetorical principles in dialogue form), Topics (a rhetorical treatment of common topics, highly influential through the Renaissance), Brutus (Cicero)
Brutus (Cicero)
Cicero's Brutus is a history of Roman oratory. It is written in the form of a dialogue, in which Brutus and Atticus ask Cicero to describe the qualities of all the leading Roman orators up to their time. It was composed in 46 B.C.-Further reading:*G. V...

 (a discussion of famous orators) and Orator (a defense of Cicero's style). Cicero also left a large body of speeches and letters which would establish the outlines of Latin eloquence and style for generations to come. It was the rediscovery of Cicero's speeches (such as the defense of Archias) and letters (to Atticus) by Italians like Petrarch
Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

 that, in part, ignited the cultural innovations that we know as the Renaissance. He championed the learning of Greek (and Greek rhetoric), contributed to Roman ethics, linguistics, philosophy, and politics, and emphasized the importance of all forms of appeal (emotion, humor, stylistic range, irony and digression in addition to pure reasoning) in oratory. But perhaps his most significant contribution to subsequent rhetoric, and education in general, was his argument that orators learn not only about the specifics of their case (the hypothesis) but also about the general questions from which they were derived (the theses). Thus, in giving a speech in defense of a poet whose Roman citizenship had been questioned, the orator should examine not only the specifics of that poet's civic status, he should also examine the role and value of poetry and of literature more generally in Roman culture and political life. The orator, said Cicero, needed to be knowledgeable about all areas of human life and culture, including law, politics, history, literature, ethics, warfare, medicine, even arithmetic and geometry. Cicero gave rise to the idea that the "ideal orator" be well-versed in all branches of learning: an idea that was rendered as "liberal humanism," and that lives on today in liberal arts or general education requirements in colleges and universities around the world.

Quintilian


Quintilian (35-100 AD) began his career as a pleader in the courts of law; his reputation grew so great that Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 created a chair of rhetoric for him in Rome. The culmination of his life's work was the Institutio oratoria (Institutes of Oratory, or alternatively, The Orator's Education), a lengthy treatise on the training of the orator in which he discusses the training of the "perfect" orator from birth to old age and, in the process, reviews the doctrines and opinions of many influential rhetoricians who preceded him.

In the Institutes, Quintilian organizes rhetorical study through the stages of education that an aspiring orator would undergo, beginning with the selection of a nurse. Aspects of elementary education (training in reading and writing, grammar, and literary criticism) are followed by preliminary rhetorical exercises in composition (the progymnasmata) that include maxims and fables, narratives and comparisons, and finally full legal or political speeches. The delivery of speeches within the context of education or for entertainment purposes became widespread and popular under the term "declamation." Rhetorical training proper was categorized under five canons that would persist for centuries in academic circles:
  • Inventio
    Inventio
    Inventio is the system or method used for the discovery of arguments in Western rhetoric and comes from the Latin word, meaning "invention" or "discovery"...

     (invention) is the process that leads to the development and refinement of an argument.
  • Once arguments are developed, dispositio
    Dispositio
    See also: Disposition Dispositio is the system used for the organization of arguments in Western classical rhetoric. The word is Latin, and can be translated as "organization" or "arrangement."...

     (disposition, or arrangement) is used to determine how it should be organized for greatest effect, usually beginning with the exordium
    Exordium (rhetoric)
    In Western classical rhetoric, the exordium was the introductory portion of an oration. The term is Latin and the Greek equivalent was called the Proem or Prooimion....

    .
  • Once the speech content is known and the structure is determined, the next steps involve elocutio
    Elocutio
    Elocutio is the term for the mastery of stylistic elements in Western classical rhetoric and comes from the Latin loqui, "to speak". Although today we associate the word elocution more with eloquent speaking, for the classical rhetorician it connoted "style".It is the third of the five canons of...

     (style) and pronuntiatio
    Pronuntiatio
    Pronuntiatio was the discipline of delivering speeches in Western classical rhetoric. It is the one of five canons of classical rhetoric that concern the crafting and delivery of speeches. In literature the equivalent of ancient pronuntiatio is the recitation of epics Pronuntiatio was the...

     (presentation).
  • Memoria
    Memoria
    Memoria was the term for aspects involving memory in Western classical rhetoric. The word is Latin, and can be translated as "memory."It was one of five canons in classical rhetoric concerned with the crafting and delivery of speeches and prose.The art of rhetoric grew out of oratory, which was...

     (memory) comes to play as the speaker recalls each of these elements during the speech.
  • Actio
    Actio
    Actio is a term in rhetoric that means the delivery that is given to a speech. Hand gestures, voice variation, speaker to audience eye contact, and an engaging manner are all needed for an effective actio.- See also :* Actio popularis, in law...

     (delivery) is the final step as the speech is presented in a gracious and pleasing way to the audience - the Grand Style.


This work was available only in fragments in medieval times, but the discovery of a complete copy at the Abbey of St. Gall
Abbey of St. Gall
The Abbey of Saint Gall is a religious complex in the city of St. Gallen in present-day Switzerland. The Carolingian-era Abbey has existed since 719 and became an independent principality during the 13th century, and was for many centuries one of the chief Benedictine abbeys in Europe. It was...

 in 1416 led to its emergence as one of the most influential works on rhetoric during the Renaissance.

Quintilian's work describes not just the art of rhetoric, but the formation of the perfect orator as a politically active, virtuous, publicly minded citizen. His emphasis was on the ethical application of rhetorical training, in part a reaction against the growing tendency in Roman schools toward standardization of themes and techniques. At the same time that rhetoric was becoming divorced from political decision making, rhetoric rose as a culturally vibrant and important mode of entertainment and cultural criticism in a movement known as the "second sophistic," a development which gave rise to the charge (made by Quintilian and others) that teachers were emphasizing style over substance in rhetoric.

Medieval to Enlightenment


After the breakup of the western Roman Empire, the study of rhetoric continued to be central to the study of the verbal arts; but the study of the verbal arts went into decline for several centuries, followed eventually by a gradual rise in formal education, culminating in the rise of medieval universities. But rhetoric transmuted during this period into the arts of letter writing (ars dictaminis
Ars dictaminis
The ars dictaminis was the medieval description of the art of prose composition, and more specifically of the writing of letters . It is closely linked to the ars dictandi, covering the composition of documents other than letters. The standing assumption was that these writings would be composed in...

) and sermon writing (ars praedicandi). As part of the trivium, rhetoric was secondary to the study of logic, and its study was highly scholastic: students were given repetitive exercises in the creation of discourses on historical subjects (suasoriae) or on classic legal questions (controversiae).

Although he is not commonly regarded as a rhetorician, St. Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 (354-430) was trained in rhetoric and was at one time a professor of Latin rhetoric in Milan. After his conversion to Christianity, he became interested in using these "pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

" arts for spreading his religion. This new use of rhetoric is explored in the Fourth Book of his De Doctrina Christiana, which laid the foundation of what would become homiletics
Homiletics
Homiletics , in theology the application of the general principles of rhetoric to the specific department of public preaching. The one who practices or studies homiletics is called a homilist....

, the rhetoric of the sermon. Augustine begins the book by asking why "the power of eloquence, which is so efficacious in pleading either for the erroneous cause or the right", should not be used for righteous purposes (IV.3).

One early concern of the medieval Christian church was its attitude to classical rhetoric itself. Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 (d. 420) complained, "What has Horace
Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...

 to do with the Psalms, Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

 with the Gospels, Cicero with the Apostles?" Augustine is also remembered for arguing for the preservation of pagan works and fostering a church tradition which led to conservation of numerous pre-Christian rhetorical writings.

Rhetoric would not regain its classical heights until the renaissance, but new writings did advance rhetorical thought. Boethius (480?-524), in his brief Overview of the Structure of Rhetoric, continues Aristotle's taxonomy by placing rhetoric in subordination to philosophical argument or dialectic. The introduction of Arab scholarship
Islamic contributions to Medieval Europe
Islamic contributions to Medieval Europe were numerous, affecting such varied areas as art, architecture, medicine, agriculture, music, language, and technology. From the 11th to 13th centuries, Europe absorbed knowledge from the Islamic civilization...

 from European relations with the Muslim empire
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 (in particular Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

) renewed interest in Aristotle and Classical thought in general, leading to what some historians call the 12th century renaissance. A number of medieval grammars and studies of poetry and rhetoric appeared.

Late medieval rhetorical writings include those of St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 (1225?-1274), Matthew of Vendome
Matthew of Vendôme
Matthew of Vendôme was a French poet of the twelfth century, writing in Latin. He was a pupil of Bernard Silvestris, at Tours, as he himself writes. He is known for his Ars Versificatoria, a theoretical work on versification.According to E. R. Curtius,.....

 (Ars Versificatoria, 1175?), and Geoffrey of Vinsauf
Geoffrey of Vinsauf
Geoffrey of Vinsauf is a representative of the early medieval grammarian movement, termed preceptive grammar by James J. Murphy for its interest in teaching ars poetria ....

 (Poetria Nova, 1200–1216). Pre-modern female rhetoricians, outside of Socrates' friend Aspasia
Aspasia
Aspasia was a Milesian woman who was famous for her involvement with the Athenian statesman Pericles. Very little is known about the details of her life. She spent most of her adult life in Athens, and she may have influenced Pericles and Athenian politics...

, are rare; but medieval rhetoric produced by women either in religious orders, such as Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich is regarded as one of the most important English mystics. She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches, but has never been canonized, or officially beatified, by the Catholic Church, probably because so little is known of her life aside from her writings, including the...

 (d. 1415), or the very well-connected Christine de Pizan
Christine de Pizan
Christine de Pizan was a Venetian-born late medieval author who challenged misogyny and stereotypes prevalent in the male-dominated medieval culture. As a poet, she was well known and highly regarded in her own day; she completed 41 works during her 30 year career , and can be regarded as...

 (1364?-1430?), did occur if not always recorded in writing.

In his 1943 Cambridge University doctoral dissertation in English, Canadian Marshall McLuhan
Marshall McLuhan
Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist...

 (1911–1980) surveys the verbal arts from approximately the time of Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 down to the time of Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe
Thomas Nashe was an English Elizabethan pamphleteer, playwright, poet and satirist. He was the son of the minister William Nashe and his wife Margaret .-Early life:...

 (1567-1600?). His dissertation is still noteworthy for undertaking to study the history of the verbal arts together as the trivium, even though the developments that he surveys have been studied in greater detail since he undertook his study. As noted below, McLuhan became one of the most widely publicized thinkers in the 20th century, so it is important to note his scholarly roots in the study of the history of rhetoric and dialectic.

Another interesting record of medieval rhetorical thought can be seen in the many animal debate poems popular in England and the continent during the Middle Ages, such as The Owl and the Nightingale
The Owl and the Nightingale
The Owl and the Nightingale is a 12th- or 13th-century Middle English poem detailing a debate between an owl and a nightingale as overheard by the poem's narrator. It is the earliest example in Middle English of a literary form known as debate poetry...

 (13th century) and Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer , known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey...

's Parliament of Fowls (1382?).

Sixteenth century


Walter J. Ong's encyclopedia article "Humanism" in the 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia provides a well-informed survey of Renaissance humanism, which defined itself broadly as disfavoring medieval scholastic logic and dialectic and as favoring instead the study of classical Latin style and grammar and philology and rhetoric. (Reprinted in Ong's Faith and Contexts (Scholars Press, 1999; 4: 69-91.))

One influential figure in the rebirth of interest in classical rhetoric was Erasmus (c.1466-1536). His 1512 work, De Duplici Copia Verborum et Rerum (also known as Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style
Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style
Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style is a rhetorical guide written by Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus in 1512. It is Erasmus' systematic instruction on how to embellish, amplify, and give variety to speech and writing...

), was widely published (it went through more than 150 editions throughout Europe) and became one of the basic school texts on the subject. Its treatment of rhetoric is less comprehensive than the classic works of antiquity, but provides a traditional treatment of res-verba (matter and form): its first book treats the subject of elocutio
Elocutio
Elocutio is the term for the mastery of stylistic elements in Western classical rhetoric and comes from the Latin loqui, "to speak". Although today we associate the word elocution more with eloquent speaking, for the classical rhetorician it connoted "style".It is the third of the five canons of...

, showing the student how to use schemes and tropes
Figure of speech
A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile,...

; the second book covers inventio
Inventio
Inventio is the system or method used for the discovery of arguments in Western rhetoric and comes from the Latin word, meaning "invention" or "discovery"...

. Much of the emphasis is on abundance of variation (copia means "plenty" or "abundance", as in copious or cornucopia), so both books focus on ways to introduce the maximum amount of variety into discourse. For instance, in one section of the De Copia, Erasmus presents two hundred variations of the sentence "Semper, dum vivam, tui meminero." Another of his works, the extremely popular The Praise of Folly
The Praise of Folly
In Praise of Folly is an essay written in 1509 by Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam and first printed in 1511...

, also had considerable influence on the teaching of rhetoric in the later 16th century. Its orations in favour of qualities such as madness spawned a type of exercise popular in Elizabethan grammar schools, later called adoxography
Adoxography
Adoxography is a term coined in the late 19th century, and means "fine writing on a trivial or base subject." It was a form of rhetorical exercise “in which the legitimate methods of the encomium are applied to persons or objects in themselves obviously unworthy of praise, as being trivial, ugly,...

, which required pupils to compose passages in praise of useless things.

Juan Luis Vives
Juan Luís Vives
Juan Luis Vives , also Joan Lluís Vives i March , was a Valencian Spanish scholar and humanist.-Biography:Vives was born in Valencia...

 (1492–1540) also helped shape the study of rhetoric in England. A Spaniard, he was appointed in 1523 to the Lectureship of Rhetoric at Oxford by Cardinal Wolsey, and was entrusted by Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 to be one of the tutors of Mary. Vives fell into disfavor when Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

 and left England in 1528. His best-known work was a book on education, De Disciplinis, published in 1531, and his writings on rhetoric included Rhetoricae, sive De Ratione Dicendi, Libri Tres (1533), De Consultatione (1533), and a rhetoric on letter writing, De Conscribendis Epistolas (1536).

It is likely that many well-known English writers would have been exposed to the works of Erasmus and Vives
Vives
Vives is a common surname present in Catalan countries, and it can refer to:*Vivès, commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France*11363 Vives, main belt asteroid- People :*Amadeo Vives, a Spanish musical composer...

 (as well as those of the Classical rhetoricians) in their schooling, which was conducted in Latin (not English) and often included some study of Greek and placed considerable emphasis on rhetoric. See, for example, T.W. Baldwin's William Shakspere's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke, 2 vols. (University of Illinois Press, 1944).

The mid-16th century saw the rise of vernacular rhetorics — those written in English rather than in the Classical languages; adoption of works in English was slow, however, due to the strong orientation toward Latin and Greek. Leonard Cox
Leonard Cox
Leonard Cox was an English humanist, author of the first book in English on rhetoric. He was a scholar of international reputation who found patronage in Poland, and was friend of Erasmus and Melanchthon...

's The Art or Crafte of Rhetoryke (c. 1524-1530; second edition published in 1532) is considered to be the earliest text on rhetorics in English; it was, for the most part, a translation of the work of Philipp Melanchthon. A successful early text was Thomas Wilson's The Arte of Rhetorique (1553), which presents a traditional treatment of rhetoric. For instance, Wilson presents the five canons of rhetoric (Invention, Disposition, Elocutio
Elocutio
Elocutio is the term for the mastery of stylistic elements in Western classical rhetoric and comes from the Latin loqui, "to speak". Although today we associate the word elocution more with eloquent speaking, for the classical rhetorician it connoted "style".It is the third of the five canons of...

, Memoria
Memoria
Memoria was the term for aspects involving memory in Western classical rhetoric. The word is Latin, and can be translated as "memory."It was one of five canons in classical rhetoric concerned with the crafting and delivery of speeches and prose.The art of rhetoric grew out of oratory, which was...

, and Utterance or Actio
Actio
Actio is a term in rhetoric that means the delivery that is given to a speech. Hand gestures, voice variation, speaker to audience eye contact, and an engaging manner are all needed for an effective actio.- See also :* Actio popularis, in law...

). Other notable works included Angel Day's The English Secretorie (1586, 1592), George Puttenham
George Puttenham
George Puttenham was a sixteenth-century English writer, literary critic, and notorious rake. He is generally considered to be the author of the enormously influential handbook on poetry and rhetoric, The Arte of English Poesie ....

's The Arte of English Poesie (1589), and Richard Rainholde's Foundacion of Rhetorike (1563).

During this same period, a movement began that would change the organization of the school curriculum in Protestant and especially Puritan circles and lead to rhetoric losing its central place. A French scholar, Pierre de la Ramée, in Latin Petrus Ramus
Petrus Ramus
Petrus Ramus was an influential French humanist, logician, and educational reformer. A Protestant convert, he was killed during the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Early life:...

 (1515–1572), dissatisfied with what he saw as the overly broad and redundant organization of the trivium, proposed a new curriculum. In his scheme of things, the five components of rhetoric no longer lived under the common heading of rhetoric. Instead, invention and disposition were determined to fall exclusively under the heading of dialectic, while style, delivery, and memory were all that remained for rhetoric. See Walter J. Ong
Walter J. Ong
Father Walter Jackson Ong, Ph.D. , was an American Jesuit priest, professor of English literature, cultural and religious historian and philosopher. His major interest was in exploring how the transition from orality to literacy influenced culture and changed human consciousness...

, Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason (Harvard University Press, 1958; reissued by the University of Chicago Press, 2004, with a new foreword by Adrian Johns). Ramus, rightly accused of sodomy and erroneously of atheism, was martyred during the French Wars of Religion. His teachings, seen as inimical to Catholicism, were short-lived in France but found a fertile ground in the Netherlands, Germany and England.

One of Ramus' French followers, Audomarus Talaeus (Omer Talon) published his rhetoric, Institutiones Oratoriae, in 1544. This work provided a simple presentation of rhetoric that emphasized the treatment of style, and became so popular that it was mentioned in John Brinsley
John Brinsley the elder
John Brinsley the elder was an English schoolmaster, known for his educational works.-Life:He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1584 and M.A. in 1588. He became the master of the school at Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, brought there by Henry Hastings,...

's (1612) Ludus literarius; or The Grammar Schoole as being the "most used in the best schooles." Many other Ramist rhetorics followed in the next half-century, and by the 17th century, their approach became the primary method of teaching rhetoric in Protestant and especially Puritan circles. See Walter J. Ong, Ramus and Talon Inventory (Harvard University Press, 1958); Joseph S. Freedman, Philosophy and the Art Europe, 1500-1700: Teaching and Texts at Schools and Universities (Ashgate, 1999). John Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

 (1608–1674) wrote a textbook in logic or dialectic in Latin based on Ramus' work, which has now been translated into English by Walter J. Ong and Charles J. Ermatinger in The Complete Prose Works of John Milton (Yale University Press, 1982; 8: 206-407), with a lengthy introduction by Ong (144-205). The introduction is reprinted in Ong's Faith and Contexts (Scholars Press, 1999; 4: 111-41).

Ramism could not exert any influence on the established Catholic schools and universities, which remained loyal to Scholasticism, or on the new Catholic schools and universities founded by members of the religious orders known as the Society of Jesus
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 or the Oratorians, as can be seen in the Jesuit curriculum (in use right up to the 19th century, across the Christian world) known as the Ratio Studiorum
Ratio Studiorum
The Ratio Studiorum often designates the document that formally established the globally influential system of Jesuit education in 1599...

 (that Claude Pavur, S.J., has recently translated into English, with the Latin text in the parallel column on each page (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2005)). If the influence of Cicero and Quintilian permeates the Ratio Studiorum
Ratio Studiorum
The Ratio Studiorum often designates the document that formally established the globally influential system of Jesuit education in 1599...

, it is through the lenses of devotion and the militancy of the Counter-Reformation. The Ratio was indeed imbued with a sense of the divine, of the incarnate logos, that is of rhetoric as an eloquent and humane means to reach further devotion and further action in the Christian city, which was absent from Ramist formalism. The Ratio is, in rhetoric, the answer to St Ignatius Loyola's practice, in devotion, of "spiritual exercises." This complex oratorical-prayer system is absent from Ramism.

Seventeenth century New England


In New England and at Harvard College
Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

 (founded 1636), Ramus and his followers dominated, as Perry Miller
Perry Miller
Perry G. Miller was an American intellectual historian and Harvard University professor. He was an authority on American Puritanism, and a founder of the field of American Studies. Alfred Kazin referred to him as "the master of American intellectual history"...

 shows in The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century (Harvard University Press, 1939). However, in England, several writers influenced the course of rhetoric during the 17th century, many of them carrying forward the dichotomy that had been set forth by Ramus and his followers during the preceding decades. Of greater importance is that this century saw the development of a modern, vernacular style that looked to English, rather than to Greek, Latin, or French models.

Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

 (1561–1626), although not a rhetorician, contributed to the field in his writings. One of the concerns of the age was to find a suitable style for the discussion of scientific topics, which needed above all a clear exposition of facts and arguments, rather than the ornate style favored at the time. Bacon in his The Advancement of Learning criticized those who are preoccupied with style rather than "the weight of matter, worth of subject, soundness of argument, life of invention, or depth of judgment." On matters of style, he proposed that the style conform to the subject matter and to the audience, that simple words be employed whenever possible, and that the style should be agreeable.

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

 (1588–1679) also wrote on rhetoric. Along with a shortened translation of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's Rhetoric, Hobbes also produced a number of other works on the subject. Sharply contrarian on many subjects, Hobbes, like Bacon, also promoted a simpler and more natural style that used figures of speech sparingly.

Perhaps the most influential development in English style came out of the work of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 (founded in 1660), which in 1664 set up a committee to improve the English language. Among the committee's members were John Evelyn
John Evelyn
John Evelyn was an English writer, gardener and diarist.Evelyn's diaries or Memoirs are largely contemporaneous with those of the other noted diarist of the time, Samuel Pepys, and cast considerable light on the art, culture and politics of the time John Evelyn (31 October 1620 – 27 February...

 (1620–1706), Thomas Sprat
Thomas Sprat
Thomas Sprat , English divine, was born at Beaminster, Dorset, and educated at Wadham College, Oxford, where he held a fellowship from 1657 to 1670.Having taken orders he became a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral in 1660...

 (1635–1713), and John Dryden
John Dryden
John Dryden was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden.Walter Scott called him "Glorious John." He was made Poet...

 (1631–1700). Sprat regarded "fine speaking" as a disease, and thought that a proper style should "reject all amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style" and instead "return back to a primitive purity and shortness" (History of the Royal Society, 1667).

While the work of this committee never went beyond planning, John Dryden is often credited with creating and exemplifying a new and modern English style. His central tenet was that the style should be proper "to the occasion, the subject, and the persons." As such, he advocated the use of English words whenever possible instead of foreign ones, as well as vernacular, rather than Latinate, syntax. His own prose (and his poetry) became exemplars of this new style.

Rhetoric in the 18th and 19th centuries


Arguably one of the most influential schools of rhetoric during this time was Scottish Belletristic rhetoric, exemplified by such professors of rhetoric as Hugh Blair
Hugh Blair
Hugh Blair FRSE was a Scottish minister of religion, author and rhetorician, considered one of the first great theorists of written discourse....

 whose Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres saw international success in various editions and translations.

Modern rhetoric


At the turn of the 20th century, there was a revival of rhetorical study manifested in the establishment of departments of rhetoric and speech at academic institutions, as well as the formation of national and international professional organizations. Theorists generally agree that a significant reason for the revival of the study of rhetoric was the renewed importance of language and persuasion in the increasingly mediated environment of the 20th century (see Linguistic turn
Linguistic turn
The linguistic turn was a major development in Western philosophy during the 20th century, the most important characteristic of which is the focusing of philosophy and the other humanities primarily on the relationship between philosophy and language....

) and through the 21st century, with the media focus on the wide variations and analyses of political rhetoric and its consequences. The rise of advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

 and of mass media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 such as photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

, telegraphy
Telegraphy
Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages via some form of signalling technology. Telegraphy requires messages to be converted to a code which is known to both sender and receiver...

, radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

, and film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 brought rhetoric more prominently into people's lives.Rhetoric has become decreasingly important in the normal school day, because of myriad reasons.

Reflecting this, more recently the term rhetoric has been applied to media forms other than verbal language, e.g. Visual rhetoric
Visual rhetoric
Visual rhetoric is the fairly recent development of a theoretical framework describing how visual images communicate, as opposed to aural, verbal, or other messages. The study of visual rhetoric is different from that of visual or graphic design, in that it emphasizes images as sensory expressions...

. The goal is to analyze how non-verbal communication persuades. For example, a soft drink advertisement showing an image of young people drinking and laughing is making the case that the consumer, by using the product, will be healthy and happy.

Notable modern theorists

  • Chaim Perelman
    Chaim Perelman
    Chaïm Perelman was a Polish-born philosopher of law, who studied, taught, and lived most of his life in Brussels. He was among the most important argumentation theorists of the twentieth century...

    was a philosopher of law, who studied, taught, and lived most of his life in Brussels. He was among the most important argumentation
    Argumentation theory
    Argumentation theory, or argumentation, is the interdisciplinary study of how humans should, can, and do reach conclusions through logical reasoning, that is, claims based, soundly or not, on premises. It includes the arts and sciences of civil debate, dialogue, conversation, and persuasion...

     theorists of the 20th century. His chief work is the Traité de l'argumentation - la nouvelle rhétorique (1958), with Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, which was translated into English as The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation, by John Wilkinson and Purcell Weaver (1969). Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca move rhetoric from the periphery to the center of argumentation theory. Among their most influential concepts are "dissociation," "the universal audience," "quasi-logical argument," and "presence."

  • Henry Johnstone Jr.
    Henry Johnstone Jr.
    Henry Johnstone Jr. was an American philosopher and rhetorician known especially for his notion of the "rhetorical wedge" and his re-evaluation of the ad hominem fallacy. He was Professor of Philosophy at The Pennsylvania State University and began studying Classics in the late 1970s...

    was an American philosopher and rhetorician known especially for his notion of the "rhetorical wedge" and his re-evaluation of the ad hominem fallacy. He was the founder and longtime editor of the journal Philosophy and Rhetoric.

  • Kenneth Burke
    Kenneth Burke
    Kenneth Duva Burke was a major American literary theorist and philosopher. Burke's primary interests were in rhetoric and aesthetics.-Personal history:...

    was a rhetorical theorist, philosopher, and poet. Many of his works are central to modern rhetorical theory: A Rhetoric of Motives (1950), A Grammar of Motives (1945), Language as Symbolic Action (1966), and Counterstatement (1931). Among his influential concepts are "identification," "consubstantiality," and the "dramatistic pentad." He described rhetoric as "the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols."

  • Lloyd Bitzer
    Lloyd Bitzer
    Lloyd Bitzer is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Letters and Science. As a rhetorician he is best known for the concept of "the rhetorical situation." Marilyn Young has characterized him as "one of the most respected rhetoricians of the latter half of the...

    is a rhetorician who is best known for his notion of "the rhetorical situation
    Rhetorical Situation
    The Rhetorical Situation is the context of a rhetorical event that consists of an issue, an audience, and a set of constraints. Two leading views of the rhetorical situation exist today...

    ."

  • Edwin Black was a rhetorical critic best known for his book Rhetorical Criticism: A Study in Method (1965) in which he criticized the dominant "neo-Aristotelian" tradition in American rhetorical criticism as having little in common with Aristotle "besides some recurrent topics of discussion and a vaguely derivative view of rhetorical discourse." Furthermore, he contended, because rhetorical scholars had been focusing primarily on Aristotelian logical forms they often overlooked important, alternative types of discourse. He also published several highly influential essays including: "Secrecy and Disclosure as Rhetorical Forms.", "The Second Persona," and "A Note on Theory and Practice in Rhetorical Criticism."

  • Marshall McLuhan
    Marshall McLuhan
    Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist...

    was a media theorist whose discoveries are important to the study of rhetoric. McLuhan's famous dictum "the medium is the message" highlights the significance of the medium itself. No other scholar of the history and theory of rhetoric was as widely publicized in the 20th century as McLuhan.

  • I.A. Richards was a literary critic and rhetorician. His The Philosophy of Rhetoric is an important text in modern rhetorical theory. In this work, he defined rhetoric as "a study of misunderstandings and its remedies," and introduced the influential concepts tenor and vehicle to describe the components of a metaphor - the main idea and the concept to which it is compared.

  • Stephen Toulmin
    Stephen Toulmin
    Stephen Edelston Toulmin was a British philosopher, author, and educator. Influenced by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Toulmin devoted his works to the analysis of moral reasoning. Throughout his writings, he sought to develop practical arguments which can be used effectively in evaluating the ethics behind...

    was a philosopher whose models of argumentation have had great influence on modern rhetorical theory. His Uses of Argument is an important text in modern rhetorical theory and argumentation theory
    Argumentation theory
    Argumentation theory, or argumentation, is the interdisciplinary study of how humans should, can, and do reach conclusions through logical reasoning, that is, claims based, soundly or not, on premises. It includes the arts and sciences of civil debate, dialogue, conversation, and persuasion...

    .

  • Edward Bernays
    Edward Bernays
    Edward Louis Bernays , was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda along with Ivy Lee, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations"...

    is the father of modern public relations. As such, he devised works about intricate sales and marketing practices to market goods to people. A nephew to Sigmund Freud, he used late 19th century psychology in application of his techniques.

  • Richard E. Vatz is a professor of rhetoric and communication whose framing of rhetoric and persuasion as the struggle for salience/agenda and then struggle for infusion of meaning/spin was first articulated in "The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation
    Rhetorical Situation
    The Rhetorical Situation is the context of a rhetorical event that consists of an issue, an audience, and a set of constraints. Two leading views of the rhetorical situation exist today...

    " and later in “The Mythical Status of Situational Rhetoric". His The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall-Hunt, 2012) explicates his theory of persuasion through the salience-agenda/meaning-spin model.

  • Carl Hovland
    Carl Hovland
    Carl Iver Hovland was a psychologist working primarily at Yale University and the US Army during World War II who studied attitude change and persuasion....

    was a social psychologist who devised the Yale Attitude Change Approach to make persuasive communications more effective. The Yale group developed a general theoretical structure linking individual attributes and persuasion. This theory adapts Aristotle's three means of persuasion: the character of the speaker, the emotional state of the listener, and logos, the argument itself, into a broader sense of social psychology that emphasize the source and nature of the communication and the nature of the audience.

Methods of analysis


There does not exist an analytic method that is widely recognized as "the" rhetorical method, partly because many in rhetorical study see rhetoric as merely produced by reality (see dissent from that view below). It is important to note that the object of rhetorical analysis is typically discourse, and therefore the principles of "rhetorical analysis" would be difficult to distinguish from those of "discourse analysis." However, rhetorical analytic methods can also be applied to almost anything, including objects—a car, a castle, a computer, a comportment.

Generally speaking, rhetorical analysis makes use of rhetorical concepts (ethos, logos, kairos, mediation, etc.) to describe the social or epistemological functions of the object of study. When the object of study happens to be some type of discourse (a speech, a poem, a joke, a newspaper article), the aim of rhetorical analysis is not simply to describe the claims and arguments advanced within the disourse, but (more important) to identify the specific semiotic strategies employed by the speaker to accomplish specific persuasive goals. Therefore, after a rhetorical analyst discovers a use of language that is particularly important in achieving persuasion, she typically moves onto the question of "How does it work?" That is, what effects does this particular use of rhetoric have on an audience, and how does that effect provide more clues as to the speaker's (or writer's) objectives?

There are some scholars who do partial rhetorical analysis and defer judgments about rhetorical success. In other words, some analysts attempt to avoid the question of "Was this use of rhetoric successful [in accomplishing the aims of the speaker]?" To others, however, that is the preeminent point: is the rhetoric strategically effective and what did the rhetoric accomplish? This question allows a shift in focus from the speaker's objectives to the effects and functions of the rhetoric itself.

Rhetorical criticism


Modern rhetorical criticism explores the relationship between text and context; that is, how an instance of rhetoric relates to circumstances. In his Rhetorical Criticism: A Study in Method, scholar Edwin Black
Edwin Black
Edwin Black is an American Jewish syndicated columnist, and journalist specializing in the historical interplay between economics and politics in the Middle East, petroleum policy, the abuses practiced by corporations, and the financial underpinnings of Nazi Germany, among other topics...

 states, “It is the task of criticism not to measure… discourses dogmatically against some parochial standard of rationality but, allowing for the immeasurable wide range of human experience, to see them as they really are.” While the language "as they really are" is debatable, rhetorical critics explain texts and speeches by investigating their rhetorical situation, typically placing them in a framework of speaker/audience exchange.

Following the neo-Aristotelian approaches to criticism, scholars began to derive methods from other disciplines, such as history, philosophy, and the social sciences. The importance of critic’s personal judgment decreased in explicit coverage while the analytical dimension of criticism began to gain momentum. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, methodological pluralism replaced the singular neo-Aristotelian method. Methodological rhetorical criticism is typically done by deduction, where a broad method is used to examine a specific case of rhetoric. These types include:
  • Ideological criticism
    Ideological criticism
    Ideological criticism is a form of rhetorical criticism concerned with critiquing rhetorical artifacts for the dominant ideology they express while silencing opposing or contrary ideologies...

    – critics engage rhetoric as it suggests the beliefs, values, assumptions, and interpretations held by the rhetor or the larger culture. Ideological criticism also treats ideology as an artifact of discourse, one that is embedded in key terms (called “ideographs”) as well as material resources and discursive embodiment.
  • Feminist criticism
    Feminist criticism
    Feminist criticism is a type of literary criticism, which was developed in the late 1960s, focusing on the role of women in literature. Two important representatives are Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir who claim that women are a subject and no object....

    – rooted in the feminist movement, which seeks to improve conditions for women and change existing power relations between men and women. It critiques rhetorical forms and processes that allow oppression to be maintained and seeks to transform them.
  • Cluster criticism
    Cluster criticism
    Cluster criticism is a method of rhetorical criticism in which a critic examines the structural relations and associative meanings between certain main ideas, concepts, or subjects present in a text.-Method:...

    – a method developed by Kenneth Burke
    Kenneth Burke
    Kenneth Duva Burke was a major American literary theorist and philosopher. Burke's primary interests were in rhetoric and aesthetics.-Personal history:...

     that seeks to help the critic understand the rhetor’s worldview. This means identifying terms that are ‘clustered’ around key symbols in the rhetorical artifact and the patterns in which they appear.
  • Generic criticism – a method that assumes certain situations call for similar needs and expectations within the audience, therefore calling for certain types of rhetoric. It studies rhetoric in different times and locations, looking at similarities in the rhetorical situation and the rhetoric that responds to them. Examples include eulogies, inaugural addresses, and declarations of war.
  • Narrative criticism
    Narrative criticism
    Narrative criticism focuses on the stories a speaker or a writer tells to understand how they help us make meaning out of our daily human experiences. Narrative theory is a means by which we can comprehend how we impose order on our experiences and actions by giving them a narrative form...

    – narratives help to organize experiences in order to endow meaning to historical events and transformations. Narrative criticism focuses on the story itself and how the construction of the narrative directs the interpretation of the situation.


By the mid-1980s, however, the study of rhetorical criticism began to move away from precise methodology towards conceptual issues. Conceptually driven criticism operates more through abduction, according to scholar James Jasinski, who argues that this emerging type of criticism can be thought of as a back-and-forth between the text and the concepts, which are being explored at the same time. The concepts remain “works in progress,” and understanding those terms develops through the analysis of a text.

Criticism is considered rhetorical when it focuses on the way some types of discourse react to situational exigencies – problems or demands – and constraints. This means that modern rhetorical criticism is based in how the rhetorical case or object persuades, defines, or constructs the audience. In modern terms, what can be considered rhetoric includes, but it is not limited to, speeches, scientific discourse, pamphlets, literary work, works of art, and pictures. Contemporary rhetorical criticism has maintained aspects of early neo-Aristotelian thinking through close reading, which attempts to explore the organization and stylistic structure of a rhetorical object. Using close textual analysis means rhetorical critics use the tools of classical rhetoric and literary analysis to evaluate the style and strategy used to communicate the argument.

Rhetorical criticism serves several purposes or functions. First, rhetorical criticism hopes to help form or improve public taste. It helps educate audiences and develops them into better judges of rhetorical situations by reinforcing ideas of value, morality, and suitability. Rhetorical criticism can thus contribute to the audience’s understanding of themselves and society.

French rhetoric


Rhetoric was part of the curriculum in Jesuit and, to a lesser extent, Oratorian colleges until the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. For Jesuits, right from the foundation of the Society in France, rhetoric was an integral part of the training of young men toward taking up leadership positions in the Church and in State institutions, as Marc Fumaroli
Marc Fumaroli
Marc Fumaroli was born June 10, 1932 in Marseille. A historian and essayist, he was elected to the Académie française March 2, 1995 and became its Director. He is also a member of the Académie des Inscriptions, the sister academy devoted to high erudition...

 has shown it in his foundational Âge de l’éloquence (1980). The Oratorians, by contrast, reserved it a lesser place, in part due to the stress they placed on modern language acquisition and a more sensualist philosophy (like Bernard Lamy’s La Rhétorique ou l’Art de parler (1675) which is an excellent example of their approach). Nonetheless, in the 18th Century, rhetoric was the structure and crown of secondary education, with works such as Rollin’s Treatise of Studies achieving a wide and enduring fame across the Continent. Later, with Nicolas Boileau and François de Malherbe
François de Malherbe
François de Malherbe was a French poet, critic, and translator.-Life:Born in Le-Locheur , his family was of some position, though it seems not to have been able to establish to the satisfaction of heralds the claims which it made to nobility older than the 16th century.He was the eldest son of...

, rhetoric is the instrument of the clarity of the comment and speech ; the literature that ensues from it is named "Sublime". The main representative remains Rivarol.

The French Revolution, however, turned this around. Philosophers such as Condorcet, who drafted the French revolutionary chart for a people’s education under the rule of reason, dismissed rhetoric as an instrument of oppression in the hands of clerics in particular. The Revolution went as far as to suppress the Bar, arguing that forensic rhetoric did disservice to a rational system of justice, by allowing fallacies and emotions to come into play. Nonetheless, as later historians of the 19th century were keen to explain, the Revolution was a high moment of eloquence and rhetorical prowess, although set against a background of rejecting rhetoric.

Under the First Empire and its wide-ranging educational reforms, imposed on or imitated across the Continent, rhetoric regained little ground. In fact, instructions to the newly founded Polytechnic School, tasked with training the scientific and technical elites, made it clear that written reporting was to supersede oral reporting. Rhetoric reentered secondary curriculum in fits and starts, but never regained the prominence it had enjoyed under the ancien régime, although the penultimate year of secondary education was known as the Class of Rhetoric. When manuals were redrafted in the mid-century, in particular after the 1848 Revolution to formulate a national curriculum, care was taken to distance their approach to rhetoric from that of the Church, which was seen as an agent of conservatism and reactionary politics.

By the end of the 1870s, a major change had taken place: philosophy of the rationalist or eclectic kind, generally Kantian, had taken over rhetoric as the true end stage of secondary education (the so-called Class of Philosophy bridged secondary and university education). Rhetoric was then relegated to the study of literary figures of speech, a discipline later on taught as Stylistics within the French literature curriculum. More decisively, in 1890, a new standard written exercise superseded the rhetorical exercises of speech writing, letter writing and narration. The new genre, called dissertation, had been invented in 1866, for the purpose of rational argument in the philosophy class. Typically, in a dissertation, a question is asked, such as: “Is history a sign of humanity’s freedom?” The structure of a dissertation consists in an introduction that elucidates the basic definitions involved in the question as set, followed by an argument or thesis, a counter-argument or antithesis, and a resolving argument or synthesis that is not a compromise between the former but the production of a new argument, ending with a conclusion that does not sum up the points but opens onto a new problem. Hegelianism influenced the dissertation design. It remains today the standard of writing in French humanities.

By the beginning of the 20th century, rhetoric was fast losing the remains of its former importance, and eventually was taken out of the school curriculum altogether at the time of the Separation of State and Churches (1905). Part of the argument was that rhetoric remained the last element of irrationality, driven by religious arguments, in what was perceived as inimical to Republican education. The move, initiated in 1789, found its resolution in 1902 when rhetoric was expunged from all curricula. At the same time, Aristotelian rhetoric, owing to a revival of Thomistic philosophy initiated by Rome, regained ground in what was left of Catholic education in France, in particular at the prestigious Faculty of Theology of Paris, now a private entity. Yet, rhetoric vanished substantially from the French scene, educational or intellectual, for some 60 years..

In the early 1960s a change began to take place, as the word rhetoric and the body of knowledge it covers began to be used again, in a modest and almost secret manner. The new linguistic turn, through the rise of semiotics
Semiotics
Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes , indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication...

 as well as of structural linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, brought to the fore a new interest in figures of speech as signs, the metaphor in particular (in the works of Roman Jakobson
Roman Jakobson
Roman Osipovich Jakobson was a Russian linguist and literary theorist.As a pioneer of the structural analysis of language, which became the dominant trend of twentieth-century linguistics, Jakobson was among the most influential linguists of the century...

, Michel Charles, Gérard Genette) while famed Structuralist Roland Barthes
Roland Barthes
Roland Gérard Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician. Barthes' ideas explored a diverse range of fields and he influenced the development of schools of theory including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism, anthropology and...

, a classicist by training, perceived how some basic elements of rhetoric could be of use in the study of narratives, fashion and ideology. Knowledge of rhetoric was so dim in the early 1970s that his short memoir on rhetoric was seen as highly innovative. Basic as it was, it did help rhetoric regain some currency in avant-garde circles. Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan
Jacques Lacan
Jacques Marie Émile Lacan was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who made prominent contributions to psychoanalysis and philosophy, and has been called "the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud". Giving yearly seminars in Paris from 1953 to 1981, Lacan influenced France's...

, his contemporary, makes references to rhetoric, in particular to the Pre-Socratics. Philosopher Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in French Algeria. He developed the critical theory known as deconstruction and his work has been labeled as post-structuralism and associated with postmodern philosophy...

 wrote on Voice.

At the same time, more profound work was taking place that eventually gave rise to the French school of rhetoric as it exists today.

This rhetorical revival took place on two fronts. First, in 17th century French studies, the mainstay of French literary education, awareness grew that rhetoric was necessary to push the limits of knowledge further, and also to provide an antidote to Structuralism
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

 and its denial of historicism in culture. This was the pioneering work of Marc Fumaroli who, building on the work of classicist and Neo-Latinist Alain Michel and French scholars such as Roger Zuber, published his famed Age de l’Eloquence (1980), was one of the founders of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric and was eventually elevated to a chair in rhetoric at the prestigious College de France. He is the editor in chief of a monumental History of Rhetoric in Modern Europe.
His disciples form the second generation, with rhetoricians such as Françoise Waquet and Delphine Denis, both of the Sorbonne, or Philippe-Joseph Salazar
Philippe-Joseph Salazar
Philippe-Joseph Salazar is a French rhetorician and philosopher born 1955, Casablanca, Morocco. Educated at Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. Alumnus of École Normale Supérieure, Paris and past director at Collège international de philosophie, Paris, founded by Jacques Derrida. Currently...

 (:fr:Philippe-Joseph Salazar on the French Wikipedia), until recently at Derrida's College international de philosophie, laureate of the Harry Oppenheimer
Harry Oppenheimer
Harry Frederick Oppenheimer was a prominent South African businessman and one of the world's richest men...

 prize and whose recent book on Hyperpolitique has attracted the French media's attention on a "re-appropriation of the means of production of persuasion".

Second, in the area of Classical studies, in the wake of Alain Michel, Latin scholars fostered a renewal in Cicero studies. They broke away from a pure literary reading of his orations, in an attempt to embed Cicero in European ethics. Meanwhile, among Greek scholars, the literary historian and philologist Jacques Bompaire, the philologist and philosopher E. Dupréel, and later the literature historian Jacqueline de Romilly
Jacqueline de Romilly
Jacqueline Worms de Romilly, née David was a French philologist, classical scholar and fiction writer. Because she was of Jewish ancestry, the Vichy government suspended her from her teaching duties during the Occupation of France. she was the first woman nominated to the Collège de France, and in...

 pioneered new studies in the Sophists and the Second Sophistic. The second generation of Classicists, often trained in philosophy as well (following Heidegger and Derrida, mainly), built on their work, with authors such as Marcel Detienne
Marcel Detienne
Marcel Detienne is a Belgian historian and specialist in the study of ancient Greece. He is Professor Emeritus at The Johns Hopkins University, where he held the Basil L...

 (now at Johns Hopkins), Nicole Loraux, Medievalist and logician Alain De Libera (Geneva), Ciceronian scholar Carlos Lévy (Sorbonne, Paris) and Barbara Cassin
Barbara Cassin
Barbara Cassin is a French philologist and philosopher, born in 1947 in Boulogne-Billancourt. A past Director at Jacques Derrida's Collège international de philosophie and director of research at the CNRS,. In 2006 she succeeded Jonathan Barnes to the directorship of the leading centre of...

 (Collége international de philosophie, Paris). Sociologist of science Bruno Latour
Bruno Latour
Bruno Latour is a French sociologist of science and anthropologist and an influential theorist in the field of Science and Technology Studies...

 and economist Romain Laufer may also be considered part of, or close to this group. Also French philosophers specialized in Arabic commentaries on Aristotle's Rhetoric.

Links between the two strands – literary and philosophical – of the French school of rhetoric are strong and collaborative, and bear witness to the revival of rhetoric in France. A recent issue of Philosophy & Rhetoric presents current writing in the field.

See also



  • Argumentation Theory
    Argumentation theory
    Argumentation theory, or argumentation, is the interdisciplinary study of how humans should, can, and do reach conclusions through logical reasoning, that is, claims based, soundly or not, on premises. It includes the arts and sciences of civil debate, dialogue, conversation, and persuasion...

  • Artes Liberales
  • Casuistry
    Casuistry
    In applied ethics, casuistry is case-based reasoning. Casuistry is used in juridical and ethical discussions of law and ethics, and often is a critique of principle- or rule-based reasoning...

  • Civic humanism
  • Chironomia
    Chironomia
    Chironomia is the art of using gesticulations or hand gestures to good effect in traditional rhetoric or oratory. Effective use of the hands, with or without the use of the voice, is a practice of great antiquity, which was developed and systematized by the Greeks and the Romans...

  • Composition studies
    Composition studies
    Composition Studies is the professional field of writing research and instruction, focusing especially on writing at the college level in the United States...

  • Critical Theory
    Critical theory
    Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

  • Critical thinking
    Critical thinking
    Critical thinking is the process or method of thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, false, or sometimes true and sometimes false, or partly true and partly false. The origins of critical thinking can be traced in Western thought to the Socratic...

  • Demagogy
    Demagogy
    Demagogy or demagoguery is a strategy for gaining political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears, vanities and expectations of the public—typically via impassioned rhetoric and propaganda, and often using nationalist, populist or religious themes...

  • Dialogue
    Dialogue
    Dialogue is a literary and theatrical form consisting of a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people....

  • Elocution
    Elocution
    Elocution is the study of formal speaking in pronunciation, grammar, style, and tone.-History:In Western classical rhetoric, elocution was one of the five core disciplines of pronunciation, which was the art of delivering speeches. Orators were trained not only on proper diction, but on the proper...

  • eRhetoric
    ERhetoric
    eRhetoric or digital rhetoric, is considered the art of persuasion in digital media and manipulating content to fit the medium in which it is presented. This includes the study of online communication, and how the medium of the internet shapes this communication...

  • Fallacies
  • Figure of Speech
    Figure of speech
    A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile,...


  • Figure of thought
    Figure of thought
    Ancient rhetorical theory distinguished between form and content. As Gordon Williams states in introducing his study on Figures of Thought in Roman Poetry, "Language was subject to ordering by exhaustive description of vocabulary, syntax, and figures...

  • Grammar
    Grammar
    In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

  • Hermeneutics
  • Homiletics
    Homiletics
    Homiletics , in theology the application of the general principles of rhetoric to the specific department of public preaching. The one who practices or studies homiletics is called a homilist....

  • Language and thought
    Language and thought
    A variety of different authors, theories and fields purport influences between language and thought.Many point out the seemingly common-sense realization that upon introspection we seem to think in the language we speak...

  • Linguistics
    Linguistics
    Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

  • Logic
    Logic
    In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

  • New rhetoric
  • Oratory
    Oratory
    Oratory is a type of public speaking.Oratory may also refer to:* Oratory , a power metal band* Oratory , a place of worship* a religious order such as** Oratory of Saint Philip Neri ** Oratory of Jesus...

  • Pedagogy
    Pedagogy
    Pedagogy is the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction....

  • Persuasion
    Persuasion
    Persuasion is a form of social influence. It is the process of guiding or bringing oneself or another toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and symbolic means.- Methods :...

  • Persuasion technology
    Persuasion technology
    Persuasive technology is broadly defined as technology that is designed to change attitudes or behaviors of the users through persuasion and social influence, but not through coercion...

  • Phenomenology
  • Platonism
    Platonism
    Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...


  • Political rhetoric
  • Post-realism
    Post-realism
    Post-realism is a theoretical perspective on international relations. According to post-realism, global actors are joined in a global network of thoughts, actions, and talk. Post-realism focuses particularly on the talk, on discourse and debate in the conduct and study of international relations...

  • Post-structuralism
    Post-structuralism
    Post-structuralism is a label formulated by American academics to denote the heterogeneous works of a series of French intellectuals who came to international prominence in the 1960s and '70s...

  • Propaganda
    Propaganda
    Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

  • Public speaking
    Public speaking
    Public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners...

  • Rhetorical criticism
    Rhetorical criticism
    Rhetorical criticism is an approach to criticism that is at least as old as Plato. In the Phaedrus, Plato has Socrates examine a speech by Lysias to determine whether or not it is praiseworthy...

  • Rhetorical operations
    Rhetorical operations
    Since classical rhetoric, the four fundamental rhetorical operations, which still today serve to encompass the various figures of speech, have been: addition , omission , permutation and transposition...

  • Rhetorical reason
    Rhetorical Reason
    "Rhetorical reason" may be defined as the faculty of discovering the crux of the matter, endemic to rhetorical invention, that precedes argumentation.-Aristotle's definition:...

  • Rogerian argument
    Rogerian argument
    Rogerian argument is a conflict solving technique based on finding common ground instead of polarizing debate.-Origin:American psychologist Carl R. Rogers described his "principles of communications," a form of discussion based on finding common ground...

  • Semiology
  • Sophism
    Sophism
    Sophism in the modern definition is a specious argument used for deceiving someone. In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching aretê — excellence, or virtue — predominantly to young statesmen and...

  • Technical communication
    Technical communication
    Technical communication is a method of researching and creating information about technical processes or products directed to an audience through media. The information must be relevant to the intended audience. Technical communicators often work collaboratively to create products for various...

  • Trivium (education)
  • Visual rhetoric
    Visual rhetoric
    Visual rhetoric is the fairly recent development of a theoretical framework describing how visual images communicate, as opposed to aural, verbal, or other messages. The study of visual rhetoric is different from that of visual or graphic design, in that it emphasizes images as sensory expressions...


Miscellaneous terms

  • Ad captandum
    Ad captandum
    In rhetoric an argument ad captandum, "for capturing" the gullibility of the naïve among the listeners or readers, is an unsound, specious argument, a kind of seductive casuistry. The longer form of the term is ad captandum vulgus . The ad captandum argument may be painfully vivid in sound bites...

  • Allusion
    Allusion
    An allusion is a figure of speech that makes a reference to, or representation of, people, places, events, literary work, myths, or works of art, either directly or by implication. M. H...

  • Ambiguity
    Ambiguity
    Ambiguity of words or phrases is the ability to express more than one interpretation. It is distinct from vagueness, which is a statement about the lack of precision contained or available in the information.Context may play a role in resolving ambiguity...

  • Anaptyxis
  • Antimetabole
    Antimetabole
    In rhetoric, antimetabole is the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order...

  • Aphesis
    Aphesis
    In phonetics, apheresis is the loss of one or more sounds from the beginning of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel.-Apheresis as a historical sound change:...

  • Aphorism
    Aphorism
    An aphorism is an original thought, spoken or written in a laconic and memorable form.The term was first used in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates...

  • Apologue
    Apologue
    An apologue or apolog is a brief fable or allegorical story with pointed or exaggerated details, meant to serve as a pleasant vehicle for a moral doctrine or to convey a useful lesson without stating it explicitly. Unlike a fable, the moral is more important than the narrative details...

  • Aposiopesis
    Aposiopesis
    Aposiopesis is a figure of speech wherein a sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, the ending to be supplied by the imagination, giving an impression of unwillingness or inability to continue. An example would be the threat "Get out, or else—!" This device often portrays its...

  • Archaism
    Archaism
    In language, an archaism is the use of a form of speech or writing that is no longer current. This can either be done deliberately or as part of a specific jargon or formula...

  • Atticism
    Atticism
    Atticism was a rhetorical movement that began in the first quarter of the 1st century BC; it may also refer to the wordings and phrasings typical of this movement, in contrast with spoken Greek, which continued to evolve in directions guided by the common usages of Hellenistic Greek.Atticism was...

  • Brachyology
  • Cacophony
  • Catachresis
    Catachresis
    Catachresis is "misapplication of a word, especially in a mixed metaphor" according to the Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory...

  • Chiasmus
    Chiasmus
    In rhetoric, chiasmus is the figure of speech in which two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; that is, the clauses display inverted parallelism...

  • Circumlocution
    Circumlocution
    Circumlocution is an ambiguous or roundabout figure of speech...

  • Climax
    Climax
    - Common general uses :* Climax * Climax * Climax community* Climax vegetation in an ecosystem* Sexual climax, another term for orgasm- Brand names and titles :* The Climax, a 1944 film...

  • Conceit
    Conceit
    In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison...

  • Eloquence
    Eloquence
    Eloquence is fluent, forcible, elegant or persuasive speaking. It is primarily the power of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language, thereby producing conviction or persuasion...

  • Enthymeme
    Enthymeme
    An enthymeme , in its modern sense, is an informally stated syllogism with an unstated assumption that must be true for the premises to lead to the conclusion. In an enthymeme, part of the argument is missing because it is assumed...

  • Ethos
    Ethos
    Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

  • Euphemism
    Euphemism
    A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...


  • Figure of speech
    Figure of speech
    A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile,...

  • Formal equivalence
  • Hendiadys
    Hendiadys
    Hendiadys is a figure of speech used for emphasis — "The substitution of a conjunction for a subordination". The basic idea is to use two words linked by a conjunction to express a single complex idea....

  • Hysteron-proteron
  • Idiom
    Idiom
    Idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made...

  • Innuendo
    Innuendo
    An innuendo is a baseless invention of thoughts or ideas. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging , that works obliquely by allusion...

  • Ipsedixitism
  • Kairos
    Kairos
    Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment . The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special...

  • Kenning
    Kenning
    A kenning is a type of literary trope, specifically circumlocution, in the form of a compound that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun. Kennings are strongly associated with Old Norse and later Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon poetry...

  • Krisis
  • Logos
    Logos
    ' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

  • Literary topos
    Literary topos
    Topos , in Latin locus , referred in the context of classical Greek rhetoric to a standardised method of constructing or treating an argument. See topos in classical rhetoric...

  • Logical fallacies
  • Mediation
    Mediation
    Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution , a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement...

  • Merism
    Merism
    In rhetoric, a merism is a figure of speech by which a single thing is referred to by a conventional phrase that enumerates several of its parts, or which lists several synonyms for the same thing....

  • Metanoia
    Metanoia
    Metanoia in the context of rhetoric is a device used to retract a statement just made, and then state it in a better way. As such, metanoia is similar to correction...

  • Mnemonic
    Mnemonic
    A mnemonic , or mnemonic device, is any learning technique that aids memory. To improve long term memory, mnemonic systems are used to make memorization easier. Commonly encountered mnemonics are often verbal, such as a very short poem or a special word used to help a person remember something,...

  • Negation
    Negation
    In logic and mathematics, negation, also called logical complement, is an operation on propositions, truth values, or semantic values more generally. Intuitively, the negation of a proposition is true when that proposition is false, and vice versa. In classical logic negation is normally identified...

  • Overdetermination
    Overdetermination
    Overdetermination, the idea that a single observed effect is determined by multiple causes at once , was originally a key concept of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis....

  • Parable
    Parable
    A parable is a succinct story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or a normative principle. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human...

  • Paraphrase
    Paraphrase
    Paraphrase is restatement of a text or passages, using other words. The term "paraphrase" derives via the Latin "paraphrasis" from the Greek , meaning "additional manner of expression". The act of paraphrasing is also called "paraphrasis."...

  • Paraprosdokian
    Paraprosdokian
    A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax...


  • Pathos
    Pathos
    Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

  • Pericope
    Pericope
    A pericope in rhetoric is a set of verses that forms one coherent unit or thought, thus forming a short passage suitable for public reading from a text, now usually of sacred scripture....

  • Period
  • Perissologia
  • Praeteritio
  • Proverb
    Proverb
    A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...

  • Representation
    Representation
    Representation can refer to:* Representation , one's ability to influence the political process* Representative democracy* Representation, a type of diplomatic mission...

  • Rhetoric of science
    Rhetoric of science
    Rhetoric of science is a body of scholarly literature exploring the notion that the practice of science is a rhetorical activity. It emerged from a number of disciplines during the late twentieth century, including the disciplines of sociology, history, and philosophy of science, but it is...

  • Rhetorical device
    Rhetorical device
    In rhetoric, a rhetorical device or resource of language is a technique that an author or speaker uses to convey to the listener or reader a meaning with the goal of persuading him or her towards considering a topic from a different perspective. While rhetorical devices may be used to evoke an...

  • Rhetorical figure
  • Rhetorical Situation
    Rhetorical Situation
    The Rhetorical Situation is the context of a rhetorical event that consists of an issue, an audience, and a set of constraints. Two leading views of the rhetorical situation exist today...

  • Rhetorical stance
    Rhetorical stance
    A Rhetorical stance is the rhetorical position taken by a speaker or writer on a certain topic, with regard to how they approach the topic, their attitude toward the topic, and how they address the reader or listener. Thus, it is an important issue in several disciplines, including academics,...

  • Soundbite
    Soundbite
    In film and broadcasting, a sound bite is a very short piece of a speech taken from a longer speech or an interview in which someone with authority or the average "man on the street" says something which is considered by those who edit the speech or interview to be the most important point...

  • Synchysis
    Synchysis
    Synchysis is an interlocked word order, in the form A-B-A-B; which often display change and difference. This poetry form was a favorite with Latin poets...

  • Synesis
    Synesis
    Synesis is a traditional grammatical/rhetorical term derived from Greek...

  • Synonymia
    Synonymia
    In rhetoric, Synonymia is the use of several synonyms together to amplify or explain a given subject or term. It is a kind of repetition that adds emotional force or intellectual clarity...

  • Tautology
    Tautology (rhetoric)
    Tautology is an unnecessary or unessential repetition of meaning, using different and dissimilar words that effectively say the same thing...

  • Tertium comparationis
    Tertium comparationis
    Tertium comparationis is the quality that two things which are being compared have in common. It is the point of comparison which prompted the author of the comparison in question to liken someone or something to someone or something else in the first place.If a comparison visualizes an action,...

  • Trope
  • Truism
    Truism
    A truism is a claim that is so obvious or self-evident as to be hardly worth mentioning, except as a reminder or as a rhetorical or literary device and is the opposite of falsism....

  • Word play
    Word play
    Word play or wordplay is a literary technique in which the words that are used become the main subject of the work, primarily for the purpose of intended effect or amusement...


Political speech resources

External links



  • Cox, Leonard
    Leonard Cox
    Leonard Cox was an English humanist, author of the first book in English on rhetoric. He was a scholar of international reputation who found patronage in Poland, and was friend of Erasmus and Melanchthon...

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  • Rainolde (or Rainholde), Richard. .
  • Jansinski, James. Sourcebook on Rhetoric. (Sage Publications, Inc. 2001).
  • Andresen, Volker. Speak Well in Public - 10 Steps to Succeed. (ISBN 1456310267).