29
Oct
08

Vickers’ In Defense of Rhetoric

Brian Vickers
In Defense of Rhetoric
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies

•    Plato: charged in the Gorgias and Phaedrus that rhetoric is mere “knack” or “routine”
•    Rhetoric has always existed in a symbiotic relationship with society, expanding or contracting itself according to the demand that a social group makes on it
•    Three main genres of oratory (according to Aristotle)
o    Judicial
o    Deliberative
o    Epideictic
•    Two parts of speech according to Aristotle
o    State your case
o    Prove it
7: “Plato makes Gorgias set out the practical advantages of eloquence.  Rhetoric ‘is in very truth the greatest boon, for it beings freedom to mankind in general and to each man dominion over others in his own country…I mean the power to convince by your words the judges in court, the senators in Council, the people in the Assembly, or in any other gathering of a citizen body.’ To Plato, of course, it was deplorable that the rhetorician, not the philosopher, should have such power, but to the majority of students of rhetoric down to the Renaissance its great attraction was just this promise of success in civic life, and its upholding of liberty”
10: “Since ‘nothing done with intelligence is done without speech,’ then ‘speech is the marshal of all actions and of thoughts, and those most use it who have the greatest wisdom.’”

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