Rhetoric (Aristotle)

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Puritanboard Clerk
“He spake as Homer wrote.”

The subtitle should be: how logic can make you money. He begins by noting how powerful a well-placed enthymeme is. We then forget all about that and learn that we should tailor our speeches to different audiences in a way to get them favorable to us. On one hand, that’s basic communication: you always need to be aware of your audience. The way Aristotle phrases it, though, sounds a lot like a used-car salesman.

Rhetoric is defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion (Aristotle 1355b). A statement is persuasive when it is either self-evident or appears to be so from other statements that are.

We must appear virtuous. A virtue is a faculty of providing and preserving good things.

Back to the enthymeme. Always have your examples follow the enthymeme. That makes sense. You don’t use an illustration if you don’t already have a point.

Demonstrative enthymeme: the conjunction of compatible propositions.
Refutative enthymeme: conjunction of incompatible propositions.

Towards the end of Book II Aristotle surveys a number of good and spurious arguments, including my favorite fallacy, the “X means ___ because it sounds like Y.”

Book III deals with delivery.
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