Synopsis of Aristotle's Rhetoric
Definition: Rhetoric is the faculty of discovering in the particular case what are the available means of persuasion.
Essence of rhetoric: Argument (all else is accessory).
Types of arguments:
1. External – (witnesses, dispositions under torture, contracts laws, oaths). The external arguments (sometimes called non‑artistic proofs) are not part of the art of rhetoric. They are persuasive in and of themselves.
2. Internal – arguments that must be found or discovered. Internal arguments (sometimes called artistic proofs) require an art by which they may be found.
Kinds of internal arguments:
1. Ethos concerned with the character of the rhetor.
2. Pathos concerned with the emotions of the listener.
3. Logos concerned with the reasonableness of the arguments in the speech.
Methods of internal argument:
1. Enthymeme – rhetorical syllogism.
2. Paradigm – rhetorical induction.
Types of speeches:
Time Ends Means
1. Forensic past justice & injustice accusation & defense
2. Epideictic present honor & dishonor praise & blame
3. Deliberative future expedient & inexpedient exhortation & dehortation
Since Aristotle places emphasis upon rhetoric as an art of discovering the available means of persuasion, and not the effect of persuasion, his theory stresses the methodological aspects of rhetoric. He is the first theorist to specify what rhetoric's method is. The rest of books I and II work out this method of discovery through Aristotle's discussion of topoi (topics or commonplaces). This idea will be developed in Unit B.