Thursday, February 10, 2011

Try and Persuade Me

     Alright, so today we had a guest speak for the majority of our class period. What did we talk about? The art of persuasion of course. As many people would call it, rhetoric. According to the Greeks, who only had two jobs in life; to fight in combat and risk the only thing they had in order to be a hero, and to open their mouths after working out and talk. Doesn't the latter sound like fun? It does, but only if you're good at it. During this time in the Greek culture you had to be very good at speaking; you're status depended on it. 
     Aristotle came up with three different types of genres to rhetoric; deliberative, forensic and epideictic. Future, past and present, respectively. He also came up with the three different appeals to persuasion; ethos, pathos and logos. The ethos distinguishes character or spirit of a person, group or culture. The pathos is the quality or power to arouse pity and the logos is the appeal to logic, the rational principle that governs and develops the universe. He believed that the center of all argument, persuasion, was syllogism; the assembling of sentences such that those sentences create an outcome, or conclusion, that could be generated as the only possible, or plausible, outcome. He also believed, that for those who could not think as critically, that the center of rhetoric was enthymene; shortened syllogisms. 

     When I think about this Aristotalian system of argument, or speech, I think of all the conversations that have been had, the scripts that have been created, topics of discussion that have been generated, and so on. I, honestly, thought I didn't know anything about theory: it seemed like such a foreign part of education to me that I would never come to understand. After hearing this lecture on Aristotle's system of rhetoric, I have realized that everything we do is based on this system; we just didn't know it, or at least I didn't. When we break things down, it's not that hard to realize that we use this system in our everyday conversations. For example: When we want to convince a friend that whatever is going on will turn out okay, we appeal to their logic, we put ourselves into their place and give examples from past experiences, thus appealing to the ethos and then we appeal to their ethos, by minimizing the power or affect of whatever is bothering them. We also go into deliberative speech, telling them what will happen if they do or don't do certain things; forensic, what has happened in the past with whatever given reason or decision and epideictic, whatever is happening to them due to whatever choices or circumstances.

Word Count: 454

No comments:

Post a Comment