• Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    This thread is a continuation of the multi-thread project begun here.

    In this thread we discuss the essay On Rhetoric and the Arts, in which I discuss the nature of rhetoric and its relationship to philosophy, logic, and language generally, and then segue from that into a more general discussion of the arts in all their various forms, beauty, drama, creativity, etc.

    I'm looking for feedback both from people who are complete novices to philosophy, and from people very well-versed in philosophy. I'm not so much looking to debate the ideas themselves right now, especially the ones that have already been long-debated (though I'd be up for debating the truly new ones, if any, at a later time). But I am looking for constructive criticism in a number of ways:

    - Is it clear what my views are, and my reasons for holding them? (Even if you don't agree with those views or my reasons for holding them.) Especially if you're a complete novice to philosophy.

    - Are any of these views new to you? Even if I attribute them to someone else, I'd like to know if you'd never heard of them before.

    - Are any of the views that I did not attribute to someone else actually views someone else has held before? Maybe I know of them and just forgot to mention them, or maybe I genuinely thought it was a new idea of my own, either way I'd like to know.

    - If I did attribute a view to someone, or gave it a name, or otherwise made some factual claim about the history of philosophical thought, did I get any of that wrong?

    - If a view I espouse has been held by someone previously, can you think of any great quotes by them that really encapsulate the idea? I'd love to include such quotes, but I'm terrible at remembering verbatim text, so I don't have many quotes that come straight to my own mind.

    - Are there any subtopics I have neglected to cover?

    And of course, if you find simple spelling or grammar errors, or just think that something could be changed to read better (split a paragraph here, break this run-on sentence there, make this inline list of things bulleted instead, etc) please let me know about that too!
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    290
    My knowledge of this subject is a bit sketchy, but if I recall from Plato and Aristotle:

    Plato was not a big fan of rhetoric at all (I believe this was the case with Socrates as well), and believed it to be a tool by "sophists" to manipulate people or prey on gullibility. (e.x. compared to Dialect).

    Aristotle had a less negative opinion of rhetoric, and viewed it as just a "tool", not something bad or good, other than what it's used for; and believed that in marketing a view or opinion to the masses, that some level of rhetoric might be needed for the emotional or sensational appeal, since people, in practice do not always think "rationally" and sometimes respond to emotional rhetoric over rational dialect.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    I think that's accurate, yeah. I used to side with Plato on that in my youth, but now definitely side with Aristotle. I should probably add something to the essay about that facet, on how logic and rhetoric are complimentary to each other, not in competition. I like to use an analogy of prescribing someone medicine: the actual medicinal content is most important of course, but you stand a much better chance of getting someone to actually swallow that content if it's packaged in a small, smooth, sweet-tasting pill than if it's packaged in a big, jagged, bitter pill.

    I think I might just use this post as the basis for that new paragraph.
  • praxis
    2.4k
    in practice [people] do not always think "rationally" and sometimes respond to emotional rhetoric over rational dialect.IvoryBlackBishop

    That made me laugh out loud.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    Just added a new paragraph to the end of the first section:

    For this reason, some philosophers such as Plato were vehemently opposed to rhetoric, seeing it as manipulative sophistry without regard for truth, in contrast with the logical, rational dialectic that he and his teacher Socrates advocated. His student Aristotle, on the other hand, had a less negative opinion of rhetoric, viewing it as neither inherently good nor bad but as useful toward either end, and holding that because many people sadly do not think in perfectly rational ways, rhetorical appeals to emotion and character and such are often necessary to get such people to accept truths that they might otherwise irrationally reject. I side much more with Aristotle's view on this matter, viewing logic and rhetoric are complimentary to each other, not in competition. I like to use an analogy of prescribing someone medicine: the actual medicinal content is most important of course, but you stand a much better chance of getting someone to actually swallow that content if it's packaged in a small, smooth, sweet-tasting pill than if it's packaged in a big, jagged, bitter pill. In this analogy, the medicinal content of the pill is the logical, rational content of a speech-act, while the size, texture, and flavor of the pill is the rhetorical packaging and delivery of the speech-act. It is of course important that the "medicine" (logic) be right, but it's just as important that the "pill" (rhetoric) be such that people will actually swallow it.The Codex Quaerentis: On Rhetoric and the Arts

    Thanks for the great feedback!
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    I've found that I agree with you 75% of the time or so on the art stuffNoble Dust

    I just remembered this comment and thought I should ping you here.
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