• Pfhorrest
    3.3k
    I already mentioned most of this in another recent thread, but I had meant it to be the OP of its own thread originally, and I think it got mostly overlooked in the hubbub over there, so I’m making an OP about it too like I originally planned:

    There is a sense in which all types of rhetoric must concern a certain kind of fit between the world and a mind, in that all rhetoric is meant to convey something about the world into the minds of the audience. That may be the world as it is, for descriptive opinions, or the world as it ought to be, for prescriptive opinions; and that may be either the audience's capacity to believe, to apprehend truth, or the audience's capacity to intend, to apprehend goodness. I’m not distinguishing between those kinds of things when I talk about direction of fit here, though that is also how I distinguish between those.

    Rather I’m talking about the “ethos” and “pathos” modes of persuasion (leaving “logos” out as a part of my separation of logic from rhetoric), and how in any case, toward any end, the speaker must convey to their audience:

    - The speaker's "fit to the world": their expertise on the subject matter. Emphasizing this is the essence of the "ethos" mode of persuasion. As a "speaker-to-world" fit, so to speak, this may superficially seem like it is entirely about descriptive truth, with a mind-to-world direction of fit, but the subject matter about which the speaker conveys their expertise may just as well be a prescriptive one, with a world-to-mind direction of fit.

    - The speaker's "fit to the (audience's) mind": their sympathy with the perspective of the audience, being on their side, trying to help them, rather than being against them, attacking them. Emphasizing this is the essence of the "pathos" mode of persuasion. As a "speaker-to-mind" fit, so to speak, this may superficially seem like it is entirely about prescriptive good, with a world-to-mind direction of fit, showing the audience that the speaker is normatively acceptable, but it can be just as important to convey a factual understandability (with a mind-to-world fit), that the speaker understands the perspective from which the audience sees the world, and can translate a view of the the subject matter in question to that audience's perspective.

    - The speaker's ability to feed their expertise on the world sympathetically into the audience's mind at an appropriate pace for the audience to digest it. This has much in common with the showmanship that is most important in the ceremonial or epideictic type of rhetoric (with its dual direction of fit, as I’ve previously accounted), because it requires the speaker to convey the subject in an entertaining manner, as in, one that keep's the audience's attention, leaving them neither bored nor overwhelmed.

    Contrary to the Sophists, and concurring with Plato and his portrayal of Socrates, I think it is very important that the speaker actually be all of these things they are conveying to their audience. They really should actually know the topic they are talking about. They really should care to actually help their audience by conveying it to them. And they really should have the patience to pace it out in the way that most effectively bridges that gap between the two. But unlike Plato and his portrayal of Socrates, and concurring with Aristotle, I think it is also important that the speaker take care to demonstrate such expertise, sympathy, and patience to their audience, in order to communicate with them most effectively.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment