Classical Definition Rhetoric is the “art of enchanting the soul.” – Plato
Classical Definition Rhetoric is “the faculty of discovering in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion.” – Aristotle
“The duty and office of rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of the will.” – Francis Bacon
“Not until human nature is other than what it is, will the function of the living voice—the greatest force on earth among men—cease…I advocate, therefore, in its full extent, and for every reason of humanity, of patriotism, and of religion, a more thorough culture of oratory and I define oratory to be the art of influencing conduct with the truth set home by all the resources of the living man.” – Henry Ward Beecher
“Rhetoric is a form of reasoning about probabilities, based on assumptions people share as members of a community.” – Erika Lindemann
Modern Definition “Rhetoric is a concern for the audience manifested in the situation and form of communication. Concern for the audience can involve the desire to persuade, teach, move, please, identify, or generally connect with the audience. Situation and form involve the rhetorical situation (funeral, educational, legal, etc.) and applying the correct form to address that particular audience.” – Killingsworth
The Rhetorical Triangle Sometimes called the Aristotelian triad -- suggests that a person creating or analyzing a text must consider the following: speaker or writer audience or reader subject Who? Is this person trust- worthy? Who? Is it easily influenced? What is this about?
Speaker Who is the speaker? What is his/her purpose? Is the speaker trustworthy? Credible? Famous? Educated?
Audience What assumptions can be made about it? What shared experiences do the members have? What appeals will work on it?
Subject Is it an “open” one that not everyone agrees upon? Does it make listeners/readers perk up and think, “Now, this is interesting”?
Aristotle’s Appeals General summary – The goal of argumentative writing/speaking is to persuade your audience that your ideas are valid, or more valid than someone else’s.
Ethos Credibility or ethical appeal – we tend to believe people whom we respect. A person with a powerful ethos gives listeners the impression that he/she is worth listening to.
Pathos Emotional appeal – persuades by appealing to the audience’s emotions (think sympathy or empathy). Word choice can be used to enhance the argument (think destitute, threadbare, homeless).
Logos Logical appeal – persuades by the use of reasoning, both inductive and deductive. Gives reasons to support the heart of argumentation.
Think Back Can you think of a person in history or real life with a strong ethos? Can you think of a person who moved you with his/her pathos? Can you think of someone who persuaded you with his/her logos?