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Plato founded what is said to be the first university — his Academy near Athens in around BC. He also believed that all knowledge is innate at birth and is perfectible by experiential learning during growth. This was an early suggestion to the current theory of constructivism. Along with many others in his time, Aristotle BC placed a strong emphasis on an all-round and balanced development.

Play, physical training, music, debate, and the study of science and philosophy were to all have their place in the forming of body, mind and soul. Like Plato before him, he saw such learning happening through life — although with different emphases at different ages. He believed that comprehension was aided by contiguity, succession, similarity, and contrast. Although we often view the term technology as hardware items, it is actually a system of practical knowledge. Technology is derived from the ancient Greek word techne. It can be translated to refer to art, craft or skill. Plato viewed techne and systematic or scientific knowledge as being closely related.

This, however, is not Aristotle's point of view: Even those who just try to establish what is just and true need the help of rhetoric when they are faced with a public audience. Aristotle tells us that it is impossible to teach such an audience, even if the speaker had the most exact knowledge of the subject. Obviously he thinks that the audience of a public speech consists of ordinary people who are not able to follow an exact proof based on the principles of a science. Further, such an audience can easily be distracted by factors that do not pertain to the subject at all; sometimes they are receptive to flattery or just try to increase their own advantage.

And this situation becomes even worse if the constitution, the laws, and the rhetorical habits in a city are bad. Finally, most of the topics that are usually discussed in public speeches do not allow of exact knowledge, but leave room for doubt; especially in such cases it is important that the speaker seems to be a credible person and that the audience is in a sympathetic mood. For all those reasons, affecting the decisions of juries and assemblies is a matter of persuasiveness, not of knowledge.

It is true that some people manage to be persuasive either at random or by habit, but it is rhetoric that gives us a method to discover all means of persuasion on any topic whatsoever. Aristotle joins Plato in criticizing contemporary manuals of rhetoric. But how does he manage to distinguish his own project from the criticized manuals? The general idea seems to be this: Previous theorists of rhetoric gave most of their attention to methods outside the subject; they taught how to slander, how to arouse emotions in the audience, or how to distract the attention of the hearers from the subject.

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This style of rhetoric promotes a situation in which juries and assemblies no longer form rational judgments about the given issues, but surrender to the litigants. Since people are most strongly convinced when they suppose that something has been proven Rhet. In Aristotle's view an orator will be even more successful when he just picks up the convincing aspects of a given issue, thereby using commonly-held opinions as premises.

Since people have a natural disposition for the true Rhet. Of course, Aristotle's rhetoric covers non-argumentative tools of persuasion as well. It is understandable that several interpreters found an insoluble tension between the argumentative means of pertinent rhetoric and non-argumentative tools that aim at what is outside the subject.

It does not seem, however, that Aristotle himself saw a major conflict between these diverse tools of persuasion—presumably for the following reasons: i He leaves no doubt that the subject that is treated in a speech has the highest priority e. Thus, it is not surprising that there are even passages that regard the non-argumentative tools as a sort of accidental contribution to the process of persuasion, which essentially proceeds in the manner of dialectic cp. His point seems to be that the argumentative method becomes less effective, the worse the condition of the audience is.

This again is to say that it is due to the badness of the audience when his rhetoric includes aspects that are not in line with the idea of argumentative and pertinent rhetoric. The prologue of a speech, for example, was traditionally used for appeals to the listener, but it can also be used to set out the issue of the speech, thus contributing to its clearness. Similarly, the epilogue has traditionally been used to arouse emotions like pity or anger; but as soon as the epilogue recalls the conclusions reached, it will make the speech more understandable.

The systematical core of Aristotle's Rhetoric is the doctrine that there are three technical means of persuasion. Further, methodical persuasion must rest on a complete analysis of what it means to be persuasive. A speech consists of three things: the speaker, the subject that is treated in the speech, and the listener to whom the speech is addressed Rhet.

It seems that this is why only three technical means of persuasion are possible: Technical means of persuasion are either a in the character of the speaker, or b in the emotional state of the hearer, or c in the argument logos itself. If the speaker appears to be credible, the audience will form the second-order judgment that propositions put forward by the credible speaker are true or acceptable. This is especially important in cases where there is no exact knowledge but room for doubt.

But how does the speaker manage to appear a credible person?

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Again, if he displayed i without ii and iii , the audience could doubt whether the aims of the speaker are good. Finally, if he displayed i and ii without iii , the audience could still doubt whether the speaker gives the best suggestion, though he knows what it is. But if he displays all of them, Aristotle concludes, it cannot rationally be doubted that his suggestions are credible.

It must be stressed that the speaker must accomplish these effects by what he says; it is not necessary that he is actually virtuous: on the contrary, a preexisting good character cannot be part of the technical means of persuasion. Thus, the orator has to arouse emotions exactly because emotions have the power to modify our judgments: to a judge who is in a friendly mood, the person about whom he is going to judge seems not to do wrong or only in a small way; but to the judge who is in an angry mood, the same person will seem to do the opposite cp.

Many interpreters writing on the rhetorical emotions were misled by the role of the emotions in Aristotle's ethics: they suggested that the orator has to arouse the emotions in order i to motivate the audience or ii to make them better persons since Aristotle requires that virtuous persons do the right things together with the right emotions.

Thesis i is false for the simple reason that the aim of rhetorical persuasion is a certain judgment krisis , not an action or practical decision prohairesis. How is it possible for the orator to bring the audience to a certain emotion? Aristotle's technique essentially rests on the knowledge of the definition of every significant emotion. According to such a definition, someone who believes that he has suffered a slight from a person who is not entitled to do so, etc.

If we take such a definition for granted, it is possible to deduce circumstances in which a person will most probably be angry; for example, we can deduce i in what state of mind people are angry and ii against whom they are angry and iii for what sorts of reason. Aristotle deduces these three factors for several emotions in the chapters II. With this equipment, the orator will be able, for example, to highlight such characteristics of a case as are likely to provoke anger in the audience.

In comparison with the tricks of former rhetoricians, this method of arousing emotions has a striking advantage: The orator who wants to arouse emotions must not even speak outside the subject; it is sufficient to detect aspects of a given subject that are causally connected with the intended emotion.

For Aristotle, there are two species of arguments: inductions and deductions Posterior Analytics I. A deduction sullogismos is an argument in which, certain things having been supposed, something different from the suppositions results of necessity through them Topics I. The inductive argument in rhetoric is the example paradeigma ; unlike other inductive arguments, it does not proceed from many particular cases to one universal case, but from one particular to a similar particular if both particulars fall under the same genus Rhet.

At first glance, this seems to be inconsistent, since a non-necessary inference is no longer a deduction. If the former interpretation is true, then Aristotle concedes in the very definition of the enthymeme that some enthymemes are not deductive. But if the latter interpretation which has a parallel in An. For Aristotle, an enthymeme is what has the function of a proof or demonstration in the domain of public speech, since a demonstration is a kind of sullogismos and the enthymeme is said to be a sullogismos too.

In general, Aristotle regards deductive arguments as a set of sentences in which some sentences are premises and one is the conclusion, and the inference from the premises to the conclusion is guaranteed by the premises alone. Since enthymemes in the proper sense are expected to be deductive arguments, the minimal requirement for the formulation of enthymemes is that they have to display the premise-conclusion structure of deductive arguments. This is why enthymemes have to include a statement as well as a kind of reason for the given statement. The reason why the enthymeme, as the rhetorical kind of proof or demonstration, should be regarded as central to the rhetorical process of persuasion is that we are most easily persuaded when we think that something has been demonstrated.

Hence, the basic idea of a rhetorical demonstration seems to be this: In order to make a target group believe that q , the orator must first select a sentence p or some sentences p 1 … p n that are already accepted by the target group; secondly he has to show that q can be derived from p or p 1 … p n , using p or p 1 … p n as premises. Given that the target persons form their beliefs in accordance with rational standards, they will accept q as soon as they understand that q can be demonstrated on the basis of their own opinions.

Consequently, the construction of enthymemes is primarily a matter of deducing from accepted opinions endoxa. That a deduction is made from accepted opinions—as opposed to deductions from first and true sentences or principles—is the defining feature of dialectical argumentation in the Aristotelian sense. Thus, the formulation of enthymemes is a matter of dialectic, and the dialectician has the competence that is needed for the construction of enthymemes.

However, in the rhetorical context there are two factors that the dialectician has to keep in mind if she wants to become a rhetorician too, and if the dialectical argument is to become a successful enthymeme. First, the typical subjects of public speech do not—as the subject of dialectic and theoretical philosophy—belong to the things that are necessarily the case, but are among those things that are the goal of practical deliberation and can also be otherwise.

Second, as opposed to well-trained dialecticians the audience of public speech is characterized by an intellectual insufficiency; above all, the members of a jury or assembly are not accustomed to following a longer chain of inferences. Therefore enthymemes must not be as precise as a scientific demonstration and should be shorter than ordinary dialectical arguments.

This, however, is not to say that the enthymeme is defined by incompleteness and brevity. Rather, it is a sign of a well-executed enthymeme that the content and the number of its premises are adjusted to the intellectual capacities of the public audience; but even an enthymeme that failed to incorporate these qualities would still be enthymeme. In a well known passage Rhet. Properly understood, both passages are about the selection of appropriate premises, not about logical incompleteness. The remark that enthymemes often have few or less premises concludes the discussion of two possible mistakes the orator could make Rhet.

The latter method is unpersuasive, for the premises are not accepted, nor have they been introduced. The former method is problematic, too: if the orator has to introduce the needed premises by another deduction, and the premises of this pre-deduction too, etc. Arguments with several deductive steps are common in dialectical practice, but one cannot expect the audience of a public speech to follow such long arguments.

This is why Aristotle says that the enthymeme is and should be from fewer premises. Just as there is a difference between real and apparent or fallacious deductions in dialectic, we have to distinguish between real and apparent or fallacious enthymemes in rhetoric. The topoi for real enthymemes are given in chapter II. The fallacious enthymeme pretends to include a valid deduction, while it actually rests on a fallacious inference. Note that neither classification interferes with the idea that premises have to be accepted opinions: with respect to the signs, the audience must believe that they exist and accept that they indicate the existence of something else, and with respect to the probabilities, people must accept that something is likely to happen.

However, it is not clear whether this is meant to be an exhaustive typology. But there are several types of sign-arguments too; Aristotle offers the following examples:. Sign-arguments of type i and iii can always be refuted, even if the premises are true; that is to say that they do not include a valid deduction sullogismos ; Aristotle calls them asullogistos non-deductive.

Jakob Leth Fink (ed.), The Development of Dialectic From Plato to Aristotle - PhilPapers

Sign-arguments of type ii can never be refuted if the premise is true, since, for example, it is not possible that someone has fever without being ill, or that someone has milk without having given birth, etc. Now, if some sign-enthymemes are valid deductions and some are not, it is tempting to ask whether Aristotle regarded the non-necessary sign-enthymemes as apparent or fallacious arguments.

However, there seems to be a more attractive reading: We accept a fallacious argument only if we are deceived about its logical form. So it seems as if Aristotle didn't regard all non-necessary sign-arguments as fallacious or deceptive; but even if this is true, it is difficult for Aristotle to determine the sense in which non-necessary sign-enthymemes are valid arguments, since he is bound to the alternative of deduction and induction, and neither class seems appropriate for non-necessary sign-arguments.

Cicero, Brutus , 46—48 and Isocrates. Aristotle's book Topics lists some hundred topoi for the construction of dialectical arguments. These lists of topoi form the core of the method by which the dialectician should be able to formulate deductions on any problem that could be proposed. Most of the instructions that the Rhetoric gives for the composition of enthymemes are also organized as lists of topoi ; especially the first book of the Rhetoric essentially consists of topoi concerning the subjects of the three species of public speech.

It is striking that the work that is almost exclusively dedicated to the collection of topoi , the book Topics , does not even make an attempt to define the concept of topos. According to this definition, the topos is a general argumentative form or pattern, and the concrete arguments are instantiations of the general topos. That the topos is a general instruction from which several arguments can be derived, is crucial for Aristotle's understanding of an artful method of argumentation; for a teacher of rhetoric who makes his pupils learn ready samples of arguments would not impart the art itself to them, but only the products of this art, just as if someone pretending to teach the art of shoe-making only gave samples of already made shoes to his pupils see Sophistical Refutations b36ff.

By recalling the houses along the street we can also remember the associated items. At least within the system of the book Topics , every given problem must be analyzed in terms of some formal criteria: Does the predicate of the sentence in question ascribe a genus or a definition or peculiar or accidental properties to the subject? Does the sentence express a sort of opposition, either contradiction or contrariety, etc.? Does the sentence express that something is more or less the case?

Does it maintain identity or diversity? Are the words used linguistically derived from words that are part of an accepted premise? Depending on such formal criteria of the analyzed sentence one has to refer to a fitting topos. For this reason, the succession of topoi in the book Topics is organized in accordance with their salient formal criteria; and this, again, makes a further mnemotechnique superfluous. More or less the same is true of the Rhetoric —except that most of its topoi are structured by material and not by formal criteria, as we shall see in section 7. Other topoi often include the discussion of iv examples; still other topoi suggest v how to apply the given schemes.

Often Aristotle is very brief and leaves it to the reader to add the missing elements. In a nutshell, the function of a topos can be explained as follows. First of all, one has to select an apt topos for a given conclusion. The conclusion is either a thesis of our opponent that we want to refute, or our own assertion we want to establish or defend. Accordingly, there are two uses of topoi : they can either prove or disprove a given sentence; some can be used for both purposes, others for only one of them. Most topoi are selected by certain formal features of the given conclusion; if, for example, the conclusion maintains a definition, we have to select our topos from a list of topoi pertaining to definitions, etc.

Once we have selected a topos that is appropriate for a given conclusion, the topos can be used to construe a premise from which the given conclusion can be derived. If the construed premise is accepted, either by the opponent in a dialectical debate or by the audience in public speech, we can draw the intended conclusion. It could be either, as some say, the premise of a propositional scheme such as the modus ponens, or, as others assume, as the conditional premise of a hypothetical syllogism. Aristotle himself does not favor one of these interpretations explicitly.

But even if he regarded the topoi as additional premises in a dialectical or rhetorical argument, it is beyond any doubt that he did not use them as premises that must be explicitly mentioned or even approved by the opponent or audience. This topic was not announced until the final passage of Rhet. In addition to a useful introduction as editor, Jakob Leth Fink provides an article as contributor. It asks 'How did Aristotle read a Platonic dialogue?

This article also includes some discussion of the scanty fragments of Aristotle's own dialogues. It concludes by showing how dialectical Aristotle's argument in Nicomachean Ethics can be, by reconstructing some of it as a stylised conversation. Socrates often invites people to tell him what something -- virtue, justice, piety, or whatever -- is.


  1. Thomas Bénatouïl & Katerina Ierodiakonou (eds.), Dialectic After Plato and Aristotle - PhilPapers;
  2. The Newcastle Book of Days.
  3. Aristotle’s Rhetoric (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy);

The formula for 'What is. You are in an aporia when you seem to have good reasons to think something true, and also good reasons to think it false.

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Your aporia is radical when it makes you doubt whether even a supposedly exemplary instance of some kind actually is of that kind. For example, you may have seen Protagoras in action, and have come to think that he teaches virtue, if anyone does. But you then come to have good reasons for thinking that virtue is teachable, and good reasons for thinking that it isn't this is your original aporia. In consequence, you come to doubt that even Protagoras is a teacher of virtue this makes your aporia radical.

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Radical aporia about so-and-sos is the motive for asking 'What is a so-and-so? For example, Socrates requires that we define so-and-so by giving some general formula, rather than listing exemplary instances; and this is entirely reasonable if there are no exemplary instances. Politis' argument leaves me puzzled.

Why can't we want to know whether virtue is teachable even if we have yet to encounter any reasons at all, good or bad, for thinking that virtue is teachable, or for thinking that it isn't? You can want to know whether an ailment is contagious even if you have met no reasons for any answer to that question. And if we do want to know whether virtue is teachable, how can we be helped by a list of exemplary virtues, and how can we not be helped by knowing that virtue is knowledge? Moreover, if we are in a radical aporia, having come to doubt whether even Protagoras is a teacher of virtue, why should our radical aporia make us ask what is virtue, rather than what is a teacher of virtue, or what is a teacher?

Furthermore, if our radical aporia does make us ask what is virtue, why should it make us dissatisfied with an answer that purports to list exemplary virtues? There would indeed be no exemplary teachers of virtue for us to list. But why would that matter when it is not teachers of virtue that we want to define?

Hayden W. Ausland writes under the title 'Socratic induction in Plato and Aristotle. In particular, after Ausland's exposition, the inductive argument in Republic bc will never look the same again. Here the Visitor from Elea whom p. Aristotle takes up some elements from Visitor's description, but makes no comparable claim about the moral effects of elenchus.