(Here are the Proposal, Audience Analysis Questions, and Full Sentence Outline for the speech.)
Proposal: Topic, Thesis, Purpose
Weak Topic: Rhetoric
OK Topic: History of Rhetoric
Good Topic: Highlights from the History of Rhetoric
General Purpose: To Inform
Specific Purpose: To inform basic pubic speaking students about the history of rhetoric
Thesis: The history of rhetoric, described in terms of its grammatical, psychological, and sociological periods, contains insights useful to students of public speaking.
Title: The History of Rhetoric: A Summary for Public Speaking Students
Proposal: The History of Rhetoric: A Summary for Students of Public Speaking will inform students about the history of rhetoric. The history of rhetoric contains insights useful to students of public speaking. By highlighting key historical periods in the history of rhetoric, students will gain a broad chronological overview of the discipline. Within each period, specific rhetorical doctrines will be discussed in terms of their usefulness for contemporary students and practitioners of public speaking.
History of Rhetoric Audience Analysis Questions
Audience Questions: How many of you have taken English 15 at Penn State?
How many of you have heard of Aristotle’s 3 Artistic Proofs?
How many of you have heard of ethos, pathos, and logos?
Notes: Misconceptions about Rhetoric
Making ancient history interesting
Title: The History of Rhetoric: A Summary for Public Speaking
(or “From Plato to NATO in 45 Minutes”)
Definition: (Robert Wardy, The Birth of Rhetoric, 1996 p. 1)
· The capacity to persuade others
· Practical realization of this capacity
· An attempt at persuasion, successful or not
· “Mere rhetoric” – the capacity to get others to to do what you want, regardless of what they want (advertising, ideological manipulation, political seduction) (fluff, ornamentation)
· a distinctive mode of communication or whenever one addresses another through any symbol
(p.3) It is not philosophy. But each needs the other. Philosophy seeks ultimate truths. Rhetoric seeks judgments. Society functions when both work.
A Speech Comm 100A students are part of a 2500 year tradition
of rhetoric. (attention)
B The history of rhetoric contains insights useful to students of public speaking.
(purpose / thesis)
C You are consumers of rhetoric. (involvement)
You are always dealing with today’s rhetoric: political, mediated, & exigencies.
You are producers of rhetoric. (involvement)
You make class room presentations, speak up in organizational meetings, &
participate in the political process.
D I have been studying rhetoric for the past year and practicing it for 20 years as a
radio broadcaster. (credibility)
E To give you a sense of the history of rhetoric, I will talk about 3 historical periods:
Ancient Greek & Roman Rhetoric; Medieval, Renaissance, and “Modern” Rhetoric;
and Contemporary Rhetoric. (preview)
Let’s begin with the foundations in Ancient Greek & Roman Rhetoric. (transition)
A Four names are important in our review of Ancient Greek & Roman Rhetoric:
the Sophists, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero.
1 The Sophists were teachers in 5th-century (BCE) Athens who provided instruction in legislative and judicial speaking. This was the time when Athens was first developing democratic government.
2 Plato was opposed to the Sophists, who taught how to succeed, and emphasized the value of truth and philosophy over effective speaking.
3 Aristotle was a student of Plato.
Among his many writings was the Rhetoric, lecture notes on the art of rhetoric.
(p. 147 in Bizell & Hertzberg) A philosopher and scientist, Aristotle tended to create taxonomies (categories) for the subjects he studied. For example, he identified the 3 kinds of speech: deliberative, forensic, and epideictic. He also categorized the kind of rhetorical arguments available, and the 3 artistic proofs: ethos, logos, and pathos.
I have often found it useful to consult the common topoi in BKII, chap 18-19, and the special topoi in chap 23 as an “engine” for coming up with ideas.
The four common topoi are Possibility/Impossibility, Past Fact, Future Fact, and Size. Some of the 28 special topoi are: Opposites, More or Less, Time, Definition, Precedence, Consequences, Inward and Outward show, Incentives & Deterrents (advertising), Facts, Alternatives.
In chapter 20-22, Aristotle describes Maxims (a saying). These could form the premise or conclusion to an Enthymeme (a rhetorical syllogism: one that is probable or “a general rule”, rather than logically necessary, as in “cause and effect”). He also covers Examples and Proverbs.
Logical syllogism: Socrates is mortal.
Example: extremism in the defense of liberty
(reference to Goldwater)
When the audience completes the enthymeme themselves, they are more likely to be persuaded. (Aristotle, The Rhetoric, Cooper, trans. 1966)
4 Cicero, a Roman orator and teacher in the 1st-century (BCE), described the canon (or 5 elements) of oratory. These include:
a invention, the discovery of best arguments;
b disposition, the organization of those arguments;
c elocution, the use of language and speaking style;
d pronunciation; the use of voice and body movement; and
e memory; the memorization of the speech.
The Ancient Greek & Roman Rhetoricians developed and criticized
the basic techniques of effective public speaking.
Douglas Ehninger, a Professor of Speech at the University of Iowa, in an article entitled “On Systems of Rhetoric, published in Philosophy and Rhetoric (1968), described this as the “grammatical” period in the history of rhetoric.
By “grammatical,” he meant that this was the period in which basic structures were established.
In the Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern periods, rhetoric was more fully developed. Dr. Ehninger referred to this as the “psychological” period. (transition)
B From the fall of the Roman Empire to the start of the Medieval
period, scholarship and learning were in short supply. But through
the growing power of the Roman Catholic Church, the lost arts were revived
in the service of religion.
1 Medieval rhetoric, beginning about 400 CE, is best exemplified by St Augustine, who believed that, if the enemies of the Church were going to use rhetoric, then the Church should use it in defense of the Faith. This is according to The Rhetorical Tradition, written by Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg, 1990.
Through the 12th-century, rhetoric produced a set of rules for preaching and for the writing of legal texts used in the administration of the Church and secular governments, according to James Murphy in Rhetoric in the Middle Ages, published in 1974.
2 In the Renaissance, rhetoric became increasingly important as society was increasingly governed by monarchs and their advisors, according to Bizzell and Herzberg. Although the emphasis in this period, the 15th and 16th centuries, was on style, the growth of science led to re-establishing the importance of truth as the center of rhetoric.
3 Following upon the Renaissance of science led by Francis Bacon and John Locke, the Scottish Empiricists began applying scientific methods to the study of discourse. Primarily influenced by these early psychologists, and the stylists of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, Dr. Ehninger referred to this as the “psychological” period of rhetoric.
4 The psychological approach to oratory reached its height during the Elocutionary movement. Drawing upon the psychologism of the Scottish Empiricists, the Elocutionists developed complex systems for the use of voice and body movement to express the individuality of emotion.
From the classical period, through Middle Ages and the Renaissance and
up to the turn of the 20th century, rhetoric developed from a grammar to
a psychology of speaking.
Dr. Ehninger calls the 20th century the “sociological period.” (transition)
C Three important points can be made about Contemporary Rhetoric.
It included the professionalization of the discipline, the growth within
that of speech criticism, and a deeper understanding of the socially constructed
nature of our reality.
1 Professionalization can be seen in the development of Speech Communication as a discipline separate from the rhetoric taught in English departments, a story told by Dr. Herman Cohen, professor emeritus of speech communication at Penn State, in Speech Communication in the 20th Century (published in 1984).
2 Criticism of speeches, as a part of the scholarly discipline, took the form of Neo Aristotelean critique. Until 1965, when Edwin Black published Rhetorical Criticism: A Study in Method, speech criticism was concerned with how well a speech conformed to the principles laid out by Aristotle.
3 But after 1965, new ways of thinking about the role of speech in society led to more diverse methods of inquiry. One of the most prominent was developed by Kenneth Burke. He introduced two powerful ideas: Identification (I can persuade you if I can show that our interests are “identical”) and Dramatism (All human interaction can be understood as taking the form of a drama in which there are actors or agents, scenes, acts or actions, agencies through which actors act, and purpose.)
4 Other variations on socially constructed rhetorical reality include:
A The New Rhetoric (Chaim Perelman & Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca). They focused on practical reasoning rather than formal logic. (lawyers, for example)
1. gain agreement from audience, not prove truths
2. philosophy has a universal audience; rhetoric has this audience
3. a) transfer agreement with a proposition to the conclusions drawn from it; b) foreground the main proposition with topics (similar to Aristotle’s topoi)
4. form liaisons between premises and conclusions
(Carroll Arnold “Perelman’s New Rhetoric”, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 1970)
B Toulman described argument in terms of
Data evidence from the environment
Claim conclusion to be reached
Warrant links evidence to the conclusion
Backing supports the warrant
Qualifications exceptions to the warrant or backing
(The Uses of Argument,1958)
C Foucault: discourse is social action; power relations
D Derrida: we can’t get past language; deconstruction
E Symbolic Inducement: cognitive & invitational criticism
(Gregg, chapter in Speech Comm in the 20th Century, ed. Benson)
A Today, we have discusses the history of rhetoric in terms of 3 historical periods:
Ancient Greek & Roman Rhetoric; Medieval, Renaissance, and “Modern” Rhetoric;
and Contemporary Rhetoric. (review)
B You are producers and consumers of rhetoric. (reinvolvement)
C The history of rhetoric contains insights useful to students of public speaking.
(restatement of purpose / thesis)
D “Rhetoric is how we adjust ideas to people, and people to ideas.” – Donald C. Bryant (closure)
History of Rhetoric Organization and Supporting Materials
Different approaches to choosing an organizational pattern ---
Chronological: 5th-century BCE - 1st-century AD / 9th - 17th-century / 18th-20th century
Topical: Biographic (Aristotle, St Augustine, G. Campbell, Kenneth Burke)
Political, Legal, Ceremonial
Sermons, Political, Instructional
Spatial: Athens, Rome, Middle East, Europe, US
Possible supporting materials ---
newspapers: for examples of “mere rhetoric” used to describe certain kinds of speech
books: rhetorical history
journals: rhetorical history