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Rereading Aristotle's Rhetoric

Edited by Alan G. Gross and Arthur E. Walzer

Publication Year: 2008

In this collection edited by Alan G. Gross and Arthur E. Walzer, scholars in communication, rhetoric and composition, and philosophy seek to “reread” Aristotle’s Rhetoric from a purely rhetorical perspective. So important do these contributors find the Rhetoric, in fact, that a core tenet in this book is that “all subsequent rhetorical theory is but a series of responses to issues raised by the central work.”

The essays reflect on questions basic to rhetoric as a humanistic discipline. Some explore the ways in which the Rhetoric explicates the nature of the art of rhetoric, noting that on this issue, the tensions within the Rhetoric often provide a direct passageway into our own conflicts.


Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. 5-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Whitehead’s observation that the history of philosophy is one long footnote to Plato can for us be transferred to the Rhetoric: All subsequent rhetorical theory is but a series of responses to issues raised by that central work. But the link between philosophy and rhetoric represents more than the appropriation of a convenient...

On Book 1 of the 'Rhetoric'

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1. Aristotle’s Rhetoric and the Contemporary Arts of Practical Discourse

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pp. 3-23

The place of Aristotle’s Rhetoric in twentieth-century thought has recently received treatment in two surveys, Natali (1994) and Leff (1993). Natali surveys European scholarship since 1950, focusing on the relation of Aristotle to “philosophical aspects of the modern revaluation of rhetoric.” On Natali’s account (367–70), the...

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2. What Aristotle Meant by Rhetoric

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pp. 24-37

Studies of ancient rhetoric have benefited greatly from a renewed interest in the Greek text on the part of such speech communication and composition theory scholars as Robert Gaines, Michael Leff, Edward Schiappa, David Timmerman, Barbara Warnick, and Kathleen Welch. This continuing activity has been motivated...

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3. Aristotle on Speaking “Outside the Subject”: The Special Topics and Rhetorical Forums

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pp. 38-54

Aristotle refers to speaking “outside the subject” (exotou pragmatos) throughout the first chapter of the Rhetoric, where the phrase (or a slight variation) occurs at least six times (at 1.1.3, 1.1.5, 1.1.9, twice at 1.1.10, 1.1.11). Interpreters have not much emphasized the phrase; yet attending to it can show us a way to heal the...

On Book 2 of the 'Rhetoric'

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4. The Contemporary Irrelevance of Aristotle’s Practical Reason

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pp. 57-73

“Back to Aristotle!” is the very peculiar rallying cry for some of those dissatisfied with contemporary moral life and moral theory. Aristotelian practical reason seems more attractive than the standard modern picture, in which reason is famously the slave of the passions. For us, practical reasoning starts from some desire. Without...

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5. Pathos and Katharsis in “Aristotelian” Rhetoric: Some Implications

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pp. 74-92

“It is not right,” as Aristotle says at the outset of the Rhetoric, “to twist the juryman into pandered anger or envy or pity; this would be the same as if someone intending to use a ruler should make it crooked,” or streblon, meaning twisted, wrenched, distorted, warped out of shape (1.1.5). Aristotle is much concerned...

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6. Aristotle’s Enthymeme as Tacit Reference

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pp. 93-106

This essay is, in part at least, the result of a mistake. No, I am not implying that I was mistaken in agreeing to contribute something for this book. Rather, something “funny” happened on the way to a conference where a version of this essay was presented. My original title for this essay was “Aristotle’s Enthymeme as Tacit Inference...

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7. Two Systems of Invention: The Topics in the Rhetoric and The New Rhetoric

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pp. 107-129

One of the Rhetoric’s most widely recognized contributions is its system of common and special topics. For the most part, both classicists and rhetoricians concur that the idia, or special topics, provide the materials particular to a subject matter from which one can construct premises for enthymemes. William M. Grimaldi...

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8. The Aristotelian Topos: Hunting for Novelty

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pp. 130-146

Recent interest in the canon of invention raises new questions about Aristotle’s Rhetoric. One development in particular that enables us to reexamine Aristotelian thought is the attribution of epistemic or generative powers to invention. Robert Scott introduced this notion explicitly in 1967 and a few years later led a committee...

On Book 3 of the 'Rhetoric'

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9. Aristotelian Lexis and Renaissance Elocutio

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pp. 149-165

For many writers during the Renaissance, the defining characteristic of rhetoric was elocutio. Other aspects of rhetoric, such as invention or disposition, were also important, but they were caught up in larger arguments about whether they belonged to the discipline of rhetoric or more properly to some other discipline, such...

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10. Aristotle and Theories of Figuration

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pp. 166-184

Book 3 of the Rhetoric appears at first to be Aristotle’s grudging concession to a demand that he produce a complete art, one that will include not only sources of support but also advice on lexis and taxis, “for it is not enough to have a supply of things to say, but it is also necessary to say it in the right way” (3.1.2). Aristotle...

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11. Aristotle’s Rhetoric : A Guide to the Scholarship

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pp. 185-206

As our title states, this essay is a guide intended to help students beginning their systematic study of the Rhetoric. This guide is also a taxonomy, and taxonomies are never neutral. Our scheme seems to have favored articles over books, probably because articles, with singleness of purpose, fit more easily into the boxes and...

Literature Cited

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pp. 207-226


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pp. 227-230


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pp. 231-237

Back Cover

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p. 251-251

E-ISBN-13: 9780809387236
E-ISBN-10: 0809387239
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809328475
Print-ISBN-10: 080932847X

Page Count: 250
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: 1st Edition