Abstract

In Rhetoric III.1 Aristotle characterizes lexis thus: "Greek words" Modern scholars have glossed phantasia here as "mere show," concluding that lexis is "superficial ostentation" intended merely to appeal to a corrupt audience. I argue instead that in this passage, as elsewhere in Aristotle, phantasia stands for the psychological function that mediates between sense perception and man's higher intellectual faculties. By invoking phantasia, Aristotle instructs us to view lexis against the background of his psychology, as mediating the rhetorical task and entrusted with turning the orator's subject matter into such phantasmata as will successfully shape the opinion of the listeners and gain their pistis.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2575-7199
Print ISSN
2575-7180
Pages
pp. 99-131
Launched on MUSE
2006-05-11
Open Access
No
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