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Aristotle Rhetoric

Aristotle Rhetoric

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Published by Gregory Zobel

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Published by: Gregory Zobel on Apr 28, 2009
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08/14/2010

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Aristotle Rhetoric Reading Notes
Book 1, Chapter 11On Learning:Learning things and wondering at things are also pleasant as a rule; wondering implies the desireof learning, so that the object of wonder is an object of desire; while in learning one is broughtinto one's natural condition.That last phrase just needs to be thought about. A lot.Practical Wisdom:And since power over others is very pleasant, it is pleasant to be thought wise, for practicalwisdom secures us power over others.Could TC be seen as practical wisdom/ applied knowledge? Does that make it "power over others?"Book 1I am reading Book 12 right now. I read several books earlier today, and there is just so much breaking down and classification. Lots of dualities, lots of mirroring, and a great deal of naming."Pleasure expresses itself in five ways," or some such thing.I do not know how to respond. In some ways, it feels contrived and artificial. But I think that isthe jaded contemporary view. In another perspective, it seems ultimately sensible that you wouldwant to sit down and describe the nature of your reality and your polis' reality to the best of your ability. And that means a lot of line drawing and classification.Stylistically, such an approach feels really rather dry.Content wise, I feel very, very heavy. This is such a dense collection of culturally importantthemes, that virtually any paragraph could be set aside and considered for the ramifications andechoing it has had for the past 2,500 years or so. Incredible stuff. And yet, at the very same time,
 
Aristotle Rhetoric Reading Notes
some of these very same things seem ultimately basic, simple, and Homer Simpson "Doh!"I feel very engaged with the material, but I am not exactly sure what that means. I also foolviscerally far more engaged than I have with other materials, and I do not know what that means,either. This content, thus far, is throwing up a lot of unknowns for me.Kegan's lecture/discussions mention shame vs. guilt in classical Greek society. That fascinatesme. I hope there's more in our assigned readings.Book 13, at the startParticular law is that which each community lays down and applies to its own members: this is partly written and partly unwritten. Universal law is the law of Nature.Is natural law the same as the Truth? Can you make particular laws in accord with natural law?What constitutes "proof" of a natural law? Natural law just has too many echoes in my mind of fundamentalists seeking power in government as an expression of their natural rights (read: thisapplies to all Abrahamic religions as well as to non-Abrahamic religions as well).1374aIt is deliberate purpose that constitutes wickedness and criminal guilt, and such names as"outrage" or "theft" imply deliberate purpose as well as the mere action.I really like this quote, and I like that it is levered on the fulcrum of intention. But how does one prove intention? How do you find out what was going on in someone's brain--especially if theynever discussed or recorded anything about the act? And what if you hurt someone or killsomeone in a rage? The conscious, thinking intention was probably not there--it was probablyvisceral, animalistic anger. Can that be regarded as methodical or calculated intention?It is almost like the very nature of intention empowers actions and, at the same time, makes italmost impossible to determine.
 
Aristotle Rhetoric Reading Notes
End of Book 13A whole lot on Equity:Equity bids us be merciful to the weakness of human nature; to think less about the laws thanabout the man who framed them, and less about what he said than about what he meant; not toconsider the actions of the accused so much as his intentions, nor this or that detail so much asthe whole story; to ask not what a man is now but what he has always or usually been. It bids usremember benefits rather than injuries, and benefits received rather than benefits conferred; to be patient when we are wronged; to settle a dispute by negotiation and not by force; to prefer arbitration to litigation -- for an arbitrator goes by the equity of a case, a judge by the strict law,and arbitration was invented with the express purpose of securing full power for equity.This seems like a lot more about intention and compassion.

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