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Aristotle's Defense of Rhetoric Author(s): Mary P. Nichols Reviewed work(s): Source: The Journal of Politics, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Aug., 1987), pp. 657-677 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Southern Political Science Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2131273 . Accessed: 01/02/2012 15:01
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Aristotle's Def ense of Rhetoric
Mary P. Nichols
University of Delaware
In his Rhetoric,Aristotledefends rhetoricagainstthe chargesthat it permitsinjusticeand distortstruth-charges made by Aristophanes and Plato. He presentsrhetoricas a bridge between privateand public, passionand reason,individualinterestand common good, and equity and law. Rhetoricthus appears as a means for statesmanshipratherthan a tool of despotism.
TIhe idea of rhetorichas fallen into disrepute. A man who uses rhetoric appearsto have something to hide. He uses his talk about justice and the common good as a cloak for his selfish aims and unjustpurposes. In this view, rhetoricis not a means to convey knowledge; it is rathera tool used by those who would distort the truth for their own purposes. When charges similar to these were made in Aristotle'stime, Aristotle provided a defense of rhetoric. He saw rhetoric as a means for ratherthana tool of despotism. He conceded that concepts statesmanship such as justice and the common good do not admit of the precise knowledge characteristicof the sciences, but he argued that they can become objects of a kind of knowledge whose truth holds only for the most part. Rhetoric is his prime illustration of such knowledge (NicomacheanEthics, 1094b20-28).' Accordingto Aristotle,the statesman uses rhetoricin order to convey the ambiguoustruthsof political life. In this paper, I shall first discuss the criticisms of rhetoric made by Aristotle's contemporaries, and then elaborate Aristotle's response-a response which provides a defense of rhetoricand of political life.2
I In his Rhetoric, Aristotledividesrhetoricinto threekinds:deliberativerhetoricdealswith the advantageousor the good, epideictic rhetoricwith the noble, and forensicrhetoricwith the just (I. iii. 5). AlthoughAristotlerefers to the advantageouswhen he defines the end of deliberativerhetoric(I. iii. 5), he latersays that"sincethe advantageousis good, we must considerthe elementsof the good and the advantageous" vi. 2). He then defines the good (I. as that which we choose for its own sake (I. vi. 2). In other words, he expands the end of deliberativerhetoricto include the good in all senses. 2 The interest in Aristotelianpolitical science as a possible alternative,corrective, or supplementto currentpolitical science or philosophyis becoming increasinglyprevalent. One can cite the following examples: Richard Bernstein,1977;John W. Danford, 1976; AlasdairMacIntryre,1981;Gerald Mara,1985;Stephen Salkever, 1981;and BernardYak,
He uses the Rhetoric as one source for his understanding Aristotle's of notionof judgment. in other words. the second by Plato.Aristophanesthus accuses rhetoric of undermining justice and the laws that hold a political community together. for example.In the second and place.who will surelybringhim to courtto collect their money. 56-63. Like the Clouds. Aristophanes'criticism can be found in the Clouds. Aristotle's Rhetoric. see also Apology. Nor is this list exhaustive. 1071-82). Socrates shows that Gorgias. the Socrates of the Platonic dialogues criticizes rhetoric just as harshly as did Aristophanes.As the Unjust Speech claims. how to "makethe weaker argument the stronger" (Clouds. 121-23. he hopes. 78-80. 112-115.Suchan approach. of in as does Arnhart.I do not mean to suggest that these scholarssharea common viewpoint or that they find the same advantages to Aristotle'sapproach. the firstplace. Notable exceptions are Ronald Beiner's Political Judgment (1983) and Larry Arnhart's Aristotleon PoliticalReasoning(1981). analysisdiffers from Arnhart's. in its greaterattention My to the historicalcontext of the Rhetoric.AlthoughGorgiasclaims to be able to teach his students justice. cf. pp. does not know what justiceis (Gorg. is a useful corrective to the political thought of Kant and of those whom Kant influenced. He wants to learn. I attributeto rhetoric(and to Aristotle's Rhetoric)a higherplace in Aristotle's thought thandoes Arnhart. Its protagonistStrepsiadesseeks the help of teachers of rhetoric in order to free himself from the debts he lacks the resourcesto pay. I argue that the Rhetoricprovides indispensablesupport for Aristotle'spolitical science. and 129). He wants to learn from them how to persuade the judges that he has no obligationto pay his creditors. will make him free of his obligations-as free as the amorphousClouds whom the rhetoriciansworship. 23d). I believe. Plato has Socrates confront the respected teacher of rhetoric. 90. especially his concept of prudence. A rhetoric that lets him argue either side of an issue. the first who criticizedrhetoricin the name of justice exemplified by Aristophanes.VOL. throwslightuponAristotle's conceptionof the kindof knowledgerhetoricprovides as well as upon the differencesbetween Aristotle's Plato'spoliticalthought. for both its claim to knowledge and its view of the political communityas an associationin speech about the advantageousand the just.128. his pupil can do injustice and escape the penalty. at least in the eyes of those moved by his rhetoric. the rhetoriciancan take any shape he pleases.Beinerarguesthat Aristotle's approachto politics. WhereasArnhart analyzesthe Rhetoricas a work of inferiorphilosophic status to Aristotle'sNicomacheanEthics and his Politics (e. While Aristophanes associates the unjust rhetoric with sophists and philosophers and portrays Socrates as its teacher. He is free from the law (Clouds. .. who criticized rhetoric in the name of philosophy.on the otherhand. pp.g.which allows me to read the Rhetoricas a defense againstthe chargesagainstrhetoriccurrentat the time.658 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS.has received very little attentionas a componentof his political science.By showing that Gorgias 1985.460e-461a).1987 THE CRITICISMS RHETORIC OF Aristotle defends rhetoric against two major attacks.. especiallyPlato's. In the Gorgias. 72-74. 49. by his own admission. and the political community.but he gives no detailedanalysis the work.Gorgias.
Socrates agues not only that the rhetoriciandoes not know what justice is. he triesto give pleasure. but who tries to persuademen equally ignorantto buy an ass to carry them in battle against their enemies (260b-c). . But in the Gorgias.4it explains what an artof rhetoricwould be: the speech of the truerhetorician based is on knowledge of the soul and its different forms and of the kinds of speeches appropriateto each (271a-272b).). both because it aims at the pleasant and also because it cannot give a rationalaccount of its own activity. a rhetoric that aims at the good ratherthan the pleasant.the Phaedrus.True rhetoric must therefore 3 This claim of course implies a definitionof what rhetoricis-the questionthat Gorgias does not answerand thatSocratesanswersso unfavorablyto rhetoric. he himself speaks at length from time to time without recourse to questioning and answering.Rhetoricis the counterpartof cookery. rhetoric is ignoble flattery rather than art. as Callicles pointedly observes (519e).comparingthem to a man who does not know what a horse is.however. for justas cookery provides pleasurefor the body with no regardfor what truly benefits it. 474d ff. when he accuses him of "roisteringrecklessly in his speech. Socratescontrasts rhetoric. that Socrates'distinctionbetween the rhetoricused by Gorgiasand the dialectic (ordiscussion)in whichhe himselfengagesbreaks down. The criticism of rhetoricthat Socrates makes in the Gorgias. however. without saying what justice is (e. arguing that rhetoricis not based on the truth. 1867.3 Could Socrates defend rhetoric by his deeds? His use of rhetoric. rhetoric gratifies the soul without considering its good.Moreimportantly. and that can give an account of its own activity. which reveals what its object is. like the demagoguethat [he is]"(482c).since he aims at the good ratherthan the pleasant.with dialectic. but also that he does not know what is good for his hearers.Referringto Socrates' statementsabout rhetoric.g. Althoughthe Phaedrusalso criticizesthe rhetoricof the day. See Cope.at any rate.which praisesits object. 4 Socratesagain criticizespublic speakersfor their ignorance. although Socrates associates dialectic with "alternatequestion and answer"and rhetoricwith "lengthyspeech" (449b). any more thanthe good can be separated from the pleasant(464b-466a). raisesthe question whether there is a rhetoricfree of the defects which he attributesto it.AlthoughSocrates describes rhetoric in harsh terms. Socrates carries Aristophanes'criticism of rhetoric to philosophic grounds. That Plato saw the possibility of a defensible rhetoricis clear from his other majordialogue on rhetoric.and since he does not speak about what he does not know as if he knew it.Platomay be suggestingin thisdialoguethatdialecticcannot be separatedfrom rhetoric. that knows the meaning of justice.Moreover. Instead of aiming at their good.. Callicles alerts us to Socrates' use of rhetoric. cannotbe Socrates'-or Plato's-last word on rhetoric. he himself uses rhetoric in speaking to his interlocutors.ARISTOTLE'S DEFENSE OF RHETORIC 659 does not know the meaning of what he discusses. There is evidence. Socratessays. This argumentabout the ignoranceof rhetoricwas commonplacein Aristotle's time. and 489a ff. Consequently.Socratespraisesthe nobility of justice.as Socratestriesto do.one could arguethatSocratesdoes not use rhetoric. For example.
It is in fact identical to philosophic speech.6is not "an expanded Phaedrus"so much as an implicit defense of public speech against the Phaedrus'sattack. Aristotle'sRhetoric. it is neverthelessnot an implicit defense of public speech. 1926.5Any rhetoric in the sense of public or political speech must therefore distort the truth.who gives the appropriatespeeches to each of his interlocutors.VOL. But the rhetoriciancannot merely follow common opinion. 1).p.g.Althoughit is often said that Aristotle'sRhetoriccarries out the proposalsfor rhetoricthat Socratesmakes in the Phaedrus. 7).pp. according to Socrates. the art of discussion used by Socrates.and Cope. must be limited to private speech.public speech both falls short of the truthand also is fundamentallyunjust.1987 know what is good for men and how to promote their good through speech.660 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS. which claims to make an art of public speech. a way found by Plato to give different speeches to different readersthroughits complex levels of meaning (Strauss. xx-xxii. noble. 52-57). especially their commonly held opinions about what is good. In order to check the rhetorician's of speech for merely private ends. 49. The same criticism of writing that Socrates presents in the Phaedrusapplies to public speech as well: like writing.quoted by Freese (1926.1938. See also FriedrichSolmsen'sdiscussionof the extentto which Aristotle's Rhetoricis indebted to the Phaedrus(Solmsen.he claims. It 5 In the Protagoras. The intricacyof a Platonicdialogue means that its public characteris merely apparent.AlthoughPlato wrote dialogues in the face of Socrates' criticism of writing. It does not make the proper distinctions (275e). and just.1964.. In its inability to comprehend the needs and ends of a variety of individuals.Socratesmakes explicit that anotherpart of his criticismof writing applies to public speech as well: the speeches of rhetoricians.discussing different kinds of speeches and relating them to the characters and passionsof men (e. he must subordinaterhetoricto what the citizens have in common. 402-4). If the Platonic dialogue serves as an implicit defense of writing.pp.p. Freese.pp.Aristotlemust allay the suspicionsof the city about use the potential injustice of rhetoric. since common opinion is not homogeneous. . 6 The first point that Aristotlemakes in the Rhetoricis that rhetoricis rightfullycalled an art (I. xxi). 1867. speech addressed to many men. It is the alternativeto the pleasure-seekingrhetoricdescribed in the Gorgias. or to the city as a whole.7 Aristotle's Rhetoric must therefore defend rhetoric from several different standpoints. are like "books [which]cannoteitheranswera question[whenasked]or aska questionon theirown account" (329a). Because a true art of speech must give different speeches to different men. e. the art of rhetoriccannot be an art of public speech. he did not write a treatise on public speaking. 7 The phrase"anexpanded Phaedrus" comes from Thompson'sintroduction.The true art of rhetoric. such a statement overlooks the requirementsSocrates lays down for an art of rhetoric. says the same things to everyone.
. Aristotle'srecommendationwould also limit the influence of the rhetoricians. claiming that the rhetoricof his day is concerned only with promoting the private interests of men regardless of the truth. hate." Aristotle writes. hate. the rhetorician arrivesat a comprehensiveposition thatis both rooted in common opinion and able to go beyond common opinion. i. 7). or the rhetoric used in law courts. applied in specific cases in the present. i. 5-6). Since laws apply to the whole community and are meant to last into the future in contrast to judicial decisions. and pity. Aristotle answers Socrates'criticism of political rhetoric'signorance as well as his criticismof its inabilityto take into account the individualnaturesof men. He is restrained by the individualswhom he addressesat the same time that he is able to educate them.They have provided only "a small part of the art."devoting their efforts to arousing the passions of judges (I. i. and private interest do not come into play in the framing of the laws themselves. 3-4). which may be in contradiction with one another and which in varying degrees reflect some element of the truth. expanding the reach of the law would leave less scope for the play of "love. the legislatorhas a certaindistance from his deliberationsthat the judge lacks. rhetoriciansmove the judges to the decision that they desire. We might wonder. whether love. 7). which involve particularcases in the present. is often "obscuredby private pleasure and pain"and "cannotconsider the truth 8 Translations from the Greekare mine. however. the judgment of a judge.8 By appealing to anger. ARISTOTLE'SDEFENSE OF RHETORIC At the beginning of the Rhetoric Aristotle repeats both Aristophanes' political attack on rhetoricand Plato'sphilosophic one.By recognizingthe heterogeneityof common opinion and trying to incorporatethat heterogeneity into a consistent whole. i. envy. By offering a complex rhetoric capable of addressing and comprehending the individuals who make up the community. Aristotle thinksthis intrusionis less likely in legislating than in judging due to the different character of the two activities.He observes that previoustheories of rhetoric have concentrated on forensic rhetoric. or private interest"(I.As Aristotle observes. Aristotle recommends that "laws as much as possible define everythingand leave as little as possible to the judges"(I. By limiting the discretionof the judges. Allowing judges to decide cases on such a basis. is like "measuringsomething with a crooked ruler" (I. For this reason. Aristotlesays. Whereasthe judgmentof the legislatorin framingthe law "doesnot involve a particular case. He will try to subordinate this private rhetoricto a public realm of discourse.ARISTOTLE'S DEFENSE OF RHETORIC 661 is composed of a diversity of elements. but is universal and concerns the future.
They. i. "Itis easierto find one or a few prudentmen thanmany able to legislate"(I. In criticizing those rhetoricians concerned primarily with forensic rhetoric. Aristotlesays.a word that means literally "speakingto the demos." Although only one or a few men may be true legislators(see previousnote). 7). Aristotle's recommendation suggests that at least some men in the community can overcome their absorption in the particular issues immediately before them to consider what should apply to their community as a whole for the indefinite future.VOL.9 Through their participationin lawmaking.whose decisions. for example. Consequently. It is the existence of a public realm of discourse that makes man's political life more than the conflict of private interestsand passions. they will raise the level of the political speech of the whole community. are more malleable thanlegislatorsin the assembly. or the people. there is more opportunity for rhetoric to turn men's attention away from such pleasuresand pains to the public or universaldeterminationsinvolved in lawmaking. i. 10). Aristotle indicates a legitimate and necessary role for private interest in lawmaking-as a useful check on the rhetorician'sarbitraryarousal of 9 Aristotlewarns.Butwhile thereis less opportunityfor rhetoricto indulge private pleasures and pains in specific cases. and to some extent thatis true. 1251a24-1253al8).1987 adequately" (I. will affect themselves as well (I. . i.Gorgias. who are not themselves affected by the decisions they render. as opposed to private ones? Through this surprisingturn of the argument. framed in general terms to last over time. men might be aroused from their particular interests to an awareness of the public good. Aristotle makes it appear that expanding the reach of law restricts that of rhetoric. i. men who bring suits or who are brought to court are involved in their private cases. 49. he argues that "the practice of deliberative rhetoric is nobler and more statesmanlikethan forensic. shouldact as a restrainton how particularcases are decided. that rhetoricalskills of arousingpassion are the most dangerous. which involves [private] transactions"(I. 10).Aristotlemanifestshis intentionof directing men to such a public realm of discourse. affecting the community as a whole.however. it is in law courts. But if legislatorsare less malleable than judges because they are more interested. In contrast to his predecessors. is there not less possibility in lawmaking for considerationsof common interests. Moreover. See.494d.O Far from looking to common or public concerns. do not usually look away from private interests to any public good. Judges in law courts. Aristotle'suse of di-migoriki in this passage has none of the derogative connotationsof "demagogery" often attachedto the word. that allows cities that come into existence for the sake of mere life to become associations in which men share speech about the advantageous and the just (see Politics. 7). the law.662 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS. and their rhetoric. 10Aristotlehere uses djmoegorikjfor deliberative rhetoric.
its argument.For a discussionof the different uses of pistis in acceptance of the rhetorician's and Wikramanayake. 1961. of particular and universal elements that for Aristotle characterizespolitical life. i. ii.and good will (II. its anger might be the reason it believes him. Concentratingon the arousalof passionin law courts. Aristotlerefers to the rhetorician'sarousing the passions of his audience. do not fall within the province of the art of rhetoric. Although to (I."Aristotlemeans more broadly "reasonfor or cause of belief. And his charactermight be what persuades his audience to accept his point. His art is not a morally neutral skill. Arnhart. what is most essential to rhetoric-the "proofs" (pisteis)available rhetoricians i.). 34-38. in contrast.the second in disposingthe hearerin a certain way.12 Withrespect to the firstkind of "proof. or "causesof belief" that lie outside the speech. has the impetus neither to look beyond the personal interests of the individuals concerned toward a public good nor to modify his position to accommodate the diverse interests of others. The general or universal rules the rhetoricianproposes in the assembly will fail to be accepted if they are contrary to the personal interestsof the assemblymen. xv. 188-92. 2.there are three kinds of pisteis that are furnishedby the rhetorician'sspeech: "The first lies in the characterof the speaker. ii. The forensic rhetorician. in this sense it "proves"the truth of the rhetorician's position. or appears to prove" (I. he "proves"his 11 Aristotle uses pistis to refer also to the state of mind produced in the audience. Through its anger. his rhetoric presents a complex vision of justice. 3). 5) -through his speech. Since those "outsidethe art"are useful to forensic rhetoric.especially pp. Characteris thus "a reason for belief". such 12 There are other kinds of "proofs" as witnesses or written agreementsentered into by the parties concerned.pp. 193-96.Aristotledistinguishesproofs "withinthe art"(entechnoi)from those "outsidethe art" (atechnoi) at I. and the third in the speech itself. If the rhetorician portraysa situationthatarouseshis audience'sanger.pp.for example. With respect to the second kind of proof. . in what it proves. which are not furnishedby the speaker but already exist. deliberativerhetoricis nobler and more statesmanlikethan forensic not only because it aims at a general or public end but also because it must addressa greatervariety of private interestsand concerns. To the extent that in deliberating about the laws of his community the rhetoricianbalances public goods againstparticular interests. and virtue. It is rather in the activity of lawmaking that we find the complex interplay of private and public concerns. the Rhetoric." The pisteis are the means of persuasionthat it is the task of rhetoricto discover (I. These proofs.he concludeshis discussionof forensicrhetoricwith a descriptionof them (I. ii. 1981. previousthinkers have ignored. pistisis usually translatedas "proof. Aristotlecontinues.1957. 1).1" Accordingto Aristotle."Aristotlemeans that the rhetoricianmight reveal his good character-his prudence. 3).see Grimaldi.Paradoxically.ARISTOTLE'S DEFENSE OF RHETORIC 663 passion.
while criticizing Cope arguesthatAristotle the latter (Cope. and unscientifically.in contrast.however. when he recognizes that someone has suffered undeserved misfortune.through the by medium of the speech itself. or he fears when he understands the potential harm that somethingholds (II. .ratherthanfrom some preconceived notion of the rhetorician.p.The rhetoricianmust not merely arouse passion.Aristotleexplains. the introductionof considerations ab extraor ab captandum. 2 and II. some kindsof rhetoricwill rely moreon one kindof proof thananother. Moreover. pp. . are in the best case inseparable from one another. for example.1970. .VOL.As LarryArnhart argues.1987 point. pp. Aristotle also reveal the rhetorician's emphasizes. 22). i.or ethos. for example. 4-5. 1867.pp. . p.The three proofs in rhetoricthus point to the connection between speakerand listenerthat speech effects.it is more useful that the rhetoricianappear to be of a certain character. the rhetoriciancan "reasonwith the passions. 58). Aristotleappearsto affirm clearlythat their effective and proper use is by being brought together in deductive and inductive argumentation" (Grimaldi. 14 Cope writes that there are two ways of "inspiring the listenerswith such feelings and sentimentsas are desirable for yourself and your own case":"scientifically. i. see also Arnhart. 211-12)."thinks the logos as a whole and thinks of it being made pistos and becoming effective by the combined and simultaneous applicationof the three pisteis"(Solmsen.whereas it is more useful in forensic rhetoricthat the audience should be disposed in a certainway (II."and change "the passions of his listenersby changing their minds"(Arnhart. Aristotleemphasizesthe rationality of the passions by analyzing each passion in terms of its objects and its grounds(II. such Aristotle's predecessorstried to arousepassiononly in a particular or of as the peroration epilogue."Whilethe rationalexplanation. Rhetoric is communication. 1972.may be used independentlyto win assentor conviction . and it must be directed to someone (how the heareris affected by the speech may persuade).13 is the connection between reason and passion in It Aristotle'stheory. or pathos." advocatesthe former. vii.1981. may persuade).Aristotle.moreover.It is from his speech itself. Althoughall threekindsof proofsoperatein all kinds of rhetoric.. 13 As Grimaldi explains. v. that distinguisheshis use of passion from thatof the forensicspeakershe originallycriticized.the same argumentsthat arousethe passionsof the audience character. 1). 9.1867. 49. In deliberativerhetoric. it must follow acceptable patternsof reasoning (the speech itself. Aristotle links the arousalof passion to the argumentof the speech itself. Solmsen points out that part of the speech. what it proves. 393). Aristotle's classificationof rhetoric's proofs is derived from the natureof speech: it must originatein someone (the rhetorician's charactermay persuade).664 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS. Aristotle'sthird use of proof is more familiar to us: a rhetorician might prove his case through the cogency of his reasoning-the acceptability of his premises and the logical validity of the conclusions he drawsfrom them. . 4).1981. 114-15). The three proofs of rhetoric.p.14A man pities.Whiletheirpassionate appeals had little to do with the merits of the case. he must do so by means of argument. Fortenbaugh. .
Regardless of the particularend the rhetoricianaims at. must always claim that what he is proposing is beneficial.according to this analysis. which points out the cognitive elementsinvolved in the passion (1981. His rhetoric must show the respect that the man who slighted failed to show. pp. 4). iii. but he might also show its nobility or justice.the noble.and his examples all reveal his character. ii. in order to arouse anger. In doing this. 1-6). because of what provokes it: the man who is slighted is treated as if he were worthless (II. 216-17). or that he has justice on his side. the rhetoricianmust present this treatment as outrageous. Althougha man can hide the reasonsthat he is giving a particularspeech.DEFENSE OF RHETORIC ARISTOTLE'S 665 that an audience understands his character (II. 6). In the first place. . Addressing the popular fear that the speech of a clever rhetoricianmight hide his ends. although a successful rhetorician must aim at the end proper to the kind of rhetoric he is practicing. he can refer to the ends of the other kinds of rhetoric as subsidiaryconsiderations(I. as popular opinion feared. If a rhetoricianis to be persuasive. The extent to which a speaker brings to bear such considerationsfurtherreveals his character. Aristotlesays. pleasure accompanies anger. in a broader sense he will be revealed by the kind of speech he makes. and the arguments he employs are mutually dependent. ii. Aristotle calls attention to the extent that a man reveals himself in his speech. 115-20) and Fortenbaugh's(1970. due to the thought of revenge.Aristotle'saccount of anger.and the rhetorician's of all three kinds of rhetoric-the advantageous. just as an epideictic speaker might refuse to separate the noble from the good (see I. and the just-in his arousalof anger. Moreover. he manifests a sense of justice. according to Aristotle.the moralambiguityof anger. the passions he arouses. My analysis emphasizesalso the extent to which the argumentsthat arouse anger reveal the character need to employ the ends of the speaker. illustratesthat the characterof the speaker. he must direct argumentsto the passionsof his audience. We shall therefore consider the rhetoricnecessary to provoke anger in some detail. and those argumentswill reveal his character.he must show that his advice is advantageousto his audience. which has been violated. ii. for example. Although longing is painful. his conclusions. his premises. In such cases. appealing to his hearer'ssense of his own worth.15 Anger. 6). A deliberative speaker. which the angrymanbelieves possible. which is based on the worth or the integrity of human beings and which should be defended 15 See also Arnhart's analysisof anger. is a man's longing for revenge when someone appears to slight him or one of his relatives or friends and when the slight appears undeserved. the first passion he discusses. that what he is praisingis noble. One can see the close connections among the three kinds of proof through an examination of Aristotle's discussion of the passions. Angeris so powerful a passion. pp.
if the insult and revenge consume the angry man.see NE. There is no appeal. or that the person who slighted is grieved for what he has done (III. but not so if one couldn't defend oneself with speech" (I.while he shows thatsuch circumstancesdo not exist in the case at hand.).Anger acknowledges harm. Could that be due to the danger to communityand independence that retaliationentails? 17 This dependence underlyinganger is suggested by the fact that spiritedness. iii. condemn anger and revenge. Rather. Aristotle even suggests the arousalof fear as anothermeans of calming anger (III. Aristotle does not include in his list of ways in which the rhetoricianmight calm anger any appeal to a desire to be above anger and the dependence it implies.justas the rhetoriciandoes by his speech.when listing the uses of rhetoric: would be strangeif it were shamefulnot to be able to defend oneself with one's "It body. he is also able to harm and be harmed. Man is not self-sufficient. For anger to predominate over fear. 49. an element of prudential calculationmust be presentin a rhetorician's appeal to anger. . 1328b40-a3). 10).666 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS. precisely because man is a political animal.VOL. that justicemust pertain to the interactionsof men. Anger is a sign of this mutual dependence. In these cases he assumes that there are circumstances in which anger and revenge are the appropriatereactions. 17). Aristotle'sacknowledgmentof the nobility of retaliationis qualified. in other words. Indeed. Anger undermines independence. 12).If his listener thought that his act would merely recoil on himself rather than hurt the man who slighted him. While man is able to benefit others and be benefited by them. the one who insulted remains in control.1987 by appropriate actions. there is a certain moral ambiguity in anger and revenge. however..17 In analyzing gentleness.he recommends calming anger by such means as showing that no slight has occurred. Because of this danger. an island unto himself. the rhetoricianarousinganger must also claim that an injuryhas been done that calls for redress. iii. A rhetoricianwill not be persuasive unless he shows a prudentialconcern for the consequences of the action he is urging(on prudence. to human self-sufficiency. is "morearousedagainstintimatesand friendsthan against strangerswhen it considersitself slighted"(Pol. At the same time. In the second place. i. upon whom the actions of others have no effect. 1140a24ff.'6Aristotledoes not. His rhetoricmusttherefore 16 Aristotleappears to acknowledge the nobility of retaliation. however. The angry man seeking revenge asserts by his actions. But to be able to defend oneself is not the same as doing so. that the slight was not done willingly.which Aristotleassociateswith anger. a man must sense that he is more likely to harm than to be harmed. His rhetoric must turn his hearer from the expedient concern with his own safety to higher considerations of nobility and justice. he would be more inclined to fear than to anger. Finally. the rhetorician'sappeal to justice and the nobility of a man's assertinghis worth in the face of its denial might call upon the angry man to risk his life to obtain revenge.
Bitzer'sown position is that the enthymeme is an incomplete syllogism. p. just as it must convey a sense of men's dignity as well as their mutual dependence. the noble. thereforeconnotes. Consequently.19 "The deductive process"of Aristotle'srhetoric. the syllogism of pure reason.pp. 9). 1981. ii. pp.18 The word thymos. Aristotleexamines "happinessand its 18 Althoughthere is a second means.21It is a discussionof these materialswhich enthymemes must incorporate that constitutes the greater part of Aristotle'sRhetoric. 1972. which Aristotle calls enthymemes. For all these reasons. constitutes"thebody of the proof" (I. pp. the arguments he uses to arouse passion reveal his character. the example. 13). . as Grimaldipoints out. pp. when they act as evidence of what syllogismsdemonstrate(II. "cannotbe the simple scientific syllogism.he writes.ARISTOTLE'S DEFENSE OF RHETORIC 667 manifest prudence as well as appeal to justice and nobility. that rhetoricians use to demonstrate theirpoints. 19 Grimaldiprovides an exhaustiveanalysisof the usage of enthymemepriorto Aristotle (Grimaldi. from which enthymeme is derived. The rhetoricianlinks his speech to his characterand the passions of his audience by means of the syllogisms he employs. 82). i. 69-82). . "somethingmore than simple logical inference" (Grimaldi. "personal conviction which will motivate personal action. 399-408). .The enthymeme. 67-68). calls for assent of the whole person: intellect. xx. . 1959.he says. 52). the enthymeme. 1972. Thus Bitzer emphasizes the necessary interactionbetween speaker and audience (Bitzer. p.which shows that Aristotle'sdiscussionof characterand passion in Book II is a continuationof his discussionof the materialsof rhetoricin Book I (Arnhart. Examplesare especially useful. 20 Lloyd F.Rhetoricians examples to use (particular cases) to illustratesome generalpoint which they then apply to the case at hand (I. but also the passions of men and the elements that form character. Rhetoricalsyllogisms are based on men's opinions about the good. 19). Aristotlesays. justice."The goal of rhetoric. emotions" (Grimaldi. An enthymeme. 21 1 am indebted to LarryArnhart's account of Aristotle's organizationof Books I and II of the Rhetoric. "incorporates or embodies"all three proofs of rhetoric.2O constructed therefore include not only the common opinions about advantage. and nobility."imposingform upon them so that they may be used most efficaciously in rhetorical demonstration" The materialsfrom which enthymemes are (Grimaldi. traditionallymeant the seat of both feeling and thought. Bitzerprovidesa useful discussionof the majorinterpretations the meaning of of enthymeme in Aristotle'sRhetoric. will.the exampleis clearlysubordinate the enthymeme.1972. and the just. As the case of anger illustrates.if rhetoricis to be successful. the three pisteis cannot be separated from one another.1972. which literally suggests something originating in or assimilated by the thymos. Accordingly. as the body of the proof.His argumentis thereforeconsistentwith my overall interpretation of Aristotle's Rhetoric. 69-70). only because it depends upon the audience to supply its premises.
134). v-vii. as Aristotle does.). the "common topics" (koinoi topoi) that Aristotlediscusses in this section of the Rhetoricare "waysin which the mind naturallyand readilyreasons. The premises that he uses-the views he expresses. Aristotle discusses the virtues and vices. 1987 parts"as well as the relativevalue of different goods thatmustbe weighed in making choices (I.).1972. which actions are nobler than others.the situations in which injusticeis likely to occur. he does discuss the latter as well (II.) Aristotle'saccount of the materials from which rhetorical syllogisms are formed includes a discussion of the characterof the speaker (his prudence. Aristotle's treatmentof the materialsof forensic arguments. i. The character that men trust and the passions to which they are susceptible must be incorporatedinto the rhetorician's speech if he is to be persuasive. he must follow the patterns of reasoning that belong to speech and that all men thereforeto some extent share. shame. The rhetoricianis limited not only by the rules of logical reasoning. but also useful in refuting an opponent whose "clever"speech violates logic.and they are independent. benevolence. and good will) (II. ix. viii. x-xii. and may be said to be imposed as forms upon this material in order to clarify and determine it further" (Grimaldi. 12935 and Arnhart. pp.). . 49. of the subject to which they are applied. xx-xxvi.) (Grimaldi. and the conditions attaching to nobility (I.just as the law of a political community might limit the scope of what judges decide and therefore the extent of a rhetorician's influence.668 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS.Knowinghow to draw conclusionsfrom premisesis not only necessaryfor the rhetorician's constructionof his own proofs. fear. AlthoughAristotleplaces more emphasis on the materialsfrom which rhetoricderives its premises than the formal aspects of logical reasoning. leads him to an examinationof the complexity of injustice-the kinds of laws that can be violated. love.pp. virtue. he also describes the regimes and their ends (I.but also by the common opinion of his community.). and the relative injusticeof different kinds of unjust acts (I.in the next place. To show men what kinds of argumentsare valid and what kinds are not. pity.xiii-xvii.p. and jealousy) (II. Not only must he address the passions of his audience and appear worthy of trust.He cannot become as shapeless as the Clouds. ii-xii. To guide the rhetoricianwhose speech praisesthe noble and censuresthe base. indignation. and the charactersof men at different ages and in different walks of life (IL. gentleness.envy. in a way. is to limit the rhetorician to logical argumentation. the passions (anger.2 Aristotlethusindicatessomething universal-the rulesof logic thatunderliespeech-which limitsthe speech of a rhetorician. Because different things are good for different regimes.).1972. the reasonsthat men commit injustice. hate.1981.VOL. for example.). 141-61). about virtue or justice-must be comprehensible to common opinion if his arguments are to be 22 As Grimaldisays.
g." some of which may be necessary(I. he says. their goodness. For a discussionof the probable as the sphere of rhetoricas well signs. grasp some element of the truth (e. Aristotle usually restricts him to drawing only probable conclusions. and the good "wander"in different circumstances. The common opinion to which a rhetoricianmust make his argument acceptable thus acts as a salutary restrainton the rhetorician.the emotionalinvolvement. At the same time his position.can address the concerns of a greater number of people and possibly be persuasive to them. comes closer to expressing the truth on a given subject. 1098b9-99b8. the just. moreover. 23 Aristotledoes not deny that rhetoriccan sometimesdeal with what is necessarilytrue. the character. the place.23 that we deliberateprimarilyabout humanactions-whether they explains have occurred. p. Aristotle demonstratestime after time in the Ethics and Politics. the materialsfrom which enthymemesare derived hold "by and large (ta pleista) only for the most part"(I. whether expressed or implicit. for example. and especially 1324a5-25b31). Aristotle ascertainswhat is true and false in each of them. and what characterizes them. the noble.pp.and Arnhart..our knowledge of them must therefore remain imprecise (NE. the rhetorician.1981. Grimaldispeaks of Aristotle's"awarenessthat anythingparticularlyanything in the area of the probable which is the primary subject matter of rhetoric-may be conditioned and altered by its situation. 18). 133). the arguments. ii. nobility. 1094bl9-28.1972. He gives the example of a woman'shaving milk as a necessary sign that she has given birth and the example of a man'shaving a fever as a necessarysign that he is ill (I. Human actions. cannot simply follow common opinion. whether we should undertake them. viewpoints.like Aristotle. They did not have to occur. . will vary according to the different circumstancesin which they occur. ii. The nature of the subjects which the rhetorician treats.1972. see. and The materialsfrom which enthymemesare formed. 14). they need not occur in the future.pp.DEFENSE OF RHETORIC ARISTOTLE'S 669 successful. the time. use as rhetoric's of necessaryand non-necessary 104-15. like the men who perform them. 13-14). for common opinion is composed of different. that support opposed opinions. however. for they do not exist of necessity (I. and justice. 43-47. NE. ii. These different viewpoints. circumstancescreated in part by chance but also in part by men's choices. and even contradictory. 14).1098a26-33). more important. are "probabilities" "signs.By incorporatingthe varioustruthsembodied in common opinions into a more comprehensive point of view. in different ways 1101a23-24. because more comprehensive. As Aristotlesays in the Ethics. His own treatment of opinions serves as an example for the rhetorician. Grimaldi.""In other words.By examining 1283a29-42. The rhetorician. differ from the objects of science. may vitally affect the total meaning of a thing in a given situation"(Grimaldi. ii. Pol. what characterizesthem. Althoughrhetoricmay utilize such necessarysigns. the circumstances.. and.
he would fail to understandwhat he is talkingabout. . exercising choice.p. just as it must incorporate a diversityof views found in common opinion. human affairs resist classification. and characteris the most of authoritative these.Rhetoricembodies a more complex vision of the world than that seen by a precise science like mathematics. the imprecisionof rhetoricthat 24 In saying this.1987 Moreover.The rhetorician's speech is merely probable because it must take into account the variety in human affairs and the individualityof men. But those generalitieswill admit of exceptions. 138). If a man tried to teach precise knowledge of the subjects appropriateto rhetoric. As Grimaldi of this statementindicatesonly that "deductivereasoningby the enthymemeis superiorto inductivereasoningby paradeigma[example]"(Grimaldi. 11). he would fail to understandnot merely his audience. but "in matterswhere precision is not possible and there is room for doubt.670 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS.VOL. it also allows for freedom. it indicates at least in its highest manifestationsa dimension of the truththat the precise sciences miss. in matters with which rhetoricdeals there will usuallybe room for doubt. Consequently. any generality that the rhetoriciandeduces may be true only "for the most part.Aristotledoes not. To demand strict demonstrations from a rhetoricianwould make as much sense as accepting probabilities from a mathematician(NE. From one perspective. Aristotledoes not contradicthis earlier statement that the enthymeme persuasivelyargues. We have surely experienced being favorably impressed by an argument because of our good opinion of its advocate. He explains that we trust worthy people in general. locate the source of the authority that he attributes to the rhetorician's character solely in the audience's inability to understand a complex argument.the context of is "themostauthoritative the proofs"(I. Because men.) The enthymemeincorporates three proofs. generate novelty and change. Aristotleis teaching rhetoriciansthe limitationsof their speech as well as the way in which rhetoricalspeech reveals the truth. our trust is complete" (I. i. universallaws do not always hold. But as we have seen. Because rhetoric is grounded in diversity.1972. Nature not only embraces necessity. ii 4). men might judge an argumentprimarily on the basis of their judgment of the man who makes it. (On the example." There will always be room for doubt.because each humanbeing is different and able to influence human affairs in a different way throughhis choices and actions. The necessary imprecision of rhetoricalspeech explains why Aristotle calls character the "most authoritative"(kuriotate) proof. just as we might refuse to accept the perfectly valid reasoningof a man we distrust. His rhetoricis truebecause it embraces the particularsthrough the generalitiesof speech. 1094b27-28). all see note 16 above. 49. 24 We might suppose that an audience would trust a speaker's characterrather than merely rely on its judgmentof the validity of his argumentsdue to its own limitations:unable to follow difficult chains of reasoning or to weigh the complex considerationsinvolved. however.
These differences between Plato and Aristotle are related to their different presentationsof the passions.which allows men to do wrong and escape the penalty. Aristotle says.the philosophicrulers eliminate the private dimension of life as much as possible (464a-e). The speeches involve a private. viii.Aristotle uses the word he applies to the ruling authorityin a regime (I. This is indicated in many aspects of Aristotle'spolitical theory. the deliberation at issue is whether a young boy should gratify a lover or a nonlover. WhereasPlato's political theory offers no reconciliationbetween public and private concerns. and good will through his arguments.It is what. even intimate.The private characterof the rhetoric that Plato writes about can be seen also from the Phaedrus. like Aristotle'sdeliberativerhetorician.Far from mediating between public and private. . 2).25Althoughthis rhetoricdiffers dramaticallyfrom that taughtby Gorgias. he claims that it is an imitationof justice. In speaking of character. There Socratesargues that the greatestuse of rhetoricis for a man to accuse himself and his relatives and friends of whatever wrong they have done so that they may pay the penalty and be cured of injustice(480a-d).465c). ARISTOTLE'SDIVERGENCE FROMPLATO Aristotle'semphasis on deliberative rhetoricdistinguisheshim not only from the forensic rhetoriciansto whom he refers but from Plato as well. Although the Phaedrus does include examples of deliberative rhetoric.ARISTOTLE'S DEFENSE OF RHETORIC 671 renders its conclusions merely probable serves as a limitation on the rhetorician.his audience will be persuadedby his vision of man'scomplex ends and of the particulargoals he is trying to promote. In the Republic Socrates divides 25 When Socrates describes rhetoricto Polus. This also suggests that in the GorgiasSocratesis criticizingthe rhetoric used in law courts ratherthan the deliberative rhetoricemployed in the assembly. virtue.the good of the soul of the rhetoricianand those dear to him replaces the privatepleasuresthatinjusticepermits. Aristotle'spolitical theory does. see I. 5. Of the threetypes of rhetoricthatAristotlerecognizes. while sophistryis an imitationof legislation (464b-c. manifesting his prudence. from his criticism of the Republic's communism to the primacy he gives to deliberative rhetoric among the different types of rhetoric. Socratesdoes not include rhetoricin either the educationof the rulers or in their naturalcapacities. affair. Where Plato does examine political affairs. There philosophersrule by force or deception ratherthan by persuasion. as in the Republic. its end is similarly private: in Socrates' novel proposal for forensic rhetoric. makes his character the most authoritativeproof. the type with which the Gorgiasis most concerned is the forensic.from anotherit serves as his opportunity. If the rhetoricianproves that he is worthy of trust. ii.
672 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS. that certain things admit of irregularity. and the appetitive. but it elevates the desires and brings them closer to reason (Fortenbaugh. Socrates does acknowledge. as there is in the city described in the Republic. Socrates speaks critically of those rhetoricianswho "honor probabilitiesmore than truth"(267a). and even the same men hold different views at different times (Phdr. Aristotle'swarning that probabilities thusapplies to Socrates(Cope. 49.VOL. But ratherthan accept the imprecision that Aristotle thought necessary. pp. According to him. which "possessesreasonin the sense thatit listensto reasonas one would a father" (1103al-4). Man is a political animal. Aristotlepresents only two in the Nicomachean Ethics: the rational. 1987 the soul into three: the calculatingor rationalpart. criticizingLysias'speech for its failureto do this very thing. there is no incommensurability between rulers and ruled. 1970). the just. 1. n. 109-10). and Grimaldi. It is because the desires in Aristotle'sanalysis do partake of the rational element that deliberative rhetoriccan occupy the primaryplace in the Rhetoric. which possesses reason simply. for example. 1867. obeying its commands and controllingthe desires. In the Phaedrus. and the desiring part. He thus wants rhetoricto be based on truthratherthan on probability. and the noble as the scientist has of those objects that exist of necessity. Aristotlelocates both desire and spiritednessin the appetitive part of the soul. whose passions and reason allow him to engage in deliberation about private and public goods. 7. only if it did not include humanbeings who exercisechoice and who thereforeintroducean infinite . 1972.or "wander. Aristotle'sdifferent approach to politics is reflected in his answers to Socrates'criticisms of rhetoric. His account does not merely demote spiritednessfrom its special place above the desires. Socrates indicates that rhetorical speech about the things that "wander"should define them. In place of these three parts of the soul. Socrates uses the same expressionthat Aristotlelater used in the Ethics of those things that vary in different circumstances(1094bl9-28).. the spirited part. shouldbe accepted from rhetoricians p. Accordingly. however." The need for simply true definitions that Socrates attributesto rhetoric could be satisfied only if nature were simple. 263a-b). spiritedness is the ally of reason."since different men hold different views about them. Implied in Socrates'charge that rhetoric is ignorantof the truthis the demand that the rhetoricianhave as certain and as accurate a knowledge about the good. where rulers correspond to one element in the soul and ruled to another. His criticism suggeststhathe is looking for a rhetoricthatcan put a stop to "wandering. The interplay between reason and desire in Aristotle's psychology parallels that between the public and private dimensions of life in his political science.
Socrates' criticism of rhetoric does not recognize the complexity of the truth and implies that the only valid rhetoric would be essentially like science. with which Aristotle was to designate the proofs that rhetoric used. he therefore answers not only Socrates' concern about rhetoric's ignorance but also his concern that public speech abstracts from the individual natures of men. As an alternative to such a rhetoric. and a persuasion that offers "belief" or "trust" without knowledge (454e). As we have seen. as well as an alternative to writing. Aristotle describes at the outset of the Rhetoric the beneficial limits that private interests place upon the deliberative rhetoric that proposes general laws. Laws may be superior to judicial decisions because they are universal rules free from the distortions of pleasure and pain that arise in individual cases. This he called true rhetoric. i. Because justice demands that both the communal and the private character of men be given their due.27 Since Socrates was well aware of the differences among men and the complexity of a nature that includes human beings. Aristotle treats it as the legitimate goal of rhetoric. and the just are true. the noble. I. Socrates distinguishes two kinds of persuasion: "instruction" or "teaching" that provides knowledge. is a rhetoric that allows for individual differences. From Aristotle's point of view. . and the particular circumstances in which they are involved and which they in part create. A rhetoric based on universally valid definitions would be open to the same criticism as writing. he did not think that a public rhetoric was possible. will constitute exceptions to the general rule. 27 This does not mean that no general statements about the good.ARISTOTLE'S DEFENSE OF RHETORIC 673 number of circumstances into human affairs. Socrates offered private speech that addressed itself to the individual natures of men. Socrates uses the word for belief. identifying rhetoric with his own philosophic activity. 12. Aristotle must qualify his initial recommendation that the scope of law be broadened as much as possible and little discretion left to the judges in particular cases. It is speech that aspires to communal or general concerns but also recognizes the particular characters of men who cannot be assimilated into a class and phenomena that cannot be adequately captured by a single definition..26It is the individuality of men that makes the just. Rhetoric. Cf. in the Gorgias. pistis. The general rule must then be modified to take the exception into account if it is to remain a true expression. which Socrates claimed says the same things to everyone. the exceptions to which its truths will inevitably be subject. A rhetoric aware of the probable character of its conclusions. the noble. Both achieve a unity at the cost of ignoring or suppressing individual differences. it means rather that their truth is only probable. Individuals. and the good wander. But whereas Socrates depreciates pistis in favor of knowledge. But as universal rules. When Aristotle argues that the truths of rhetoric hold only for the most part. they do not adequately cover all the particular cases to 26 Similarly.
they must be corrected by equity. they do not change over time. Judging. . whether the speech of its rhetoricians or the justice of its law courts. however. and since lawlessnessis more dangerous than the inflexibilityof law. Just as Plato did not develop an art of rhetoric-of political speech that did justice to the individual natures of its addressees. like deliberating. 13). Insteadhe recommendsthatthe man with knowledge rule without law. At the beginning of the Rhetoric. do to the concept of equity. he criticizes forensic rhetoric because it involves strictly private cases and claims that it is inferiorto the deliberative rhetoricthat leads to legislation."Like the judge applying equity.The flexibility of equity thus parallelsthe flexibility of speech: both take into account the variationand complexity of human life. the rhetoriciancontinuallymodifies his speech as he directs it to changing circumstances. and between the private and public dimensions of life. he did not think that politics.involves a considerationof the relationbetween public and private. But although laws are based on both private and public concerns. as we have seen. Aristotle's recommendation. both are incomplete. 1987 which they are applied. xiii. The flexibility of speech makes it superiorto law. and opinions of men. The judge it completes the law by understanding in light of particular circumstances. might be considereda mean between inflexibilityand lawlessness. but also because it is necessary to correct them. the Eleatic Strangerrefers to the defect of generaland inflexiblelaws:"Thedifferencesamong men and actionsand the fact thatnothingin human life is ever at restforbidany sciencewhatsoeverto promulgateanysimplerulefor everything and for all time"(294b).Suchconsiderations not. not merely because it is instrumentalin framing laws.or universaland particular. a "justicethat goes beyond the written law" in order to take into account the extenuatingcircumstances that bring particularcases outside the general rule (I. Because fixed and unchanging laws cannot always apply to changing human affairs. Butsince such a statesmanis not likely to exist. The importancethatAristotlegives to equity in forensic speakingbrings his discussion of rhetoric full circle. could manifest the moderationnecessary to make exceptions.lead him. so that they apply to 28 In the Statesman. he did not Given his understandingof the dichotomy develop a concept of equity. 13).passions. for example. While both are indispensablefor the community of men.28 between passions and reason.a rhetoricthatbringsprivateinterestsinto contact with public ones.VOL. So too does the rhetoricianground his speech not only in the formal rules of reasoning but also in the complex and changing materialsthat make his conclusions only probable-the characters. 49.674 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS. he recommends absolute obedience to unchanginglaws as a practical political solution (200b-c). they are valid "only for the most part"(I.The laws of a politicalcommunity resemble the truthsof rhetoric:they hold "only for the most part. Equity. And the generality of law resembles the universality of the logical rules which limit speech. as they did Aristotle. Although universal statements are necessary in framinglaws. xiii.
1981. how theirrhetoricmight combine AlthoughAristotleshows rhetoricians success with truth and justice. 13). Aristotlealso acknowledges the potential dangers of rhetoric. Aristotledistinguishesbetween the mathematical sciences. Finally. 149). Without speech.Forensicrhetoric. which the drive for more precise knowledge obscures. 34-35." he says.especially Plato's.ARISTOTLE'S DEFENSE OF RHETORIC 675 changinghumanaffairs. Gorg. He thereforedefines the art of rhetoricnot as the ability to persuade. He thus shows how public speech makes politics less coercive at the same time thatit directsto a politicalcommunitythe ethical speeches Socrates gave to men in private. 1867. politics will be coercive rather than persuasive. "canhave equally harmful effects if used unjustly"(I. whether psychological or economic.. is continually necessary to ensure the laws' justice. as they are revealed in their opinions and implied in their passions. which admit of precise knowledge. their rhetoric will be persuasive. 1. p.To those who depreciate political speech as involving values that are not scientificallyverifiable. to the extent that human affairs permit. Aristotleindicates the extent to which rhetoricinvolves refining opinions and modifying desires in light of more comprehensive goods. He suggests the good that rhetoric can produce when he makes an observationin the Politics about man himself. it is true to man's complexity and freedom. And because of that same comprehensiveness. cf. Aristotlepoints out the limits necessary for successful persuasion-from the logical rules that underlie thought to the diverse elements of common opinion that rhetoric must accommodate. but as "the ability to see the possible means of persuasion in particulr cases" (I. and the less precise sciences such as politics. i.but it also constitutesa defense againstrhetoric'smodern detractors. CONCLUSION Aristotleteaches rhetoricians how to incorporateinto theirspeeches the variety of goods that men seek. Aristotlesuggests that a universalrule rigidly applied is as bad a measure as private passion."Justas man is the best of animals . ii. to those who see in political debate only the rationalizationof subrationaldrives. even those that are "the most useful"and "of the greatest benefit. To those who question the legitimacy of a skill that permitsmen to argue on any side of an issue. Aristotle's account of rhetoric answersnot only the ancient criticismsof rhetoric. 452e).precisely because it focuses on individual cases. he is well aware of the limits to what can be accomplished. its laws distorting particular cases to fit a universal rule.it will be both true and just. While political knowledge is only probable. Because it is based on a comprehensive understandingof human nature.pp. as others had done. The things that produce good. as without equity. similarto the one he applies to rhetoric.and Cope. The art rhetorician's does not guaranteesuccess (Arnhart.
Lamb. whom Aristotle describes as "the cause of the greatest goods" (Pol. M.John.After Virtue.Phaedrus. Aristotleis thereforetryingto strengthenpoliticalcommunity.Trans. Lysis. John Henry Freese. Rhetoricon Emotions. Symposium.Notre Dame: Notre Dame UniversityPress.In writing a Rhetoric about speech that aims at the advantageous and the just.1981. 1253a32).Introduction The "Art" Rhetoric. S. Larry. The Journalof Politics.NJ: ScarecrowPress.Archivfur Geschichteder Fortenbaugh. Arnhart.JohnHenryFreese.Cambridge:HarvardUniversityPress. DeKalb.Trans. R.Gerald. H. 1972.45:399Bitzer. HarvardUniversityPress. N.A Note on the Pisteisin Aristotle's Rhetoric.Metuchen.___ 1932.Euthyphro..Cambridge: Apology. 1970. ____.1926." he says. KeithV. Plato. WilliamM. 1867. New York: Harcourt. 1983.American Journal Grimaldi. Alasdair. Cambridge:Harvard UniversityPress. 1987 when perfected.676 THE JOURNALOF POLITICS. 1976. . of Philology.PoliticalJudgment.Studiesin the Philosophyof Aristotle's MacIntyre.52:205-34. Its practitionerwould resemble the man who first brought men together in a city. .Gorgias. 1926. "he is the worst of all when sunderedfrom law and justice"(1253a32). Bernstein. Topics.Braceand Jovanovich.After Virtue. Aristotle on Political Reasoning. W. UniversityPress. Crito. Posterior Analytics. Aristotle'sNicomacheanEthics. Trans.78:188-92.1974. Erickson. Fowler. ___.Quarterly Journal Speech.London:Macmillan. 1926. Rhetoric. Cambridge:Harvard UniversityPress. 1977. Cope. The potential harmfulnessof rhetoric is outweighed by its potential good.Chicago:Universityof Chicago Press. of EnthymemeRevisited. Rackham. Cambridge:HarvardUniversityPress.JohnHenry.Weisbaden:FranzSteiner.Aristotle's Politics. Mara.Aristotle's 408.An Introductionto Aristotle's and Danford. Ed.Lloyd F. Rackham. Forster. 49. Tredennick and E.and the ability to elevate them is also the ability to degrade them. H. Beiner.1985.Aristotle's Philosophie. The "Art"of Rhetoric. reprintedin Aristotle:The ClassicalHeritageof Rhetoric.Phaedo. Trans. A. Cambridge:HarvardUniversityPress.Trans. 1957. 1926.H. Rhetoric.VOL.There Aristotleis explainingman'suniquecapacity for speech.Ronald. 1932.Wittgenstein PoliticalPhilosophy. IL: Northern Illinois UniversityPress. Trans.Autonomy:JurgenHabermasand GreekPoliticalTheory. If rhetoricdoes unite men in speech about the advantageous and the just.Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPress.Cambridge:Harvard ____. Edward M. 1959. 1926. REFERENCES Aristotle.H. it would promote political community. WilliamW.Richard. which makes possible his belonging to political communities in which he pursuesthe advantageousand the just (1253al6-18). Trans.47:1036-61. The Restructuringof Social and Political Theory. 1981. to of Freese. _ .This cannot be done without involving man'spassions.
Leo. . Trans. H.Aristotle's Social Science. Fowler and W. 47:92-112. Harold N. The Review of Politics. ClassicalPhilology. Lamb. 1925. Friedrich.Stephen. M. Salkever.1938.Bernard. Wikramanayake.1985.AmericanJournal of Philology. R. PoliticalTheory.Aristotleand Cicero on the Orator'sPlaying upon the Feelings.82:193-96. Yak. Rhetoric. Philebus. 1981.ARISTOTLE'S DEFENSE OF RHETORIC 677 . 1964. Cambridge:HarvardUniversityPress.47:1036-61. Strauss. 1961.Communityand Conflict in Aristotle's Politics. Solmsen.33:390-404. The City and Man.A Note on the Pisteisin Aristotle's G. The Statesman. Chicago:Rand McNally. Ion.
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