Friday, September 10, 2010

The History of Rhetoric

                 Chapter 2 covers many different ways to define rhetoric throughout history. The Sophists believe that rhetoric is “the art of persuasion carried out through public speaking,” and being able to speak to general audiences on a wide variety of topics (Page 41). Aristotle did not believe that rhetoric was an art but that is was a knack of appearances and flattery rather than reality by fooling people.

            The Greeks claimed rhetoric occurs in traditional texts because that was ideal for public speaking. However, Vico brings a different angle on the definition of rhetoric as a human faculty and is based on human experience. He is saying that you can make your own truth and perception of reality.
            I agree more with Vico rather than the Greeks view because reality is what we perceive and we create our own reality based on our experiences.  By seeing the world in our own way and coming to our own conclusions is rhetoric at work. Unlike Aristotle’s definition that rhetoric is ability to fool people to sway their opinions on issues, I believe rhetoric is how we as humans view the truth.
            Media today would veer more towards the Greeks definition of rhetoric. Obama is a good example of both the Sophists and Aristotle’s views. Obama is a good speaker and has the ability to deliver excitement through his passion and use of words. His campaign theme of change was appealing to the public because everyone has the desire for change and something different. He never fulfills these promises but it sure sounded good and grabbed the citizens’ attention. 

No comments:

Post a Comment