chapter  14
13 Pages

The Future of Rhetoric

There are a number of ways in which Aristotle’s conception of rhetoric as the art of persuasion, or as a general theory of the persuasive, is different from the conception set out here. The Rhetoric takes the form of three books: two on thought, one on style. Although the two major elements are related, the division indicates that the bulk of the work focuses on thought, taking into account philosophical and emotive considerations and grounding issues of style in a more general theory of the responsibilities and powers of the speaker in relation to his or her audience. The Rhetoric also builds its theory of persuasion on syllogistic mechanisms or micro-logical arguments like the enthymeme. These deductive approaches, deriving as they do from philosophy or logic, are not central to the theory of contemporary rhetoric outlined in the present book, largely because the scaling up from the enthymeme to dialectic encounters in everyday life does not work.