chapter  4
50 Pages

Rhetorical reasoning: Epieikeia, kairos, ren, and yi

I have discussed that the concepts of form-in-the-matter and of tiandao-the-wayof-cosmos in rendao-the-way-of-people show Aristotle’s and Confucius’ refusal to disbelieve even though what is believed can never be grasped in its totality. In this chapter, I will discuss the ideas of epieikeia, kairos, ren, and yi to show Confucius’ and Aristotle’s refusal to deny humanity the possibility of knowing, even though what is not denied entails human vulnerability. Both aspects of their thinking reflect the similarities and differences between the conceptualization and practice of their rhetorical thinking. Here I turn to the enthymeme to examine how their rhetorical reasoning and thinking compare and contrast, focusing on how the sophistical aspect of Aristotle’s and Confucius’ rhetorical thinking is intertwined with the formal and the cosmic aspect of it. To see the similarities and differences between Aristotle’s and Confucius’ rhetorical reasoning, one must challenge, once again, stereotypes of Aristotle having only linear logic and Confucius, only circular thinking.