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Reason In Speech? Logos And Means Of Persuasion In Aristotle's Rhetoric

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Chapter Summary

It is shown that a lean conception of logos and of reason is no obstacle to an understanding of the most sophisticated rhetoric of antiquity. Here the author will, until we are forced to accept the opposite conclusion, take it as a reasonable working hypothesis that different uses of logos bear senses between which a family resemblance is operative at a level relevant to our understanding of the texts. Emotion, like character, is treated in the Rhetoric with a pragmatic and non-judgmental view to its effect as instrument. However, emotions are involved with logos in another sense, documented in the Rhetoric, that helps to give content to logos as a human faculty for cognition and decision, not necessarily expressed in words, but reaching beyond words to realities for its objects. Character too is discussed in the Rhetoric, but like emotion only as a means of persuasion.

Keywords: Aristotle’s Rhetoric; emotional effects; lean conception; logos; means of persuasion



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