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Chapter Sixteen The Success of the Aristotelian Classification

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Chapter Summary

The division of rhetoric into three genres (deliberative, judicial and epideictic genre), one can learn from Diogenes Laertius, was taken up by the Stoics. In his Rhetoric Philodemus presents it as the standard rhetorical doctrine. From this precious source one can deduce that Aristotle's tripartition had acquired a central role in the debate in the Hellenistic schools of philosophy, often in polemic with those of rhetoric, on the status and utility of rhetoric. In the classification given by Aristotle at the beginning of the Rhetoric, the first place assigned to the deliberative genre and the last to the epideictic express a hierarchy of value. The vocabulary used to designate on one hand the "genre" as a class of speeches and on the other "genres", i. e. the specific forms in which this class is made manifest, merits a specific inquiry.

Keywords: Aristotelian classification; deliberative genre; epideictic genre; judicial genre; Philodemus; rhetorical doctrine



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