Origins Of Classical Rhetoric


This week we are going to familiarize ourselves with the western, ancient origins of Rhetorical Theory. As we move through our chapter readings and assigned media, we will begin to craft connections between what what Aristotle and the great Sophists have to do with argument today.

Particularly when we think of “making argument,” we should be considered what comes to mind. Conflict? Pro-Con? Winners and Losers? Compromise? Resolution? These are all ideas we will confront this week as we dive into the history of rhetorical theory and begin a framework of argument together!

Module Objectives:

  1. Discuss the classical origins of Rhetorical Theory
  2. Identify the five canons of rhetoric
  3. Classify the definition of argument

Chapter Readings:

  • Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing 2e, Issue 1: Why Rhetoric p. 50-69
  • Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings 11e, Chapter 1: Argument: An Introduction p. 2-16

Additional Readings:

  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Invention
  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Arrangement
  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Style
  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Memory
  • Classical Rhetoric 101: Delivery

Instructions: You are expected to read all of the assigned readings before posting on the discussion boards. You may respond to questions posted by the instructor or any student but posts need to be closely related to readings and posted in a timely manner. Post Initial responses and peer responses in a timely manner, responding to instructor discussion threads/prompts or posting uniquely generated content.

Initial Post:

Instructor Prompt #1: Is Everything Argument? (400 words)

Classic and Contemporary Rhetoricians alike argue that “Everything’s an Argument.” From the bumper stickers we see on the drive to work to famous American speeches that are branded into our Nation’s shared memory, we literally cannot escape rhetoric and argument. Do you agree with the sentiment that Everything’s an Argument? Defend your answer using examples from the assigned texts and your own life.

Instructor Prompt #2: Are the Canons Dead? (400 words)

Now that you are familiar with the Five Canons of Rhetoric, which canon (e.g. Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery) resonates with your personal argument style the most? Do you struggle with any of these processes when you are crafting arguments? Do you think any of these Rhetorical canons feel outdated or irrelevant to how you or those around you deliver argument?

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