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Passions and Persuasion in Aristotle's Rhetoric$
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Jamie Dow

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716266

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716266.001.0001

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Proof-reading Aristotle’s Rhetoric

Proof-reading Aristotle’s Rhetoric

(p.34) 2 Proof-reading Aristotle’s Rhetoric
Passions and Persuasion in Aristotle's Rhetoric

Jamie Dow

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets out to defend the view that Aristotle’s view, consistently held through the Rhetoric, is that rhetoric was an expertise in producing ‘proofs’ (pisteis), understood as proper grounds for conviction. Such a view is clearly distinct from the views of Gorgias, Thrasymachus, and the handbook writers on the one hand, and those put forward in Plato’s works on the other. The chapter proceeds, on the basis of a detailed examination of Aristotle’s arguments in Rhetoric 1, to defend this understanding of pisteis and of their role in Aristotelian rhetoric, and argues that it makes best sense of Aristotle’s central claims about what the key constituents of rhetorical expertise are, about how ‘proofs’ (pisteis) are related to ‘demonstrations’ (apodeixeis), and about the relationship between rhetoric and dialectic. It further seeks to identify the particular limited kind of propriety involved in Aristotelian ‘proofs’.

Keywords:   Aristotle, rhetoric, proof, conviction, belief, epistemic norms, demonstration, dialectic, enthymemes

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