Trump’s tweets and the Obama speeches. Emma Watson’s UN statement on feminism and Ken Robinson’s Ted talk on how schools kill creativity. Nelson Mandela’s final words from the dock and Martin Luther King’s dream for America. Eleanor Roosevelt’s introduction of the Universal Declaration to the United Nations and her husband Franklin’s formulation of the Four Freedoms. Both internet and history books are full of examples of the relevance of the art of rhetoric, as are our daily lives. Plato defined it as the “art of enchanting the soul”, whilst Aristotle considered it the ability to “discover in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion". Quintilian, on the other hand, simply considered rhetoric “the art of speaking well”. Whatever the definition, mastering this art involves much more work than often imagined, work that is at the core of this course.

Rhetoric and Argumentation is a skills course. No effective standpoint can be formed with confidence, no supporting arguments found, no paper written, no presentation given, no textual analysis conducted without knowledge of how and why rhetoric works. Therefore it is necessary for students to have a proper understanding of what rhetoric and argumentation involves and how it can be applied consciously. This course offers the skills students need to be able to structure any future academic essay or future oral presentation in a clear, persuasive and academic way.

The course follows the so-called ‘five canons of rhetoric’ structure:
1. Invention (Inventio)
2. Arrangement
3. Style (Elocutio)
4. Memory (Memoria)
5. Delivery (Pronuntiatio)

The course considers the Greek and Roman Western roots of rhetoric. It focuses on the canons of rhetoric applied to the three main types of argumentation, i.e. political (deliberative), legal (forensic) and ceremonial i.e. praise/blame (epideictic). These canons are (1) inventio: how to formulate a thesis and how, and where, to discover arguments in order to support that thesis --- (fallacies and the three appeals, logos, pathos & ethos, will be studied here too); (2) dispositio - how to order the arguments you have in order to make them most effective, and (3) elocutio - how to improve the persuasiveness of arguments by using style figures (tropes and schemes) in specific places of a discourse. The focus thus far will be primarily on written texts: identifying, analysing and reproducing. The course will also consider the production and reception aspects of spoken persuasive discourse. The final two canons of rhetoric: memory (memoria) and delivery (pronuntiatio) will be the main concerns here. In these more practical sections of the course, the emphasis will be on the more oral aspects of argumentation in the form individual persuasive (public) speeches.

COURSE MANUAL ACCRHET101 Introduction to Rhetoric and Argumentation FAll 2019.pdfCOURSE MANUAL ACCRHET101 Introduction to Rhetoric and Argumentation FAll 2019.pdf