Rhetorical Methods of Applied Communication Scholarship

Authored by: Celeste M. Condit , Benjamin R. Bates

Routledge Handbook of Applied Communication Research

Print publication date:  June  2009
Online publication date:  July  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805849837
eBook ISBN: 9780203871645
Adobe ISBN: 9781135231798


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In about 330 bce, Aristotle (1991) defined rhetoric as “an ability, in each [particular] case, to see the available means of persuasion” (Bk. 1, ch. 1.1). Rhetoric, thus, originally was conceived as a practical art, a pragmatic counterpart to philosophy. Rhetorical studies usually were written to be applied to the business of participating in democratic life, which included substantial speech making, at least by the class of persons for whom rhetorical treatises were written. The most important topic for Aristotle was the inventional resources available to a speaker, but he also focused on the generic characteristics and standard topics of speaking situations, and the role of ethos and pathos in persuasion. Stylistic issues were common subjects for rhetoricians, and issues of arrangement and delivery have become more or less important at different historical periods.

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