, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 249–252 | Cite as

Aristotle’s Rhetoric

  • Michel Meyer

Rhetoric is a discipline which is as old as philosophy. For Plato, it has even served as a straw man against which true philosophy had to be erected. Rhetoric, for him, was merely verbal and manipulative, and for that very reason, irrational. Aristotle thought the opposite. For him, rhetoric has a rationality of its own, based on a specific form of reasoning, enthymematic, when deductive, and exemplative, when inductive. A truncated syllogism or a truncated induction (which enables us to infer a particular statement from another particular case, without specifying the underlying general law) made rhetoric unique. But rhetoric is not made of reasoning only; it is also a matter of style, elegance or eloquence (two words which seem to have the same roots). Rhetoric should be distinguished from argumentation or, as Aristotle calls it, from dialectic. Dialectic is oppositional and formal, whereas rhetoric produces new answers to a given question which directly gives them their content,...


Fairy Tale Multifarious Dimension Numerous People Roman Emperor Roman People 
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  1. Meyer M (1994) Rhetoric, language and reason. Pennsylvania State Press, University Park, PAGoogle Scholar
  2. Meyer M (1995) Of problematology. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chaire de Rhétorique et d’ArgumentationUniversité libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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