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Rhetoric in the Renaissance

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Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy
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Abstract

The rise of rhetoric during the Renaissance depends, first and foremost, on a social condition: the development of new city-dwelling and cultivated middleclass produced the requirement of devising an art of argumentation, appropriate to resolving the conflicts of the political, juridical, moral, and economic life, in a word, of the life of negotia (practical affairs). Consequently, Humanists consider that the art of rhetoric must enter in competition with the dialectic of medieval universities, since it must resolve the controversies of any disputed subject, which implies and plausible conclusions. The vicissitudes of rhetoric during the Renaissance can be described as the attempt to decompose and to recompose, in manifold manners, the functions of rhetoric and of the dialectic in unprecedented figures of argumentation (Vasoli 1964; Seigel 1968; Murphy 1983; Witt 2000; Green and Murphy 2006). On the one hand, rhetoric developed the function of eloquence, in order to persuade the public. The goal was to elaborate an effective discourse more than a plausible one. On the other hand, humanists attempt to recompose the functions of rhetoric and of the dialectic in a topical art of argumentation.

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Correspondence to Fosca Mariani Zini .

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Zini, F.M. (2020). Rhetoric in the Renaissance. In: Sgarbi, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_450-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_450-1

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