By John David Lewis
Aristotle's Rhetoric is a seminal treatise in the history of logic. Prior to Aristotle persuasive communication—rhetoric—was generally understood as appeals to emotion, in which seeming to be right and winning the argument were more important than the truth. In sharp contrast, Aristotle grounded rhetoric on logical reasoning, developed the principles needed to apply logic to rhetoric and exposed the faulty arguments of emotionalist speakers. In this course Dr. Lewis sets the context for Aristotle's work by reviewing the history of rhetoric in Greece—including its use in law courts and political assemblies—and then turns to a reading of the Rhetoric.
Aristotle's understanding of rhetoric as "the faculty of observing the available means of persuasion" is vital for anyone who wishes to protect himself against those who appeal to emotion rather than to reason.
This course was recorded at the 2003 Objectivist Summer Conference in Industry Hills, CA.
(MP3 download; 5 hours, 1 min., with Q & A, 216.87 MB)