Passions and Persuasion in Aristotles Rhetoric

Hardcover | May 9, 2015

byJamie Dow

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For Aristotle, arousing the passions of others can amount to giving them proper grounds for conviction. On that basis a skill in doing so can be something valuable, an appropriate constituent of the kind of expertise in rhetoric that deserves to be cultivated and given expression in awell-organised state. Such are Jamie Dow's principal claims in Passions and Persuasion in Aristotle's Rhetoric. He attributes to Aristotle a normative view of rhetoric and its role in the state, and ascribes to him a particular view of the kinds of cognitions involved in the passions. In the first sustained treatment of these issues, and the first major monograph on Aristotle's Rhetoric in twenty years, Dow argues that Aristotle held distinctive and philosophically interesting views of both rhetoric and the nature of the passions. In Aristotle's view, he argues, rhetoric isexercised solely in the provision of proper grounds for conviction (pisteis). This is rhetoric's valuable contribution to the proper functioning of the state. Dow explores, through careful examination of the text of the Rhetoric, what normative standards must be met for something to qualify inAristotle's view as 'proper grounds for conviction', and how he supposed these standards could be met by each of his trio of "technical proofs" (entechnoi pisteis) - those using reason, character and emotion. In the case of the passions, Dow suggests, meeting these standards is a matter of arousing passions that constitute the reasonable acceptance of premises in arguments supporting the speaker's conclusion. Dow then seeks to show that Aristotle's view of the passions is compatible with this role inrhetorical expertise. This involves taking a stand on a number of controversial issues in Aristotle studies. In Passions and Persuasion, Dow rejects the view that Aristotle's Rhetoric expresses inconsistent views on emotion-arousal. Aristotle's treatment of the passions in the Rhetoric is, heargues, best understood as expressing a substantive theory of the passions as pleasures and pains. This is supported by a new representationalist reading of Aristotle's account of pleasure (and pain) in Rhetoric 1. Dow also defends a distinctive understanding of how Aristotle understood the contribution of phantasia ("appearance") to the cognitive component of the passions. On this interpretation, Aristotelian passions must involve the subject's affirming things to be the way that they are represented. Thusunderstood, the passions of an emotionally-engaged audience can constitute a part of their reasonable acceptance of a speaker's argument.

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For Aristotle, arousing the passions of others can amount to giving them proper grounds for conviction. On that basis a skill in doing so can be something valuable, an appropriate constituent of the kind of expertise in rhetoric that deserves to be cultivated and given expression in awell-organised state. Such are Jamie Dow's principal...

Jamie Dow studied for his PhD at the University of St Andrews before coming to Leeds as a Lecturer in Ethics. His principal research interests are in ancient philosophy. His work tends to centre around philosophical issues related to human and animal psychology, especially the emotions, and to normative issues about persuasion. His ar...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:May 9, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198716265

ISBN - 13:9780198716266

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart 11. Rhetoric and the state--Aristotle and his predecessors2. Proof-reading Aristotle's Rhetoric3. Rhetoric and the State4. Aristotle against his rivals5. The interpretation of Aristotle's RhetoricPart 26. How can emotion-arousal provide proof?7. A Supposed Contradiction about Emotion-Arousal in Aristotle's RhetoricPart 38. The passions in Aristotle's Rhetoric9. Aristotle's Theory of the Passions--Passions as Pleasures and PainsFeeling Fantastic Again--Passions, Appearances, and Beliefs in AristotleConclusions