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Opinions In Context: Reconsidering Endoxa In Aristotle's On Rhetoric

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Opinions In Context: Reconsidering Endoxa In Aristotle's On Rhetoric

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Title: Opinions In Context: Reconsidering Endoxa In Aristotle's On Rhetoric
Author: Simpler, Kyle
Abstract: In <italic>On Rhetoric</italic>, Aristotle describes rhetoric as an ability of seeing the available means of persuasion. Rather than suggesting that rhetoric is persuasive discourse, Aristotle presents it as a skill one utilizes to assess the situation at hand in order to discover what might prove persuasive. Much of this potentially persuasive material comes from opinions; however, Aristotle's presentation of opinion in <italic>On Rhetoric</italic> shows a clear departure from those offered by his predecessors such as Plato and Gorgias. Rather than considering general opinion (<italic>doxa</italic>), as did the earlier Greeks thinkers, Aristotle concentrates primarily on reputable opinions (<italic>endoxa</italic>) pertaining to the particular circumstances. This thesis explores the highly contextual and systematic approach to the rhetorical process described in <italic>On Rhetoric</italic>. I suggest that, unlike his predecessors, Aristotle sees opinions not as the main persuasive force, but as an essential component in a method of inquiry, functioning within a network of proven elements and plausible opinions, each pertaining to a specific occasion of speech. Aristotle describes a system of discovering the efficacy of endoxa within a given context, thereby improving the reliability of arguing from opinion.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10106/1857
Date: 2009-09-16
External Link: http://www.uta.edu/ra/real/editprofile.php?onlyview=1&pid=1461

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