Home > Uncategorized > What is Rhetoric?–Blog #1

What is Rhetoric?–Blog #1

Geo. Kennedy states, “Let rhetoric be [defined as] an ability, in each [particular] case, to see the available means of persuasion” (Vitanza,1).

I understood this completely when Nathaniel Rivers demonstrated this in class using the seemingly neutral nature of the set up of a classroom. He explained that the “standard” form of a classroom reflects a mere opinion on what is imperative. That one person in charge of setting up the classroom, based on his/her values and knowledge–along with the collective whole, agreed that students in a learning environment should focus their attention to the instructor by placing the desks facing towards the teacher’s desk and board.

Geo. Kennedy pointed out: “Rhetoric, in the most general sense, is the energy inherent in emotion and thought, transmitted through a system of signs, including language, to others to influence their decisions or action” (Vitanza,2).

Rhetoric is a product of shared inquiry based on values and judgments. But even shared inquiries have vast categories among people. With that said, even an absolute truth begs a two-sided argument. How can one know what is wrong without positively knowing what is “right”. If finding out the “right” by means of someone with creditability, one ponders who gave them such credit and questions their knowledge and values. Rhetoric, then, is communication of a special kind of truth. A truth consisting of individual values, knowledge, and judgments of a person to each his/her own. For those prone to manipulations, they defend their selves by claiming persuasion. For those with similar values, knowledge, and judgments, they can simply sign the “agreed” box and hop on the “Truth” train.

In conclusion, I can only assert that by attempting to define rhetoric is rhetorical. Rhetoric true intention is to spark minds and accumulate ideas. And that is what it has successfully done.

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