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Ancient Rhetorics: Their Differences and the Differences They Make

By Heather-Maxon Sep 21, 2013 1011 Words
Response 1

In the chapter, Ancient Rhetorics: Their Differences and the Differences They Make, we discover that the job of ancient rhetoricians was to make decisions, resolve disputes, and deliberate publicly on moral and political questions brought forth within their communities (1). In the chapter, Kairos and the Rhetorical Situation: Seizing the Moment, we expand our knowledge on the ways in which we invent rhetorical arguments through the use of Kairos. Kairos is described as one tool of invention that a rhetorician may decide to use to better investigate an issue by asking themselves a set of specific questions to systematically solidify their rhetorical argument making process. (43). Ancient rhetoric holds a deep resonance in human society as we understand it. Playing a complementary part in the aspects of practicing rhetoric, the use of kairos helps us seize the moment in our use of rhetoric. The momentary window within Kairos complements the opportunity ancient rhetoricians began because as we examine and explore the kairotic moment, we can better actively practice rhetoric and thus be ready to discuss an issue that follows a similar procedure to that used by ancient philosophers. Beginning in areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as: Athens, Greece and Rome, Italy; they swiftly explored moments of thought and began the wide expansion of philosophy (48,1). It’s important to know many subjects to help build a strong background to effectively communicate an idea at any time. Sophists, in ancient rhetoric, were the earliest to openly practice a belief system. These non-Athenians built their argument on a specific process. Coming from neighboring city-states, these people began the active process of asking each other questions in a highly intellectually based standard, by holding distinct debates in front of an audience as they would argue their case, and bring issues to life. The important skills displayed by these ancient people built the very first foundations with which we began expanding our concepts of understanding rhetoric. Information can be passed down in a variety of proofs to expand on and back one side of an argument. Extrinsic proofs are facts found explicitly within science and intrinsic proofs are the ways that chosen words of an argument are displayed for the appeal of an audience. Through this ability to use certain rhetoric to display an argument the importance of certain tools to help orators is displayed. In these ancient times, facts were not considered as concrete of an argument as the demonstrative ability to display views orally to sway an audience. The foreign Sophists seemed like stars. In a sense they were celebrities because they were the best practiced at stimulating their minds and the most influential and monetarily successful during their time. From them, a high class of Athenian men began their studies of philosophy. At the very early stage of the Sophist’s use of the kairotic moment of invention we are able to see how rhetoric has developed and expanded. Through ancient principals of intrinsic proofs we are able to create an open art of rhetoric through inventive discovery that will add vivid layers to arguments (11). The systematic evaluation of a rhetorical situation allows us to view our most advantageous kairotic opportunity in time, place, audience, and measure and use the heuristics to take action so that we may complementally build on the process of rhetoric that the ancients did so well; persuasively argue through taking in a deep level of knowledge allows us to take power (39 and 45). Though they weren’t the most popular for their melodramatic explanation, they sparked men to question these rules. Socrates famously practiced and taught his own views among the Athenians. By marking the very definition of philosophy he sparked students such as Plato to observe, record, debate and teach and Aristotle to further define the elements of rhetoric. With an opposing view to the Sophists perception, the static and eternal arguments for truth sprung forth. Based on people’s already ingrained ideologies, the art of invention through appealing to preexisting morals and thoughts of those around, we may influence the opinion of others. This dominance of the mind is an important way that we may connect opportunity and art in language. As is explained by Crowley and Hawee, many ancients believed that “Language is a form of action rather than a mere reflection of reality; Language makes decisions, forms identities, and moves people and things around” (6). Through the malleability of language and thought, and the changeability of rhetoric itself, we may choose to attune to kairos to be able to understand and build a dominating argument. Since language allows for persuasion, visual and social interaction using rhetorical techniques such as kairos, we are able to directly change our circumstances and influence the living world. By the nature of flexibility of persuasion and the use of kairos to help us understand how to build an inductive argument we can easily see how the ancient Sophists deemed their point of philosophy as everlastingly interchanging and intriguing. With Sophists holding the perceptive thought that everything was in constant flux, their fundamental belief held was that truth is a changing entity. That is why fundamentally, through their tactical belief of a moment-by-moment use of argument, they began the timeless concept of understanding rhetoric as many of us do. Expanded through its diversity and broad set of abilities, these ancient concepts are still being relied upon. As Democracy is based on this ability to perform through intrinsic communication processes, the ability to seize the right kairotic “window of opportunity” is an active realm in today’s thought and decision-making process. By focusing on the morals of others, we can create theories that can respectfully influence our audience to act in a way that we as practicing rhetoricians, desire (60). Through the development of re-playing and re-displaying ideas, human abilities in argument became strengthened and our memory capabilities enhanced. Through the interactions of storytelling we interlaced the skills of the ancients into our abilities of communication as a whole.

Works Cited

Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students.

Boston: Pearson, 2012. Print.

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