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 Good versus bad Rhetoric

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Fixed Cross

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PostSubject: Good versus bad Rhetoric   Sat May 06, 2017 10:34 am

A nice article with a sound thesis.


Quote :
Athens’ downfall provides us with a cautionary tale in our own era. While it would be wrong to reject a persuasive speech simply because the speaker fails to belong to our preferred political party, it would be equally wrong to think that we should accept every speech that strikes us as persuasive. Adolf Hitler’s Nuremberg Rallies of the 1920s and ’30s were highly effective propaganda tools in consolidating power for the Nazi Party and influencing the views of the German people, but the wider effects of his ability to fabricate a redeemed Germany were devastating for the country. The principle here is simple: good rhetoric is not reducible to persuasive rhetoric. Persuasion might often be the goal of the rhetorician, but if rhetoric is to serve some civic good, it must serve the people on whom it operates. Plato was the first to observe that persuasion cannot in fact be the proper end of rhetoric, since it is an open question how it serves the interests of an audience to have their views influenced by a persuasive speech.


" The strong do what they can do and the weak accept what they have to accept. "
- Thucydides
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PostSubject: Re: Good versus bad Rhetoric   Sat May 06, 2017 11:57 am

Very true, I would say. It is good to be persuasive, persuasiveness as such is a virtue, but that does not mean that that which is persuaded for is always good, nor that it is always good to be persuaded.

Likewise we can say that unpersuasiveness is not necessarily a vice, because it is not always bad to be unpersuasive. For example, if someone has very bad ideas then it is in their and everyone else's best interest that this person not be very persuasive.

Persuasiveness is just the way in which arguments are formulated to produce agreement and/or understanding in others. Rhetoric as an early form of marketing.


"...out of my Will to Health and to Life I made my philosophy...." --Nietzsche

"...awareness is nothing besides self-valuing in a changing environment." --Fixed Cross


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