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Aristotle table

Page history last edited by sue 15 years, 12 months ago

This table was submitted by Todd Rasberry in Week One





The study of speaking and writing persuasively.  Contains the study of both what is communicated and how communication takes place. (“R” means the study of classical rhetoric; “r” means the study of rhetoric more broadly)



Distinct from rhetoric (yet sometimes considered a companion to rhetoric), dialectic is logical (syllogistic) argumentation concerned with reason to approach probable truths. Audience or context is not a consideration in dialectic argumentation.

Silva; B&H pg. 4


Logical appeals can be invented/composed by using rational arguments that fit within known topics (topi). The topics of invention have basic categories of relationships of ideas. Topi service as a heuristic for discovering things to say and how they can be said about a subject. Topi are the “places to find things”  to create an argument.

B&H pg. 4, pg 172; Silva

special topi

Rhetorical arguments fall into one of the three specific (or special) topi which would direct the rhetor to a heuristic for developing a special argument.  See Silva for a list of special topi. (The three special types of topi are Judicial, Deliberative, and Ceremonial.) 

B&H pg. 172

common topi

Rhetorical arguments might fall into one of these more general (or common) topi which would direct the rhetor to a heuristic for developing a common type of argument.   See Silva for a list of common topi.

B&H pg. 172


A syllogistic argument in which the conclusion is based on a “probable” premise; thus, leading to a probable conclusion. Sometimes referred to as “informal” or “truncated” syllogism, the enthymeme was not/is not always considered sound because a premise is implied rather than proven.

B&H pg. 4, pg 171; Silva


Specimen or sample. Example is related to the topic of invention. An “example” is used to strengthen a point by a true or contrived example.

B&H pg. 171; Silva


Metaphor is related to invention and is a comparison that is made by referring to something as another thing.  Metaphor is an implied comparison. (Life is like a box of chocolates.)



One of three forms of persuasive appeal. Ethos is concerned with the persuasive appeal of one’s character. One’s character can bestow upon one, in the minds/hearts of the audience, the right to make an argument and thus the ability to make an argument.

B&H pg. 4, pg 171; Silva


One of the three forms of persuasive appeal. Pathos is concerned with the persuasive appeal to emotion. Emotional appeals, according to classical rhetoricians, can come at the expense of logical (logos) appeals. Thus, pathetic appeals should be used prudently.

B&H pg. 4, pg 171; Silva

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