Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Digital Research #1: Reiterating Aristotle in Hobbes

Like Aristotle, Hobbes focuses on the rhetoric of the courtroom: his opening sentence suggests a legal stance. Hobbes writes, “we see that all men are naturally able in some fore to accuse and excuse: some by chance; but some by method” (4, e-text). Here he implies that apprehension of the method, i.e., rhetoric, avoids the dependence on chance. Rhetoric is a useful tool that can be used to accuse and defend in a courtroom. Hobbes, an English philosopher, writes from a position of privilege. He is middle class, his father was a clergyman, and his foundational text, Leviathan, establishes his politics as a monarchist who argued for the absolute sovereignty of the king in a time of civil war in England.

Hobbes’ definition of rhetoric, “that faculty, by which we understand what will serve our turn, concerning any Subject to win belief in the hearer,” again harkens to Aristotle’s teachings on rhetoric as the art of persuasion. Similarly, he writes that rhetoric enables a person to speak on any subject. Even the structure of the text, which begins with a definition of rhetoric and continues by defining different types of orations, follows Aristotle. Moreover, Hobbes relies on enthymemes, legal oratory, and defines the difference between writing and speaking in his text. Hobbes is credited as the first English translator of Aristotle. Finally, Like Wilson, he is writing for lawyers and he’s English.

Historiography: there several sections missing in the electronic texts (i.e., end of chapter 21, and chapters 22 and 23 are not present); the electronic text includes a number of texts that are separate from The Art of Rhetoric; the format can influence the reading of the text for readers who do not like to read on screen, or who prefer a book or paper text;

What is rhetoric, based on this text alone? Hobbes’ text suggests that rhetoric is a professional tool for lawyers and politicians.

The Art of Rhetoric (1681)
Table of Contents

Preface: to the reader

Book I
Chapter I: The Whole Arte of Rhetorick
Chapter II: The Definition of Rhetorick
Chapter III: Of the Several kinds of Orations: and of the Principles of Rhetorick
Chapter IV: Of the Subject of Deliberatives; and the abilities that are required of him that will deliberate the business of State
Chapter V: Of the ends which the Orator in Deliberatives, propoundeth, whereby to exhort, or dehort
Chapter VI: Of the Colours or common opinions concerning Good and Evil
Chapter VIII: Of the Several Kinds of Governments
Chapter IX: Of the Colours of Honourable and Dishonourable
Chapter X: Of Accusation and Defence, with the Definition of Injury
Chapter XI: Of the Colours, or Common Opinions concerning Pleasure
Chapter XIV: Of those things which are necessary to be known for the definition of Just and Unjust
Chapter XV: Of the Colours or Common Opinions concerning Injuries, comparatively
Chapter XVI: Of Proofs Inartificial

Book II
Chapter 20 – Common Places 78 – 80
Chapter 21 - Example, Similitude, and Fables – 81 - ? (missing section of scan)
Chapter 22 – 23 missing
Chapter 24 – Offensive Enthymemes – 87 – 91
Chapter 25 – Enthymemes and Possibility - 92 – 93
Chapter 26 – Places of Seeming Enthymemes – 94 – 96
Chapter 27 – Answering the Arguments of the Adversary – 96 – 98
Chapter 28 – Amplification and Extenuation – 98 – 99

Book III
Chapter 1 – Elocution and Pronunciation – 101 – 103
Chapter 2 – Words and Epithets – 103 – 105
Chapter 3 –Flat Oration – 105 – 106
Chapter 4 – Similitude – 106
Chapter 5 – Purity of Language – 106 – 108
Chapter 6 – Amplitude and Tenuity – 108
Chapter 7 – Convenience and Decency of Elocution – 108 – 110
Chapter 8 – Two Forts of Styles? – 110 – 112
Chapter 9 – Delightful Oration – 113 – 115
Chapter 10 – Things Aforesaid - 115 – 117
Chapter 11 – Style in Writing, Style in Pleading – 117 – 119
Chapter 12 – Parts and Order of an Oration – 119 – 120
Chapter 13 – The Proem – 120 – 123
Chapter 14 –Places of Crimination and Purgation – 123 – 125
Chapter 15 – Narration – 125 – 128
Chapter 16 –Proof, Confirmation, and Refutation – 128 – 132
Chapter 17 – Interrogations, Answers, and Jests – 132 -134

--Josh and Martha

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