Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Rhetoric vs. Bad Rhetoric Reply

I wonder if perhaps we should understand more the difference between philosophy and rhetoric. As far as I understand now, rhetoric is what philosophers use to bring us closer to understanding Truth. Rhetoric is not the study of or love of knowledge, as is philosophy by its latin definition, (ie. Philo = Love for, love of; soph(y) = Wisdom, knowledge) but is the art of persuasion stemming from the greek -> latin rhetor (ie. someone who orates, or a teacher thereof). Thus the difference, metaphorically, being that rhetoric is the hammer which builds the ladder towards our actualization of Truth.

I would say we're simply teaching these people how to formulate persuasive arguments, and if that's the case then I think they should be required to take Logic from the philosophy department as well. The problem we may be running into the most is logical fallacy. Then again, logic is upon which our perceptions of this world are judged, and many rationalists would argue that logic is innate. If we take that approach to logic, then it would appear that our task is not to help them realize 1 + 1 = 2, but to issue a stance whereby they would attempt to persuade people that (1 + 1) + (1 + 1) = 4... or in George W. Bush's case (1 + 1) + (1 + 1) = $4.

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