28 Lines (Strategies) of Argument Useful in Treating Diverse Subjects
Below is my effort to paraphrase Aristotle and to offer examples additional to his
1. From opposites: look to see if the opposite claim is true of the opposite subject, confirming it if it is true, refuting the argument if it is not.
Aristotle’s Example: Moderation is good because excess (immoderation) is bad.
My Example: Since being stupid is unfortunate, being intelligent is a blessing.
2. From different grammatical forms of the same word: look to see if the same claim is true of the related word; if so, claim is true, if not, then not.
Aristotle’s Example: to say that the just is not entirely good because then what is done justly would also be a good, something which is not entirely the case. Justice is not always a desirable good, as when the just punishment is a death sentence.
My examples: Justice is not always just.Nobles (the nobility) do not always behave nobly.
3. From correlatives [logically related things]: see if something that is true of one element of a pair is also true of the other element.
Aristotle’s Examples: If it is right to order (an action), it is right to obey it. If it is (not) shameful to sell something, it should (not) be shameful to buy it.
Aristotle’s Counter argument: just some action or result is just, doesn’t mean anyone can perform it.
My examples: If it is immoral to perform an abortion, it is immoral to seek it, and vice versa. If it is illegal to steal, it should be illegal to buy those stolen goods. Just because I deserved a good whuppin’, doesn’t give anyone the right to give that whuppin’.
Motto: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
4. From more and less; if something is not the fact where it should be more expected, it is not the fact where it should be less expected; if the lesser thing is true, the greater is also
Aristotle’s Examples: If not even the gods know everything, human beings can hardly be expected to do so; A person who would beat his father, he would also beat his neighbors.
My examples: (from the Bible) Who, when his child asked for an egg, would hand him a scorpion or a snake? If human beings give good things to their child, how miuch more does God the Father give to his children? If a man would rob a young healthy person, he wouldn’t hesitate to rob an old sickly person, this latter being an even easier target.
Furthermore: Neither more nor less: if something is the case for a lesser event, person or thing, it is no less the case for a greater event person or thing.
Aristotle’s example: If Hector did no wrong in killing Patroclus (best friend of Achilles), Alexander (brother of Hector) did no wrong in killing Achilles (who killed Hector). That is, it is no worse a thing to kill your brother’s killer than it is to kill your best friend’s killer, a brother being at least as great a loss as a best friend.
My example: If athletes are respectable, so are academics. Ifeven [insert category of bad people here] are kind of animals, then so too should you.
5. From past to current or future time: look to see if something that was true/likely/just in the past is even more true/likely/just in the present or future; this line of reasoning is sometimescalled a fortiori argument, from the lesser case”to the stronger”case.
Aristotle’s example: If you would have erected a statue in my honor even before I accomplished a great task, how much more should you be willing to do so now?
My example: if a politician deserved to be voted out of office even before this latest scandal, how much more so now?
6. Turning an accuser’s words against oneself back against the accuser
Aristotle’s example: If you [with your track record or reputation] wouldn’t do such a thing,what makes anyone think that I would?
My example: how can you fault me for not giving to charities when you yourself have hardly given anything? Your one to talk! When was the last time you picked up the phone to call me. How can you sit there and complain that I never call?
7. From definition: focusing on the meaning of a word to support a claim.
Aristotle’s example: What is the divine? What is noble?
Myexample: arguing that the so-called ‘morning after’ pill is not a contraceptive (but rather an abortifacent) because it does not (necessarily) prevent conception. Objecting to the use of the term “hysterical” because it means, literally, “of the womb,” so saying that someone is being hysterical is, knowingly or not, maligning their behavior in anti-female terms.
8. From varied meanings of a word
Aristotle’s example: from his work “On theTopics,” he references a discussion of the various meanings of the work oxus, meaning sharp; in music the opposite of flat, of a knife the opposite of dull.
My example: the concept ofenthymeme, “of the thymos,” reminds us that much of our reasoning comes ‘from the gut,’ not through formal analysis, but from what seems to us, at first impression, correct. We can seek to restrict or to broaden the reference to term.
9. From division: breaking a larger category into smaller parts [and narrowing to one of a few parts by eliminating certain possibilities]
Aristotle’s example: All people do wrong for one of three reasons: from this, or this, or this; now two of these are impossible [in this case], but even the accusers do not assert the third.
My example: Why did she ever marry him? She had to be either crazy or desperate. [You can extend that example in various ways Division does not necessarily involve a secondary process of elimination, though it often does.]
10. From induction: to generalize from particular cases.
Aristotle’s example: all mothers recognize their own child. Everyone honors the wise.
My example: All New Jersey politicians are corrupt. All librarians are social misfits.
11. From a previous judgment about the same or similar or opposite matter: see if all always make this judgment or if most do, or the wise, or the good. Also called the argument from authority.
Aristotle’s example: If the (wise) judges have decided, then it must be accepted.
My example: The great and powerful Oz has spoken. If the Bible says it, it must be so.
The people have spoken. Who am I to question my betters? Science has proven it. It is God’s will.
12. From the parts; look to see which individual elements of some larger thing are at issue.
Aristotle’s example: What kind of motion is the soul, this or that? Which gods that the city recognizes does he not believe in?
My examples: What particular statute did the accused violate? Exactly what kind of academic dishonesty is he being accused of?
13. From consequences: look to see whether to exhort or dissaude, accuse or defend, praise or blame on the basis of consequences, since similar effects spring from similar causes. Note: this is an argument of generalityAristotle’s Example: Because envy (by others) follows from being educated, it is good not be educated. Because wisdom comes from education, and wisdom is a good thing, it follows that it is good to be educated.
My Example: Every time he shows up, trouble follows. Therefore, I say let’s not invite him. It’s a bad idea to marry one’s high school sweetheart, since most such marriages end unhappily or end up being unhappy ones.
14. From alternatives: look to see [how to resolve] a dilemma, a choice between two alternatives, where each choice has negative consequences.
Aristotle’s Examples: If you rule justly, the people will hate you. If you rule unjustly, the gods will punish you. When you buy the salt, you also buy the marsh. Myexample: If you tell the truth, your boss will fire you. But if you lie, you will likely end up being prosecuted. [Better unemployment than prison.] You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
Motto: sometimes one has to take the good with the bad.
15. From inward vs. outward contradictions; look to see if one thing is said in one (public) place and a different thing is said in another (private) place. [Challenges an opponents motives and honesty.]
Aristotle’s Example: What people say praise in public is not necessarily what they say in private; the reasons people offer to others are not necessarily their private motives.
My Example: “That oughta hold the little bastards” said one children’s TV host in the 1950s, not realizaing he was still on air, in his unexpectedly last broadcast.
16. From consequencesby analogy: look to see how an opposing case challenges an act and itsconsequences.
Aristotle’s Example: If tall boys are now to be counted as men, then short men will soon be counted as boys.
17. From identical results: look to see (or argue) if the antecedents are the same where the results are the same.
Aristotle’s Example:It is equally impious to say that the gods were born as to say that they die, since either statement means that the gods, at one time, did not exist.
My Example: Erroneous calculations of some outcome are equally bad when they lead to bad results, regardless of their differences. Failing to vote is a lapse in one’s patriotic duty whatever the reason. Consequences matter, not motives or intentions. To pay taxes is to submit to tyranny.
18. From differences in position or action before and after
Aristotle’s Example: It would be terrible if we fought to come home, but when, having come home, we choose exile over fighting.
My Example: If I knew then what I knew now, I would not have chosen a course of action. If I knew that the Iraq war would be so mismanaged, I would not have voted to authorize the use of force.
19. From attributed motive or from a result to an attributed motive: assert that a particular outcome is, in fact, the intended purpose.
Aristotle’s Example: If something results in inury, argue that the purpose was to cause injury. God gives great forture to many not out of good will but so that misfortunes may be more obvious.
MyExample: God gave us memory so that we could have roses in December. My parents treated me harshly as a child so that I would learn to be self-sufficient. [That might be true, or they might simply have been jerks, yet I turned out okay.]
20. From perceived incentives and deterrents: reason about a motive on the basis of perceived benefits or disadvantages that would accrue.
Aristotle’s Example: If someone had motive and opportunity, then he did the action.
My Example: No one does something without a reason, and people generally act in their own best interest.
21. From improbability: something implausible, but thought to be a fact, is true.
Aristotle’s Example: Laws need a law to correct them; Fish need salt and olives oil to preserve them.
My Example: It’s so unlikely, it has to be true.
22. From contradictions in circumstances; look to see if there are discrepancies in dates, actions or words.
Aristotle’s Example: He says I am litigious, but he cannot show that I have ever brought a lawsuit.
My Example: I say there are many, many examples, but I fail to produce a single one of my own.
23. From false impression: state why something is erroneously perceived.
Aristotle’s Example: Despite an affectionate embrace, someone is not a woman’s lover, but her son.
MyExample: Corrupt people think that virtuous people have a base motive when they appear to do something altruistic, but here is a case where the person really is selfless.
24. From the necessity of a cause to effect relationship: for without cause there is nothing.
Aristotle’s Example: There was no reason to cover up a crime, because no crime was committed.
My Example: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
25. From alternatives::look to see if there is a better plan
Aristotle’s Example: none
My example: There’s got to be a better way; the current course is not acceptable.
26. From comparison of possible actions: look for a different course of action
Aristotle’s Example: When the people of Elia asked Xenophanes whether they should sacrifice and sing dirges to Leucothea, he said they should not sing dirges if they regarded her as a god, and if as a human being then not to sacrifice.
My example: If something isn’t working, then change it.
27. From mistakes that have been made in the past: accuse or defend on the basis of mistakes
Aristotle’s Example: Some accuse Medea of killing her own children, but if she didn’t kill Jason, why would she kill her own children.
My example: Someone would not be so careless as to leave the murder weapon in plain sight. She must be innocent.
28. From the meaning of a name
Aristotle’s Example: When your mother named you Sidero she clearly meant it.
My example: Boy [to Thomas], you really are a doubting Thomas.
- Persuasion (classical) vs identification (using pretext to gain individual advantage)
Part I: The Range of Rhetoric
- “Rhetorical” – written for a purpose with an audience in mind
- Analyzing poems by Milton and Arnold – trying to bring them together as instances of the same motivation
- Also insisting that the unique context of each makes the motive itself different
- To connect to Coleridge as well, need a motive that can serve as ground for “both choices” – can ambiguously contain both
- Poets identify themselves with their characters and ritualistically transform their texts
- IE: “desire to kill” someone is the desire to transform the principle they represent
- The “logical idea of a thing’s essence can be translated into a temporal or narrative equivalent by statement in terms of the thing’s source or beginnings”
- Puns (?) of logical and temporal priority
- Can also use “an ultimate of endings” – depict a thing’s end to identify its essence
- Must consider “proportions of a motivational recipe”
- Rhetoric is the region of insult, injury, bickering, squabbling, malice, lies
- Killing, enmity, strife, invective, polemic, eristic, logomachy – all aspects of rhetoric
- Also includes resources of appeal: sacrificial/evangelical love, sexual love, neutral communications
- Imagery leads to transformation, and transformation leads to ideas and imagery of identification
- IE: killing (imagery) something changes it (transformation), and the things nature before/after change (transformation) is an identifying of it
- Where interests are joined, A identifies with B – or A may identify himself with B, even if there interests aren’t joined
- They are simultaneously distinct and consubstantial
- Identification is indicative of division – if there were not division, we wouldn’t need identification – identification proclaims unity in the face of division
- Ethos: the properties (qualities) someone surrounds themselves with to establish identity
- Invitation to rhetoric: place where identification and division come together ambiguously
- The rhetorician and the moralist come together where the attempt is made to reveal identification in accordance with property
- Even if an activity is reduced to intrinsic, autonomous principles, it could still be influenced by external motivation and thus subject to identification
- Identification is for the autonomous activity’s place in the wider context
- “Belonging” to a group via identification through a specialized activity is rhetorical
- Science is not autonomously good – it is identified with motives and ethical attitudes
- To sympathize with people greatly different from us, we need “imagery of a richly humane spontaneous poetry”
- Ends justify means – politician can still be “rhetorically honest” if he lies, but means to do well – only thought he could get votes via the lie
- Poetic language is a symbolic action (for itself and in itself); rhetoric is inducement to action
- Rhetorician’s “tricks of the trade” are an art, not a science
- Nothing is more rhetorical than deliberation – controversy = rhetorician’s forever “proving opposites”
- Rhetoric is an art of persuasion, or means of persuasion available for any given situation
- Realistic: when one symbol-using entity uses symbols to induce action in another; idealistic: consubstantiality established between being of unequal status
Part II: Traditional Principles of Rhetoric
- Persuasion: choice, will (insofar as a person is free); rhetoric: formative effect on attitude
- Range: rhetoric as “art of cheating” to rhetoric as power
- The kind of opinion with which rhetoric deals is not contrasted with truth
- Opinion is the moral order of action, not “scenic” order of truth
- Topics must be timely
- Tradition evidences of rhetorical motive: persuasion, exploitation of opinion, a work’s nature as addressed, literature for use, verbal deception, the “agonistic” generally, words used “sweetly,” formal devices, the art of proving oppositions
- Most thoroughgoing rhetorical device is amplification
- Three purposes of audience: 1) hear advice for future, 2) pass judgment on past, 3) or general interest in subject at hand
- As such, Aristotle’s 3 kinds of rhetoric: deliberative, forensic, epideictic
- “Titles”: ideas and images – rhetoric uses titles to identify someone/thing with whatever will call forth the desired response – select titles with bias of intention and opinions of audience
- Image uses imagination to “contain a while bundle of principles”
- Ideology is a kind of rhetoric – have led to social/political choices
- Associating an idea with an image is mechanical, a conditioned reflex
- Nonverbal elements persuade via symbolic character – “paper need not know the meaning of fire in order to burn” – the “idea” of it is persuasive
- Thus, rhetorical motive lurks in every “meaning”
- Rhetorical persuasion and identification: relies on social implications of the enigmatic
- Acceptance of “enigma” as element in symbol’s persuasiveness leads us to note the place of “magic” or “mystery” as a passive reflection of class culture and an active way to maintain cultural cohesion
- “Infancy” – empirical objects treated as symbols of a generating principle
- An idea comprises personal, sexual, social, and universal promises
- With symbol-using animal: logic of symbols must be “prior” to the effects of any “productive forces” in the socioeconomic meaning of an expression
- Language can be used to deceive: rhetorical analysis seeks to expose mystifications
- Theology is implicit in persuasion: it is the ultimate reach of communication between different classes of being
Part III: Order
- Positive terms: name the things of experience – visible, tangible existence located in time and place
- Dialectical terms: competing voice talk/argue with each other
- Ultimate terms: competing voices placed in a hierarchy – arranged developmentally with relation to one another
- Guiding idea/unitary principle behind diversity of voices
- Bias is false promise, but still promise – if you eliminate all bias, you deprive society of its primary motive power
- “Principle of courtship” – the use of suasive devices to transcend social estrangement
- 3 motives: the order, the secret, the kill
- “Pure persuasion”: saying something for the intrinsic satisfaction of saying it – not for extraverbal advantage – in fact, may seem to go against aims
- IE: puzzle solver: either gives up or solves the puzzle – either way, is no better off than before – the value of the puzzle is intrinsic
- 1) Constructed on basis of numerous negatives to the degree to which they are followed
- 2) Hierarchic principle is inevitable, but no particular hierarchy is inevitable
- 3) Hierarchies serve as motives – IE to rise or maintain socioeconomic position
- Mystery – Three ways to create mystery via physical/experiential separation of individuals
- 1) Occupational psychosis: particular way of thinking adopted from long term pursuits
- 2) Terministic screen: specialized vocabulary that reflects selective view of reality
- 3) Trained incapacity: development of limited view of reality via training/experience
- Functions of mystery?
- 1) Maintenance and preservation of hierarchy – encourages obedience
- 2) Instrument of governance, cohesion, and preservation of the nature of a hierarchy
Things Which I Found Online but Are Important To Know
- Rhetoric of Motives: showing that rhetoric exists in literature not purposely intended to persuade
- Identifying real people with characters in literature story may be seen as an argument about how we can/should understand that person
- “Wherever there is persuasion, there is rhetoric, and wherever there is ‘meaning’ there is ‘persuasion’”
- “You persuade a man insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his”
- Aristotle: persuasion is ethos, pathos, logos
- Burke: new ways to see persuasion and identification (a broader process), not just gaining audience assent
- Primary aim of rhetoric is to win an argument (Aristotelian) – it’s to make a connection – Burke shifts imagery of the persuasive encounter from a duel to a courtship
- Goes both ways: audience to speaker, speaker to audience, but still audience-centered (New Rhetoric)
- Individuals who try to form themselves in accordance with the cooperative communicative norms of society are also concerned with identification – individual must act upon him/herself
- No use for rhetoric by yourself – need an audience, even if it’s only yourself
- Booth: rhetoric is finding good reasons to change minds and being open to them
- Booth also uses Burke’s Pentad – I think to argue against rhetoric of doubt
- Pentad: Act, Scene, Agent, Agency, Purpose
- Way of analyzing any rhetorical statement
- Ratios: relationships between elements of pentad – examining ratios aids the critic in discovering which term in the pentad receives the greatest attention by the rhetor
- Substances (common images, ideas attitudes) create acts – a process of acting-together
- Substance: stands under the word (medieval in origin) – distinguishes substance (what holds up a word) from accidents (what you sense) – substance cannot be sensed by definition
- Goal of rhetoric: consubstantiality – the substance that is you united with the audience
- Consubstantial – individual, but part of a group by similar experience
- Substance of acting together = consubstantial experience
- Science can be perverted by consubstantiality (Nazis)
- Most serious problem of humanity: alienation/separation – rhetoric find a common ground and brings people together
- Identification – imaginary act in which you assume someone else is standing in your shoes
- Identification: three ways it functions:
- 1) means to an end (politics), 2) antithesis (creating identification via opposing entities through basis of common enemy), 3) persuasion on unconscious level (convincing someone to agree with specific action so they do not appear negatively
- Identification is possible because we share consubstantiality – commonality of substance – physical body, aspirations, language)
- Recognizing and building on this becomes a rhetorical possibility because it heals the wound of separation
- Motive: motif, reason why, and something that moves along
- Magic and socialization: to live in a social condition, you need rhetoric (Lanham)
- Socialization means learning some kind of rhetoric to keep communication lines open
- Terministic screens: set of symbols that becomes a grid/screen of intelligibility through which the world makes sense to us – we see the world as our symbol systems allow us to
- Socrates: man as symbol using animal is unique
- Weaver: calls these “god terms” – words that conceal the meaning and values behind them – words you don’t want to argue with
- Culturally reflective: every culture has a terms that “screens out” differences you might attend to
- Words and ideas are not tangible – refer to collection of ideas we have about the specific word (Kant, Saussure [1906-1911], Derrida)