Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rhetoric Class

I'm fascinated with what K is learning in her "Art of an Argument" Rhetoric class:
Three main types of rhetoric (also called occasions for rhetoric by the ancients):
- - Past, or finding blame. This is also called judicial or forensic rhetoric, and is exactly what happens in our modern day trials and courtrooms.
- - Present, or arguing the value or status of an issue. This is also called demonstrative rhetoric, since one is trying to demonstrate something about an issue.
- - Future, or deciding on a choice. This is also called deliberative rhetoric, since one is deliberating on the possibilities, and the most advantageous choice or decision to make.

Three types of rhetorical appeals, pathos (appealing to emotion), ethos (appealing to ethics) and logos (appealing to logic). When the kids got asked the kids if they had any examples of arguments they had during the past week and one of them mentioned successfully annoying a parent for a treat. (I'm pretty sure that was K!)  The class mused on that, wondering if that was pathos, and decided that it probably was, but maybe not always the best route.

They also discussed what playing with language has to do with debate? They will be discussing the canons of rhetoric (invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery), but this week discussed how making effective arguments sometimes involves writing, and writing elegant and rhetorically effective speeches or essays is important. By working with classic sentences and examining what happens when you move parts of a sentence around, or expand or condense a sentence, the kids understand why the original sentence is so effective, and how we can use those same tools in our own writing.

They also explored a controversial idea and came  up with arguments supporting it, analyzing the type of rhetoric used, the definition, the facts, the quality, and strategy/procedure, all components of Stasis Theory, is finding the exact point where you and your opponent disagree.
They introduced the canon of Invention. Invention is using classical topics (straight from Aristotle) to invent and discover points and ideas that they can use to formulate an argument. 

I think this is so cool!  Things I never learned before, but am glad to learn, albeit second hand, now!

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