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ENGL708B Seminar in Rhetoric: Argumentation, Emotion and Persuasion, Ekphrasis, and Style

An inquiry into the principles of Aristotelian dialectic and its relation to practical argumentation in antiquity and the medieval period.

Central attention will be given to Aristotle’s theory of predication and the questions it raises about the relationship between thought, name-categories, and reasoning, with implications for procedures and argument patterns in natural language. We will touch on major issues in dialectical theory in late antiquity and the early medieval period, such as theories of universals, signification, negation and opposition, totality, open and closed sets, identity and difference, definition, relativity, and topics (topoi). At the same time, our engagement with dialectic will be motivated by its points of contact with key theories of rhetorical argumentation, such as small argument units (enthymeme/ epicheireme/ elaboration/ example), topoi, theories of controversy (stasis), and figurative language. Finally, we will consider the creative reshaping as well as rejection of Aristotelian tools in the twentieth-century argumentation theory of Chaim Perelman and Stephen Toulmin.

0101 -  Vessela Valiavitcharska

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