Rhetoric and argumentation: the unity of the field

Michel Meyer

in What is Rhetoric?

Published in print August 2017 | ISBN: 9780199691821
Published online August 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191841569 | DOI:
Rhetoric and argumentation: the unity of the field

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Rhetoric has always been torn between the rhetoric of figures and the rhetoric of conflicts or arguments, as if rhetoric were exclusively one or the other. This is a false dilemma. Both types of rhetoric hinge on the same structure. A common formula is provided in Chapter 3 which unifies rhetoric stricto sensu and rhetoric as argumentation as two distinct but related strategies adopted according to the level of problematicity of the questions at stake, thereby giving unity to the field called “Rhetoric.” Highly problematic questions require arguments to justify their answers; non-divisive ones can be treated rhetorically through their answers as if they were self-evident. Another classic problem is how to understand the difference between logic and rhetoric. The difference between the two is due to the presence of questions explicitly answered in the premises in logic and only suggested (or remaining indeterminate) in rhetoric.

Keywords: questioning; argumentation; figurative speech; inference; logic

Chapter.  7873 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Semantics

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