Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fourth Lecture: Big Ideas

The Big Ideas from Wednesday's lecture were Aristotle's principles of formal discourse.

Aristotle is the Pythagorus of communication: he derived principles from analysis of experience that underly Western academia and have had the same efficacy for three millenia.

There are three aspects to discourse: Grammar, Rhetoric, & Dialectic: the Trivium.

  • Grammar: knowledge of the sounds, form and syntax of a language
  • Rhetoric: arranging words for maxiumum effect: persuasive or informative.
  • Dialectic: the logical arrangement of ascending arguement: the movement toward knowledge of the Good (the summum bonum.)

We concentrated on Rhetoric, its three aspects of appeal & how they are used by our short-story authors.

  • Ethos: the constuction of an apparent authority, a credibility, for the writer in order to appeal to readers' acceptance.
  • Pathos: the appeal to the passions, the emotions, of the reader.
  • Logos: the appeal to readers' acceptance by the appearance of rationality, of logic.

You'll have noticed, I'm sure, how these three types of appeal make the reader (or the hearer) the important component in understanding writing: here, fiction. This, of course, follows smoothly, cleverly, subtly, and with an extreme of intelligence from previous lectures regarding the intended and implied audience.....

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