Camille Bureau – 1472002
Media & Communication
Aristotle and Ancient Greece
- Greek philosopher and scientist
- Plato's student
- The Art of Rhetoric (4th
century BC): Greeke
treatise on the art of persuasion
Aristotle and Plato : deplored the demagoguery
of speakers using their skills to move an audience
while being indifferent to the truth.
Aristotle : saw rhetoric as a neutral means to do
the greatest good or the greatest harm.
> Search for truth
> Answers to general and
> Deals with certainty
> Tries to demonstrate truth
that has already been found
> Answers to specific and
> Deals with probability
(discovering ways to make the
truth seem more probable to
an audience that isn’t
Rhetoric : making persuasion probable
Discovery of the available means of persuasion – except force of law,
torture and war.
Aristotle made a threefold classification of speech situations according to
the audience. It showed that he had the affairs of state in mind :
- Courtroom speaking for judges trying to render a just decision
about actions alleged to have taken place in the past.
- Ceremonial speaking: heaps praise or blame on another for the
benefits of present-day audiences.
- Political speaking: to influence legislators or voters who decide
future policy. Presidential debates for example.
The principles found by Aristotle can still be used today in many situations.
The available means of persuasion can be artistic or inartistic :
- Inartistic: external proofs (testimonies, witnesses, documents)
- Artistic: internal proof, those that the speaker creates.
→ Logical: comes from the line of argument in the speech
→ Ethical : way the speaker’s character is revealed through the
→ Emotional : feeling the speech draws out of the audience
= Logos, Ethos & Pathos
Facts, Reason, Rationality
Logical proof which comes from the line of argument in a speech.
You cite facts to demonstrae your argument.
→ Give examples and enthymeme (the audience helps construct
“Use what language you will, you can never say anything more but
what you are” Ralph Waldo Emerson
3 qualities help building high source credibility according to Aristotle:
- Perceived Intelligence: competence. The speaker has to establish strong
value identification to be perceived as intelligence (fight for Human Rights,
condemn crime, want peace in the word = almost universal thoughts).
- Virtuous Character: speaker’s image as a good and honest person,
trustworthiness. MLK in his speech was being charitable towards his
enemies and optimistic about the future, he didn’t call for violence.
- Goodwill: care, friendliness of the speaker towards the audience.
Credibility, Trust, Authority
Emotions, Beliefs, Common experiences
« People don’t care how much you know until they know how much
you care », John C. Maxwell, American writer.
→ Share a memorable story that makes people care / Use humor to make
them feel enthusiastic... Balance is very important here.
Aristotle catalogued a series of opposite feelings, explained the conditions
under which each mode is experiences and described how the speaker can
lead the audience to feel that way.
Love or friendship vs. Hatred. If the speaker and the audience have common goals,
experiences, attitudes and desires they will feel close. Looking at shared memories that
you and your audience can have in common to create strong and persuasive
arguments. In the absence of these positive forces, a common enemy can be used to
In advertising ?
Logos - Good functions (new technologies)
Ethos - Positive reviews (movies)
- Experts opinions (toothpaste, make up)
Pathos - Being attractive to the opposite sex
- Prevention of something negative in your
THE CANONS OF RHETORIC
Coming up with ideas
Hunt for arguments
Generates effective enthymemes
A 'lost art' ?
Comfortable in public
Use of analogy, metaphors,
choice or words
Makes your point stronger
Aids for comprehension
Organisation of your argument
Avoid complicated schemes of organisation.
« There are two parts to a speech, for it is necessary first
to state the subject and then to demonstrate it » Aristotle
Intro Capture attention, establish credibility→
Conclusion Remind what you said, leave a good feeling to the→
Audience : eager for naturalness
- authenticity : real, coming from
the heart, believed by your
- transparency : once the form has
been mastered we no longer see the
form, we only see the content
Speeches make History !
● Martin Luther King – I had a dream
● Général Charles de Gaulle – The Appeal
- Context : during WW2, German
- Impact : French Resistance
THE GOLDEN MEAN
=> Is it ethical to alter a message to make it more acceptable for
a particular audience ?
The virtue of moderation, the virtuous person develops habits that
Extreme Golden Mean Extreme
Lies Truthful statements Brutal honesty
Secrecy Transparency Soul-baring
Cowardice Courage Recklessness
Critics & Openning
Rhetoric of Aristote : criticized but used a lot
+ criteria to take into account : context / situation in
which the speech is given