The Art of Rhetoric

767 WordsJun 22, 20184 Pages
The desire of rhetoric is always seated in attaining and preserving happiness. Corax of Syracuse (and/or Tisias) is regarded as the first theorist to devise an art of rhetoric as a means to help citizens regain their property seized under the rule of a despot. In this foremost case of Greco-Roman rhetoric, political happiness was sought by means of judicial speeches. The poly-discursive varieties of rhetorical happiness have theoretically expanded in depth and scope from the philosophical, metaphysical, ethical, religious, psychological, and aesthetic. If citizens in the 5th century BCE were happy, then there would have been no need for rhetoric; as a result, the foundational assumption of my special area exam is that happiness remains an…show more content…
The terministic screen of objectivity that purifies observable reality in the enlightened realm of science (central to most, if not all, of “happiness studies”) cannot function in harmony alongside insistent sophistic clamoring of subjectivity. By acknowledging their fragmented voices, my bibliography (en)counters these philosophic voices that are either uncritical or unconvinced of the ideological weight tied to language that holds the power to (re)define happiness alongside socially constructed state and self-interested agendas. The most radical voice in this spectrum is Nietzsche who inverts historiography in his claim that “Every advance in epistemology and moral knowledge has reinstated the Sophists (Will to Power). I’ve chosen Nietzsche as a “third sophistic” figure (alongside Gorgias) particularly because he counters the rhetoric of Christianity’s beating insistence that “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew). In the rhetorical tradition, the Christian worldview subsumes ideological assumptions about happiness that both Aquinas and Augustine articulate. Christianity’s definition of happiness is distinguished from Plato’s Socrates and Aristotle’s insistence on virtue. At the same time, Cicero attacks Platonism, Epicureanism, and Stoicism, which all have distinct definitions of happiness (accounted for by the inclusion of Plato’s The Republic, The Epicurus Reader, and Seneca). Clearly, there is much variance to be

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