ERIC Number: ED157120
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Rhetoric and "Phronesis": The Aristotelian Ideal.
Self, Lois S.
A recurring puzzle in Aristotle's "Rhetoric" is the book's ethical stance; Aristotle gives practical advice on the use of persuasive discourse and intends it to be used in association with virtue, although the two seem to be separable. However, persuasion and virtue in Aristotle's theory of rhetoric have connections deriving from the nature of the art of rhetoric itself. The ideal practitioner of rhetoric employs the skills and qualities of "phronesis," or practical wisdom, as outlined in the "Nichomachean Ethics." Three arguments support this contention. (1) The definitions and concerns of the concepts of rhetoric and phronesis are strikingly similar. (2) Excellent performance of rhetoric requires the characteristics of practical wisdom. (3) The relationships desired between the person of practical wisdom and the public closely parallel the relationships between the rhetorician and the audience. The interpretation of the ethical stance of the "Rhetoric" must rely on important theoretical and practical relationships between rhetoric and phronesis. The person of practical wisdom has the capacity and the incentive to be an ideal rhetorician. Only when practical wisdom is applied to rhetoric is there the ideal situation in which the name "rhetorician" denotes excellence both of artistry and of purpose. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aristotle; Phronesis
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Speech Association (Chicago, Illinois, April 13-15, 1978)