ERIC Number: ED333423
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Reference Count: 0
From Poetry to Prose: Sophistic Rhetoric and the Epistemic Music of Language.
Katz, Steven B.
Much revisionist scholarship has focused on sophistic epistemology and its relationship to the current revival of epistemic rhetoric in the academy. However, few scholars have recognized the sensuous substance of words as sounds, and the role it played in sophistic philosophy and rhetoric. Before the invention of the Greek alphabet, poetry was central to Greek education and culture. Rhythm and meter served to fix knowledge in the memory through its pleasurable affiliation with music and the somatic response of motor reflexes. The orality of speech, not the visuality of text was the ontological basis of the sophistic philosophy of knowledge. Gorgias, like many sophists, rejected the Platonic realm of ideal Forms, in favor of a view of knowledge based upon speech. For Gorgias, there was no necessary correspondence between language and reality, so valid contradictory statements about phenomena were possible. It was the unity of thought and language, though uncertain, that made knowledge possible. Cicero, like the sophists, saw language and thought as inextricably bound. He further conceived of oratory style and delivery in terms of music. The ancient Greeks recognized hearing as the most emotional of the senses. Today, some scholars see a connection between emotion, thought, and language, and it is held that this connection has implications for the teaching of writing. (Twenty-two references are attached.) (SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Classical Rhetoric; Revisionism; Rhetoric as Epistemic; Sophists
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (40th, Seattle, WA, March 16-18, 1989).