Rhetoric Class: 1st Blog

I just finished reading the syllabus, as well as the reading PDF’s. The syllabus seems pretty standard, I do like the inclusion of a detailed time schedule. I really like the “textbook” for this class so far! The comic book style not only makes the reading go much quicker, it also provides a nice illustration for what we are attempting to do with this class. By combining visual stimuli, information, and delightfully cheesy humor, you have an excellent demonstration of pathos, logos, and eros. I’m looking forward to reading more of the comic, but I am also looking forward to more substantial reading. This first introductory chapter was a nice refresher of what I’ve learned in my Communications and Public Speaking class, but I am ready for the main course, so to speak.

Of the three basic components of rhetoric: I prefer logos, and in most cases I try to avoid speakers/writers that use a large amount of pathos. I am an avid reader of philosophy, so I do have a decent understanding of Plato and Aristotle. It’s always interesting to see caricatures of famously stuffy Greek philosophers, but I do think they misrepresent Plato in the first chapter of the comic.

Specifically, I am referring to their portrayal of Plato’s distrust of mimesis and writing. The former being what I perceive as a healthy amount of skepticism regarding unoriginal work; the latter being a legitimate criticism about a technology that has effectively destroyed our capacity for memorization. In the Phaedra, Plato remarks that writing allows for the author to craft an illusion about themselves. This claim of his is particularly relevant to our online class. i.e. Although we are each participating in a conversation with our blogs, we are unable to see each other’s body language, hear our tone, or perhaps most importantly feel the organic presence of a conversation in person. I believe Dr. Martin also realizes this aspect of Plato’s criticism, which is why he is having us use multiple types of interactive communication.

Now, lengthy defense of Plato aside, I do find myself agreeing with the viewpoints posited by Aristotle ninety-five percent of the time. Aristotle provides an effective alternative to Plato’s semi-fascist approach to literature and media, by assuming people view content with equal parts logos and pathos; and then use their phenomenological take on each to provide the basis for their eros at a later point in time. Additionally, I have to believe Aristotle’s approach is the correct one, because I adore reading and writing.  I guess this wraps up the first blog for the class. I still need the blog URL’s for a few of the people in our online community. Perhaps you placed them in the email’s you sent out and I missed them, but if you could send them my way again that would be great. I’ll try and get all future posts up well before 9pm. Look forward to hearing from everyone soon.

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One thought on “Rhetoric Class: 1st Blog

  1. Josh,
    I appreciate your thoughts here. Indeed, we are influenced by the positions of Aristotle and Plato, Gorgias and many of the other Greek philosophers when it comes to communication and rhetorical theory than most realize. I find myself more attracted to the position of Isocrates than I might wish, but I think there is much more to style and its affect on the rhetorical canons than I think. I also think the advancement of the electronic elements in communication and made style and design a much more significant issue than in the past.

    Dr. Martin

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