Information about RHetoricPWPTFinal

Published on December 14, 2009

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Slide 1: The Sophists and their place in development of ancient Greek thought has culminated a new and revived attention in scholarship. A main concern is the shadow cast on and version of life skewed by the their opponents, contemporaries, and successors, primarily Plato and Aristotle. This realization has lead to a more in-depth reflection on our creation and reiteration of history, on the value that rhetoric had in ancient Greece, and on unique ways in which the Sophists pervaded the empire, both adding to and becoming part of the oratory, democratic culture. These slides help highlight some of the ways in which the Sophists have been buried, silenced, tainted, and remain, to a good extent, uncovered. The information is offered in attempt to briefly highlight their vividness in Greek life, their unique methods, and therefore respected place as rhetorical figures. Unique Factors in Reexamining the Sophists: Their Burial, a Tainted Perspective, and Distinctiveness of their Ways Slide 2: Thomas Cole: Richard Enos John Ackerman: Susan Jarrat : Everett Lee Hunt John Scenters-Zapico Debra Hawhee Researcher aiming to Rewrite Sophist Inclinations Slide 3: It’s crucial to remember that what we know about the sophists is limited to the descriptions of them mostly from the writings and perceptions of their rivals, mainly Plato and Aristotle, that have been sort of immortalized in acceptance. Their cultural and social place in society, public perceptions, public acceptance, philosophical goals, pedagogical methods, personal ambitions, cultural success, ect. have been prescribed by much of the same circulating literature that has drawn from excerpts from Plato, Aristotle, limited surviving sophists’ accounts, and pieced together historical information. To continue to talk about the development of ancient Greek thought and its rhetoric inclinations without considering the residing dominance of the figures that suppressed sophistic relevance and the unavailability of insight that proves so, is to account for a skewed image of classical tendencies and possibly dangerously misunderstand an entire cultural era. Examining Neglect: Discovering the Uncovered & Detracting from Extinguishers Slide 4:  “The relatively recent revival of the first sophists as a legitimate subject for historical analysis, combined with the obscurity of their work, has opened for twentieth-century scholars from a number of disciplines a wide door for interpretation and reconstruction.” “Until the nineteenth century, the first sophists had been buried under two millenia of neglect, an outcome of the passionate condemnation they provoked from two of their contemporaries who have fared better in the histories, Plato and Aristotle” (67). “the domination of Platonic and Aristotelian judgments on the sophists has determined the ways the histories about them have been written” (68). Support: Examining Neglect: Discovering the Uncovered & Detracting from Extinguishers - Susan Jarret. “The First Sophists and the Uses of History”. Rhetoric Review Slide 5: -John Scenters-Zapico. “The Case for the Sophists”. Rhetoric Review Examining Neglect: Discovering the Uncovered & Detracting from Extinguishers -Patricia Bizzel & Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical Tradition “Unfortunately, few of their texts have survived, in part because of the scorn heaped on their work by those who came after, especially Plato. For many of these men, all we have are a few fragments.” “Classical scholarship has attempted to reconstruct their thinking from the fragments and from what was said about the Sophists by the Greek thinkers who came after them and built on their work , often while denouncing them.” Support: “Jarratt similarly argues for the need to examine the social role the sophists filled, asserting that ‘a defense of the sophists might begin simply on the grounds that the first sophists were the first to offer systematic instruction in the arts of speaking and writing in the West" and that we need to clean the Aristotelian screen that filters our view of them, ‘reseeing them, as far as is possible, within their own fifth-century intellectual, political, and artistic milieu" (xv, xvii) (Jarret in Scenters-Zapico 352). Slide 6: Our perceptions of the sophists and the legitimacy of their teaching grounds has been formulated by the judgments set by Plato and Aristotle in their dialogues and works like Gorgias and Rhetoric. Both these two epistemological philosophers and sophist contemporaries did much to outfit and image of the sophists and thus their use of rhetoric for means other than the search for truth and the establishment of knowledge. The sophists’ aim to teach rhetoric as means of persuasion in order to educate capable youth to be productive arguers of the counsel and state has been attacked numerously by their contemporaries, seen as manipulative, trickery, inappropriate, and dishonorable. Examining Neglect: Discovering the Uncovered & Detracting from Extinguishers Slide 7: “In the several Platonic dialogues in which sophists play important roles - among them Gorgias, Protagoras, Phaedrus - Plato casts them as self-important, materialistic, even violent in contrast to a self-effacing, virtuous Socrates. Aristotle seconded this moral censure when he opened the Rhetoric as a challenge to the sophists, i.e., "framers of current treatises on rhetoric" (1354al3), who according to Aristotle are concerned only with manipulating the emotions of a judge - "warp[ing] a carpenter's rule before using it" (1354al6, 24-26). Indeed, he defines the word sophist explicitly in terms of "a certain kind of moral purpose" (1355b16-17) - as signifying those orators who rely completely on tricky emotional appeals rather than on a methodical investigation of the types of argument applicable to a case (1355bll-12).” Examining Neglect: Discovering the Uncovered & Detracting from Extinguishers Support: - Susan Jarret. “The First Sophists and the Uses of History”. Rhetoric Review “Plato inadvertently misrepresented the sophists and mis- understood the cultural developments that motivated his own admirable philoso- phy, the doctrine of truth, by a truthful rendition of the sophists' usefulness in Democratic, oral Greece. As a consequence of this, we have suffered a case of blurry historical hindsight (359).” -John Scenters-Zapico. “The Case for the Sophists”. Rhetoric Review Slide 8: Protagorus of Abdera in Thrace Gorgias was from Leotini in Sicily Euclides of Megara Hippias Of Elis Prodicus of Ceos Philostratus of Athens Antiphon of Athens Thrasymachus of Chelcedon on the Bosporus - The most notable of the Sophists are Protagoras of Abdera and Gorgias of Leontini. The Sophists came from all over the Greek empire, many from Iona and Asia Minor or Mediterranean Islands, yet converged at Athens where the state of democracy and political engagement was strongest and the need for rhetorical mastery was the greatest. Famous Sophists: Origins and Convergence Maps of Ancient Greece : Maps of Ancient Greece Please click on the following links to view the geographic regions of ancient Greece and the relationship of the islands, Asia Minor, and city states to Athens. (Last link right click to zoom in & maneuver across map) http://iam.classics.unc.edu/map/map_idx.html http://iam.classics.unc.edu/map/download/area_a7_regions.pdf http://ancient-greece.org/images/maps/ancient-greece101.swf Slide 10: The Sophists converged at the polis, mainly Athens, because there were malleable, encouraged young men that were raised to take part in Greek civic duty ready to learn the tools to be active in public democracy. What’s particularly interesting about how the Sophists taught and spread the value of rhetoric was their incorporation of schooling with Greek cultural athletic training. While many Sophists roams the agora, many were actively involved in palaestras, gymnasiums. Palaestras were schools that taught wrestling to boys and young men and were often places where they were simultaneously taught philosophy and rhetoric. The Sophists set up shop or frequented palastras and taught the art and use of rhetoric while the young men also received athletic training. This combination of training created a sort of hybrid, dual consideration, and appreciation for rhetoric and the body, fusing the Greek respect for the body and mind. Isocrates was well known and famous for setting up school in Athenian palaestras. How Sophists Pervaded Greece and the Polis Slide 11: “From this spatial intermingling of practices there emerged a curious syncretism between athletics and rhetoric, a particular crossover in pedagogical practices and learning styles, a cross- over that contributed to the development of rhetoric as a bodily art: an art learned, practiced, and performed by and with the body as well as the mind. What follows will continue to treat the two arts syncretically-by thinking them together-and in this manner will delineate features of the sophists' pedagogy” (144). “While Isocrates's linkage may have been strategic, he himself contends that the connection is historical: ‘Greek ancestors," likely the older sophists, developed these "parallel and complementary [antistrophous kaisuzugas]" arts of the body and mind, ‘not separating sharply the two kinds of education, but using similar methods of instruction, exercise, and other forms of discipline.“ Athletic and rhetorical training were thus bound together, as Isocrates points out, in at least two ways: (1) together, training in athletics and oratory provide a program for shaping an entire self, and (2) the two arts draw from similar pedagogi- cal strategies wherein the respective instructors impart to students bodily and dis- cursive forms of expression: then, according to Isocrates, they "set them at exercises, habituate them to work, and require them to combine in practice the particular things which they have learned (144). How Sophists Pervaded the Polis: Tying Rhetoric to Athleticism -Deborah Hawhee. “Bodily Pedagogies: Rhetoric, Athletics, and the Sophists' Three Rs” College English Slide 12: During the 4th century Greece slowly transitioned into being literate. Yet the transition from an oral to a written and literate culture was a long one. Even with the introduction of a standard Greek alphabet and a new literacy rate, the Greeks were very skeptical of the written word (much the opposite of our notion today), and remained very loyal to their oral tendencies. This due to not only an unfamiliarity with the written but also a mistrust of it. The Sophists knew and held firm to the needs and concerns of the people who still primarily relied on their oral inclinations, especially with argument. Because the Sophists understood the hesitancy of written and the faith in oration, they not only were able to continue to effectively connect with people but continue to profit from them, even with the infusion of literacy. How Sophists Pervaded Greece and the Polis Slide 13: “As the sophists were products of an oral tradition and society, they merely latched onto and used what was valid in Athens. "Oral culture," Saussure tells us, "is dependent upon conventions because the same storehouse exists in the brains of the language community" (Schafer 5).” How Sophists Pervaded Greece and the Polis “These examples suggest that the preference for orality was based on a distrust of the written word that in turn was based on an unfamiliarity with it. As such, it was much more than an individual choice of liking or trusting literacy: it focused on widespread cultural beliefs (359).” -John Scenters-Zapico. “The Case for the Sophists”. Rhetoric Review Slide 14: Their Rhetorical Stance of Value: Setting Themselves Apart. “The important distinction between Plato and the sophists here is Plato's hierarchical knowledge culminating in one, and the sophists' relativistic, democratic philosophy of the many (356).” “Plato's dialectical form of argumentation was dependent upon written texts that allow us to examine and reexamine arguments. It is not dependent upon the antiquated, and often-criticized types of aide-memoire, repetition, antithesis, alliteration, etc., of oral culture.” -John Scenters-Zapico. “The Case for the Sophists”. Rhetoric Review Slide 15: The Sophists were especially/acceptionally important to and successful during their reign (which might be even longer or prosperous than we still know) because they were figures that both fed on and fed the need of the people to want to be able to comment, argue, and persuade in the course of public affairs. They situated themselves where the people were – the agora, the gymnasium, and taught a use of language that was both entertaining and marketable for the polis’s citizens. They became socio-cultural symbols of progression, wandering tools of rhetoric. To revaluate them is to redefine what we know and what we can offer. They can be valued as establishers of rhetoric both by contrast in their views from their opponents but also in their separate success at fulfilling a culture’s needs with the inception of democracy. Concluding Thoughts on the Continuation of Sophist Relevance Slide 16: “The active social relationships of the Athenians, Schiappa contends, demands rhetorical skills: "there is an important sense in which all significant public discourse of the fifth century was both influenced by-and in turn sought to influence-the social-political life of the polis” (356). How Sophists Pervaded Greece and the Polis -John Scenters-Zapico. “The Case for the Sophists”. Rhetoric Review “These early literates fostered the spread of literacy and of a standard written form, or grapholect, of the Greek language.” -Patricia Bizzel & Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical Tradition Slide 17: “Havelock believed that the sophists were anthropologists of sorts by the way they specifically catered to the "process of verbal communication between men and groups of men which made the democracy workable; and that fierce play of ideas and emotions of which words were media" (156). This is the same intellectual phenomenon Jaeger believed that the sophists worked at fulfilling, and he felt this would further explain their belief in teaching arete, or political excellence (292)” (354).” Implications of How the Sophists Worked -John Scenters-Zapico. “The Case for the Sophists”. Rhetoric Review “[The Sophists] have been judged to play a significant role in the intellectual revolution in fifth-century B.C. Greece. […] despite the very fragmentary nature of their surviving work, they have come to be seen, within the last two hundred years, as crucial to the intellectual revolu- tion in fifth-century B.C. Greece”(67).” - Susan Jarret. “The First Sophists and the Uses of History”. Rhetoric Review Slide 18: The insurgency and revival of Sophist reevaluation, cultural relevancy, and historical context calls our attention to how we have written, sustained, and recirculated histories. If most of what we know about the first Sophistic period, rhetorical employment, and rhetorical significance has been calculated and influenced by the lenses of Plato, Aristotle, and their successors, then it goes without saying that our histories are tainted, our understandings are misunderstandings, and our knowledge on the period and its language use constrained by our un-exposure. If scholarship has already been stimulated to questioning the bias and restoring a rightfulness of rhetorical necessity, then it’s only fitting ongoing research realize how to highlight the shortcomings of the priori, underline the lack of insight available, and carefully rewrite histories to portray a less oppressed and more balanced vision of ancient Greek thought. (though, notably, easier said than done) With rhetoric (and its histories) becoming a more central and postmodern concern for teaching, a reasonably, more enhanced balance of history is necessary. Concluding Thoughts on the Continuation of Sophist Relevance Slide 19: “The process of re-writing the sophists begun in the nineteenth century continues in the twentieth. The question now is to what extent the history of the sophists for the contemporary field of rhetoric and composition will be written through the glass of Platonic and Aristotelian modes of thought (70).” “Because Aristotle's remains the earliest extant thorough formulation of a rhetorical art, his influence pervades rhetorical studies in the current revival and threatens a continuing historical exclusion of the sophists (70)” “Though a signal feature of studies in the new field of rhetoric and composition is diversity, there is a need still to encourage self-consciousness about how we are using our history, or, to put it in more metahistorical terms, to investigate what sorts of histories we are creating for ourselves at this stage of rediscovery (70).” Concluding thoughts on Continuation of Sophisitic Relevance - Susan Jarret. “The First Sophists and the Uses of History”. Rhetoric Review

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