søndag, februar 10, 2013

Basic rhetoric - DDRT F-2013, summaries

Jørgensen, Charlotte og Onsberg, Merete (2010): ”Appelformer” in Praktisk argumentation, Nyt Teknisk Forlag. (pp. 69-73).
Logos: The rhetor appeals to an audience with rational arguments.
Pathos: The rhetor appeals to an audience with emotional arguments.
Ethos: The rhetor uses techniques to make the audience perceive him or her as credible.

One strategy does not exclude another: A good logos argument can strengthen the ethos, and also appear to be extremely emotional and carry good pathos. Pathos can underline logos, as emotions can carry knowledge facts do not convey, and ethos can strengthen both pathos and logos and be strengthened by them.  

Bitzer, Loyd F. (1997): ”Den retoriske situation” in Rhetorica Scandinavica, nr. 3, Rhetor Forlag. (pp. 5-17)
 Bitzer claims that all situations are rhetorical, and that there is a rhetorical response to all situations. This does not mean that all situations find their suitable rhetorical expression, there are many situations which are left unexpressed or undefined by rhetoric. According to Bitzer, a rhetorical situation is made out of persons, events, objects, relations, and exigences – problems – that invite communication. To this invitation there is then a suitable response, a response which is provoked or brought about by the situation.

 For a 7 point description of what this means, read page 12 (page 70 in the compendium) for an efficient list of what a rhetorical situation contains and what it means.

The main ingredients in any rhetorical situation are exigence, audience and constraint. In every rhetorical situation there is at least one exigence that organises the situation and settles audience and goal of the situation. These lead to the contraints, and there are at any given time two types of contraints that work on the rhetorical situation: According to Aristotle: entechnoi, or the subject matter, ”fagmæssige bevismidler” coming from the rhetor and his or her method and atechnoi or situational circumstance, ”ikke –faglige bevismidler.” 1: Rhetoric is determined by the situation. 2: If a rhetorical situation invites a response, it doesn’t invite just any response. 3: If it makes sense to claim that a situation invites a suitable response, there has to be a response that fits, prescribed by the situation. 4: The problem (exigence) and and combination of people, objects, events adn relations which generate a rhetorical situation exists in reality. 5: Rhetorical situations show structures which are simple or complex, and more or less organised. 6: Rhetorical situations come to be, mature and fade away, or mature and endure. Both happens, depending on the situation.  

Vatz, Richard E. (2000): ”Myten om den retoriske situation” in Rhetorica Scandinavica, nr. 15. Rhetor Forlag, (pp. 4-13).
This article argues against Bitzer’s article, so read Bitzer first to make sense. Vatz’ point is that if we accept Bitzer’s argument, then we assume that the meaning of a situation rests in the situation itself, and it can not be communicated anything but objectively: It can only be understood by understanding the elements which are part of it, and the rhetor is mainly a vessel for communicaiton.
Against this Vatz argues for the active subject, able to interpret, pick and choose, prioritize and also create meaning. He does this by emphasizing two situations:
1: All rhetors pick and choose what they communicate. The selection of something at the cost of something else determines the content of the rhetoric. The situation is created by ommission as well as by involvement.
2: The content is then given meaning. This includes interpretation and is a creative act. It is a rhetorically transcendent act.

 The main difference is according to Vatz in this sentence: Meaning is not created by situations, but by rhetors.

The implications of this are both ethical and practical. Ethical, because it means the rhetor has to take responsibility for the rhetoric. Practical, because it means the rhetor has freedom and an ability to shape and take rhetorical advantage of a situation, not just react, as in a simple stimuli-response connection.  

Fafner, Jørgen (1997): ”Retorikkens brændpunkt” in Rhetorica Scandinavica, Nr. 2, Rhetor Forlag. (pp. 7-19).
 Fafner starts out with positioning rhetoric in relation to paradigms in philosophy and linguistics, leading to what he considers to be the main steps towards a genuine concept of rhetoric: view of human nature, view of the nature of language, credibility, skill and orality.

 Fafner’s view of human nature positions man as the speaker, the persona, and the source of the speech situation (talesituasjonen). He follows this up by his view of language. He sees language as an expression for the human interest in and activity towards our environment, our world. This is in opposition to the view that language transcends human interpretation and perception, and that the concepts we discuss exist outside of language.

From this constructivist view of human nature of of language, Fafner moves towards credibility or Pistis. A main step towards Pistis or credibility is verisimile – a negotiation between the absolute truth and the absolute false. That which we area ble to accept and believe in, the credible. This is consistent with his understanding of human nature as active and language as constructing our world, as it is another step towards truth as a negotiation and a construction. This means that credibility rests on the human being, the start of all communicative acts, it rests on man’s ethos.

Skill rests on our ability to not just understand, but also perform. Our understanding depends, in Fafner’s view, on our ability to perform skillfully, and deeper understanding doesn’t just lead to better ability to perform, but also presupposes an ability to perform. In order to understand that a speech act is well performed, we need to be able to speak ourselves.

This takes us to the fifth understanding, orality. Orality is not just about the spoken word, it’s about a general ability to communicate through a medium, and the differences in the different media. Fafner points to the difference between the written and the spoken word, how these belong to different modalities. His idea of orality compounds not just tonality and sound, but also genre, art, and the different acts. Fafner concludes that rhetoric isn’t beautiful speech – veltalenhed – but the act of thinking through all the different steps before the act of speaking, the principles we need to follow for out speech to be heard and taken to account. It is an intentional orality.  

Hoff-Clausen, E. mfl (2005): ”Retorisk Agency – hvad skaber retorikken” in Rhetorica Scandinavica nr. 33, (pp. 56 -65).
This article discusses the position of agency in modern rhetorical research. It is basically a report from a conference, but it points efficiently from Fafner towards a more modern understanding of rhetoric. Where Fafner’s understanding of the subject as the rhetor and so sender can be deconstructed into meaninglessness by a postmodern reading, understanding the agency of the individual within certain constraints mediates the different extremes.