Rhetoric is the Philosophers Jiu-Jitsu.
Philosophers think in different ways. In order to conceptualize their ideas they use words and when they use words they meet with other people in the world and here a philosopher needs to be able to show how his/her ideas fit into the spectrum of human reality. When you meet your argument against another persons argument then it turns into something called dialectic.
Dialectic –Dialectic is just a super fancy way of saying ” We are having a spirited conversation about our opinions.”
Philosophers, like Plato, thought that these discussions should be aimed at establishing truth. In this way dialectic wasn’t supposed to be about being right because that was not the goal. However people got carried away with their own opinions. They had to change how they argued in order to be right and thats when Aristotle made rhetoric!
Have you ever heard of people who like the smell of their own farts? People who use rhetoric absolutely love the smell of their own farts. They love the smell of their farts so much that they think other people should be smelling their farts so they use persuasive tactics to manipulate others into smelling their farts.
The Rhetorician has an arsenal in his toolkit:
1. Ethos: If you want to give credibility to your argument you have to be a valid source of authority. If a greased up hobo came at you with a syringe saying, “You need your medicine,” You would run (if your smart) but if a doctor came at you with a syringe saying “You need your medicine you’d sit there and take your fucking medicine!” Ethos means we’ll take your word for it because your super smart.
note: You don’t necessarily have to be an authority on a subject you can always “fake it.”
2. Pathos: Try and get your audience all stirred up. Appeal to their emotions, win them over with arguments that “Just sound nice” or use flowery language. Using music can be a good way of manipulating your audience. Music choice gives you a good basis to know when to cry and when to laugh.
3. Logos: This is probably the actual nuts and bolts of rhetoric as you can’t really have an argument without appealing to a persons sense of reason.
Rhetoric is the fine art of learning to win battles with your words. Your to craft your ability to use language along with some other attributes to influence your opponent to accept your position.
My Favorite Rhetorical Stratagems
Extension: Extend a proposition way past your opponents given propositions. Take it to the outer limits of craziness and then exaggerate it even more. Make his argument into the most absurd notion ever wiped from someones intellectual derriere.
Sophism: A sophism is an argument that “seems” valid but is really untrue. So start from the proposition “I am a white man.”
opponent: No way! You’re as dark as the night sky.
You: Then smile and show him your teeth and say:
“My teeth are white and my teeth are a part of me ergo I am a white man.”
Per Negatium Consequentiae: The argument itself is directly refuted simply by denying the conclusion. Even if your opponent gives you a valid logical argument like:
1. Everything that is blue is a carrot
2. The sky is blue.
Ergo the sky is a carrot (This a logically valid argument)
To refute this all you have to do is disagree with the conclusion. Keep saying, “NO THE SKY IS NOT A CARROT!” Completely ignore the premises and just focus on the conclusion. Keep doing that until it becomes really annoying and your opponent gives up.
Ad Hominem: This is my personal favorite. Ad Hominem means simply “Toward man” Or “At the man.” Ad Hominem is when you bypass your opponents argument and you directly begin making stabs at his personal character, judgement, protruding stomach etc.
My favorite Ad Hominem statement is : “FUCK YOU!”