‘Rhetoric’ By Aristotle

I probably owned this book for at least a decade before I started reading it recently. Just a quick glance would have indicated it’s not nearly so long as it appears. First, because it also have the Poetics, which I’ve already read (not that it would hurt me to read it again, but we are focusing on reading Rhetoric for the first time) and second, because the left hand side of the page is just for notes on the text, which, even if you read them, means lots and lots of empty real estate on half of the pages.

I’ve been on a minor ancient (western) philosophy kick, having also read some Sextus Empiricus recently.

My motivation for picking this book was two fold: availability (I owned it) and a (misguided) belief that this would actually contain a great deal of logic. I don’t know where I got the idea, but I had been under the impression that a good chunk of Aristotle’s inductive logic writings could be found here. Smart readers of this blog will have figured out by now that I was wrong (less intelligent readers may still be waiting for the answer to be revealed).

Can’t really say that I got many deep insights in the actual art of rhetoric. In that respect, Quintilian is a much better guide. There was a little logic, in the form of Aristotle’s frequent references to enthymeme’s, a type of syllogism. But, of course, syllogisms themselves are discussed in the Topics, not Rhetoric.

So do I get some more Aristotle? Something beyond his Politics or De Anima and try to find one of his actual books on logic?

Maybe, but it seems like a lot of work and possibly relatively expensive and I’d have to hide the purchase from my better half.

No, I’ve got a nice looking copy of Cicero’s De Oficia on the shelf that I saw the other day, and that seems like a much more likely choice.

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