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This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 17 January 2022 and 6 May 2022. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Cc3531 (article contribs).
This entire article does not accurately reflect the term
From Google of “rhetoric”: Definitions from Oxford Languages · rhet·o·ric the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques. "he is using a common figure of rhetoric, hyperbole" language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content. "all we have from the Opposition is empty rhetoric"
The term has since ancient times connoted a powerful argument whose power is based on mental manipulation of the audience, not an argument based on providing accurate and well referenced information. The idea that rhetoric is defined as ‘the way to persuade someone of something’, as it is presented in this article, goes back to the Sophists. However, this ignores the caveat that it involves “figures of speech and other compositional techniques” that manipulate the audience regardless of the accuracy of the information. Socrates showed another way of presenting information, not using the techniques of rhetoric, based primarily on asking questions, causing people to see what they don’t know about the assumptions they are making, a way which frequently leads people to refer to sources, judge their accuracy, and generally reach more accurate conclusions. Many other ways of presenting information that generally lead to more accurate understanding than the tools of rhetoric have been developed since. Such ways have persuaded a large number of people of information that is generally accurate, as opposed to techniques that persuade people regardless of the accuracy of the information.
Rhetoric itself has made a comeback in the last few decades. A number of political and other movements put a lot of effort into convincing their followers and others of information that the leaders are aware is inaccurate. These movements have been studying and teaching rhetoric to their members on a large scale, to the point where they are whitewashing rhetoric itself, silently dismissing that rhetorical techniques are “often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.”
This article itself appears to be such a whitewash of rhetoric. However, I know I could not personally affect it due to the politics of Wikipedia page editing. Yet, I would hope I am not the last person on earth interested in accuracy of information, and disseminating ways for increasing it, and accurately evaluating techniques that do not. Perhaps someone else interested in such would hear my little cry for reason in the wilderness of the internet, someone more involved with Wikipedia, and fight the slow erosion of reason and accurate dissemination of information this article represents. 2601:646:9B00:8320:25F2:65C6:FF45:EDD5 (talk) 18:39, 18 September 2022 (UTC)
- If you define "whitewashing" and outline what you wish to change, then changes may be made. MrEarlGray (talk) 19:08, 18 September 2022 (UTC)
- The definition of "whitewashing" is not relevant except perhaps in some small paragraph about the current activities regarding rhetoric.
- "Rhetoric (/ˈrɛtərɪk/) is the art of persuasion" (the lead phrase of this article) is inaccurate. It misses the caveat that rhetoric is based on "use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques." The article says that rhetoric is the way to bring communities together based on common understanding. Yet it is certainly not the only such way. For example there is the way Socrates used simple questions, not figures of speech, to bring understanding based on accurate information. These days Socrates may be remembered by the way he lost his life, but people aware of the history understand that Socrates had a huge impact on his community, bringing the community to an effort for more accurate understanding, lasting through his students and their students, and even to today.
- When I read this article I was stunned that this content would be in Wikipedia, instead of an advertisement for a course on rhetoric somewhere. Almost every single paragraph in the article is affected by the inaccurate lead definition. To be accurate, the whole thing would need to be rewritten, with better sources, and I am not familiar with Wikipedia enough to even approach such a task, or even know how it would be done. 2601:646:9B00:8320:891C:E692:FADB:5343 (talk) 20:53, 18 September 2022 (UTC)
- Googling things, and adding dictionary definitions is insufficient. For instance, the editor @2601:646:9B00:8320:25F2:65C6:FF45:EDD5 is referring to the term rhetoric as the use of tricks to persuade even if them render the discourse insincere and false. This interpretation is the layman interpretation of rhetoric; it is a common interpretation, yes, but it is not encyclopedic. Rhetoric theory is the study of how ideas are substantiated and communicated through composition, forms, functions, etc.
- If the editor wants to add a section of how the term rhetoric is used in everyday language, please, propose it. MexFin (talk) 06:48, 20 February 2023 (UTC)
Rhetoric is not just about teaching
Editor @Stacyted Keeps changing the article to emphasise that rhetoric is about teaching. It is not. Teaching is just an application of rhetoric. If the user wants to explain the use of rhetoric in teaching, then why not propose a new section with correct references? MexFin (talk) 06:35, 20 February 2023 (UTC)
- @MexFin keeps changing the article to emphasize that rhetoric is not about teaching. the problem is that rhetoric has always been about teaching, from its very beginnings in Athens in the 5th century BC to today. ive included the following source in the notes to reflect this central and distinctive feature of rhetoric:
- Hauser, G. A. (2004). Teaching Rhetoric: Or Why Rhetoric Isn’t Just Another Kind of Philosophy or Literary Criticism. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 34(3), 39–53.
- there is no need to propose a new section on rhetoric in teaching as @MexFin suggests, since one already exists, cf. "As a course of study". what is needed is some recognition, at the beginning of the article, that the training of speakers and writers is distinctive and central to rhetoric. my edit corrects this problem: "Rhetoric trains writers and speakers to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations." Stacyted (talk) 18:15, 20 February 2023 (UTC)
- @Stacyted Thanks for giving an explanation in the talk page. First of all, it is important to make some things clear. You are the one proposing the change, not me, so it is up to you to justify it. I am reverting to the previous accepted version. In other words, I am not the one that keeps proposing changes, you are. Therefore, the burden of proof is on you. I am reverting the change because it does not fit the introduction. I do agree with you that somewhere in the article it should include what you say: Rhetoric is a lot about teaching. This is also true, however, as you mention yourself, the right section is in the "course of study" section.
- The reference that you use is not really suitable for the introduction. It is a report from a conference on pedagogy, so obviously, they are talking about rhetoric in the context of education. It has been cited 13 times in 14 years, since 2009, so not much. On the other hand, the understanding of rhetoric as a theory for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments (Perelman, 1971) has been cited 7151 times in Google Scholar. It has become the main interpretation, or in Wikipedia's terms: It is notable.
- Perelman, Chaim. The new rhetoric. Springer Netherlands, 1971.
- PS. Wikipedia is not an edit war. You could add a sentence at the end of the introduction that mentions that "a very important aspect of rhetoric is its role in education." I am fine with that, but do not change the second sentence, because it changes the meaning of the full article. MexFin (talk) 07:26, 21 February 2023 (UTC)
- @Stacyted To be super clear, the problem is that the sentence "Rhetoric trains writers and speakers..." is factually incorrect. Rhetoric is not a person. Teachers use rhetoric, their knowledge of how argumentation and persuasion works, to teach their students how to think correctly, discern arguments, and thus become better citizens. In addition, educators can also to teach speakers how to convey their arguments clearly. Therefore, education is an outcome of the understanding of rhetoric. MexFin (talk) 07:37, 21 February 2023 (UTC)
- @Stacyted I propose the following solution. At the end of the introduction there is a paragraph that fits.
- The paragraph could be as follows: "Rhetoric is also an educational approach that teaches writers and speakers how to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. From Ancient Greece to the late 19th century, rhetoric played a central role in Western education in training orators, lawyers, counsellors, historians, statesmen, and poets."
- Do you agree? MexFin (talk) 12:36, 21 February 2023 (UTC)
- I'm not sure what you mean. I checked it and it does link to Exordium (rhetoric). ― Blaze WolfTalkblaze__wolf 19:04, 11 October 2023 (UTC)
Talk Page Archive needed
This talk page is very long and many discussions appear to be closed. Could someone start an archive for this talk page? I have attempted to do so (check the source edit), but my skills are not up to the task to complete this action. Zifmer (talk) 03:00, 4 December 2023 (UTC)