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Rhetoric Book One

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1.1.1–14 (1354a–1355b)

Rhetoric as Technê


Definition of Rhetoric as counterpart of dialectic


The centrality of proofs and enthymemes


The usefulness of rhetoric


The true and the just are naturally superior to their opposites
General audiences lack the ability to follow scientific reasoning

Rhetoric proves opposites in order to counteract false arguments



1.2–15 (1355b–1377b)

Analysis of Rhetoric as a System

1.2.15 Definition of Rhetoric as a Faculty
Rhetoric may then be defined as the faculty of discovering the possible means of persuasion in reference to any subject whatever.

1.2.2–19 (1355b–1357b)
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Concerning Proofs

1.2.2–7 (1355b–1356a)

Artificial and inartificial proofs


Types of inartificial (inartistic) proofs

Types of artificial (artistic) proofs



Faculties necessary to grasp artificial proofs

1.2.8–13 (1356b–1357a)

Modes of proof: example and enthymeme

vid. 2.20–24
Rhetorical vs. dialectical proofs induction=example
enthymeme superior to example
1.2.11–13 General discussion of rhetorical proofs
The function of Rhetoric, then, is to deal with things about which we deliberate, but for which we have no systematic rules; and in the presence of such hearers as are unable to take a general view of many stages, or to follow a lengthy chain of argument. But we only deliberate about things which seem to admit of issuing in two ways; as for those things which cannot in the past, present, or future be otherwise, no one deliberates about them, if he supposes that they are such; for nothing would be gained by it.


Materials (legetai) of enthymemes
1.2.14–15 Probabilities
For that which is probable is that which generally happens, not however unreservedly, as some define it, but that which is concerned with things that may be other than they are, being so related to that in regard to which it is probable as the universal and the particular.
1.2.17–18 Signs Necessary signs (tekmêria)
Universal-particular relations in construing signs
1.2.19 (1357b) Materials of Examples
It is neither the relation of part to whole, nor of whole to part, nor of one whole to another whole, but of part to part, of like to like, when both come under the same genus, but one is better known than the other.

1.2.20–1.14 (1358a–1375a)
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Concerning the Topics of Proofs [Logos]
1.2.20–22 Division of Enthymemes into General and Specific Topics
I mean by dialectical and rhetorical syllogisms those which are concerned with what we call "topics", which may be applied alike to Law, Physics, Politics, and many other sciences that differ in kind, such as the topic of the more or less …
Specific topics on the other hand are derived from propositions which are peculiar to each species or genus of things.

1.3.1–9 (1358b–1359a)

The Kinds of Rhetoric
1.3.1–3 Division of Rhetoric into three kinds corresponding to three audiences Deliberative
1.3.3 Subject Matter deliberative: exhortation and dissuasion
forensic: accusatory or defensive
epideictic: praise or blame
1.3.4 Time deliberative: future
forensic: past
epideictic: present
1.3.5–6 End deliberative: expedient or harmful
forensic: just or unjust
epideictic: honor or disgrace


General Topics

possible and impossible
past happening and future happening
the more and the less

1.4–8 (1359a–1366a)
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Catalogue of Topics of Deliberative Rhetoric

1.4.1–7 (1359a–b)

General Discussion
But it is clear that advice is limited to those subjects about which we take counsel; and such are all those which can naturally be referred to ourselves and the first cause of whose origination is in our own power…

1.4.8–13 (1359b–1360b)

Five Deliberative Subjects

Ways and Means
War and Peace
Imports and Exports

1.5.1–17 (1360b–1362a)

Topics of Exhortation and Dissuasion: Happiness

1.5.1–4 Definition of Happiness (Eudaimonia)
Let us then define happiness as well-being combined with virtue, or independence of life, or life that is most agreeable combined with security, or abundance of possessions and slaves, combined with power to protect and make use of them; for nearly all men admit that one or more of these things constitutes happiness.

1.5.5–9 (1360b–1361a)
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External Goods

--noble birth (eugeneia)
--good children
--good reputation (eudoxia)

1.5.9–16 (1361b)

Internal Goods

--happy old age

1.5.17 (1362a)

Good Fortune


Virtue Reserved For Topic Of Praise

1.6–7 (1362a–1365b)

Topics of the Expedient and the Inexpedient: Goods

1.6.1–7 (1362a–b) Definition of the Good
Let us assume good to be whatever is desirable for its own sake, or for the sake of which we choose something else; that which is the aim of all things, or of all things that possess sensation or reason; or would be, if they could acquire the latter.
1.6.8–16 Necessary (Generally Recognized) Goods --health
--virtues of the soul
--virtues of the body
--capacity for action
--natural cleverness
--good memory
--readiness to learn
--quick-wittedness and the like

1.6.17–30 (1362b–1363b)

Doubtful Goods --the opposite of evil
--that which is not in excess
--that which is competed for
--that which is the object of praise
--that which is praised by one's enemies
--that chosen by the wise or good
--all things deliberately chosen or wished for

1.7 (1363b–1365b)

Greater and More Expedient Goods

*It would seem then that it is better to receive than to confer a benefit; for one would choose the former even if it should pass unnoticed, whereas one would not choose to confer a benefit, if it were likely to remain unknown (1.7.36 (1365b))

--definition of greater and less
--things that belong to a superior class
--first in an irreversible sequence
--greater in amount of similar things
--things that produce a greater good
--things produced by a greater cause
--that which is more desirable in itself
--an end is superior to the means
--things less dependent on other things
--cause or first principle superior to what is not
--of two causes, what results from or causes the greater is greater
--that which is scarcer and the reverse
--that which is more difficult and the reverse
--that the lack of which is greater
--virtue and vice as ends are superior to their negations
--things whose works are nobler or more disgraceful
--the works of things virtues and vices are greater
--things in which superiority is more desirable than in other things
--superiority in better and nobler things
--things the desire for which is nobler and better
--subjects of nobler and more dignified sciences and vice versa
--that which wise people would judge to be a greater good
--things better people possess or would choose
--things more agreeable, nobler, for which we have a greater desire to procure
--things that last longer, or are safer
--things follow relations between coordinates (e.g. nominal vs. corresponding adverbial comparisons)
--things chosen by all or the majority, or by opponents or judges
--things in which all participate, or in which few participate
--things more praiseworthy or more highly honored
--special occasions, ages, places, times, and powers
--things that are natural greater than things acquired
--the greatest part of a great thing
--things available when in greater need, more useful to a particular person, more possible, nearer the end proposed, nearer the end of life
--*the real preferable to matters of public opinion
--things people would rather possess in reality than in appearance
--things that serve several ends
--goods that combine to make the whole greater (such as pleasure and freedom from pain)
--things that do not go unnoticed and therefore appear more real
--that which is held most dear

1.8 (1365b–1366a)
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The Most Important Topics of Persuasion and Dissuasion: Forms of Government


Definition of the Forms of Government

1.8.3–4 Enumeration of the Four Forms of Government --Democracy
--Monarchy (Kingdom or Tyranny)
1.8.5 Ends of Each Form of Government --Democracy>Liberty
--Aristocracy>Education and Law

vid. Politics 3.7–18

Characters of Each Form of Government


Summary of the Topics of Deliberative Rhetoric

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Topics of Epideictic Rhetoric

I.9.1-2 Introduction virtue and vice
the noble and the disgraceful
praise and blame
I.9.3-13, 1366b Virtue and vice in general
I.9.14-27, 1366b-1367a related qualities --whatever produces virtue or comes from virtue
--works signs and acts of courage, just things and just actions
--things of which the reward is honor rather than money
--desirable things not done for one’s own sake, absolute goods done for the country, natural goods, goods not done for the individual
--things possible to possess after death, done for others, acts of kindness
--things for which we strive without fear
--things done by worthier people
--things which cause others’ enjoyment
--retaliation, victory, things worthy of remembrance, accompanied by honor, unusual
--things possessed by a single individual, that bring no profit, customs pertaining to individual groups
I.9.28-32 qualities that resemble the real qualities
I.9.33-37, 1368a encomium
I.9.38-39 amplification
I.9.40 Digression: Topics of Argument Suited to Each Kind epideictic = amplification
deliberative = example
forensic = enthymeme
I.9.41 Summation of Epideictic Topics
I.10-I-4, 1368b-1375a
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Topics of Accusation and Defense (Forensic): Introduction

I.10.1-2, 1368b Partition nature and number of motives of injustice
state of mind of those who act unjustly
character of those exposed to injustice
I.10.3-4 Definition
Let injustice, then, be defined as voluntarily causing injury contrary to the law.
particular-general law
I.10.5-I.12.35 Topics of Accusation and Defense (Forensic): The Particulars
I.10.5-I.11.29 Nature of Motives
I.10.5-18, 1369a seven causes of human action chance
I.10.18-11.29, 1370a-1372a The pleasant
all that we do voluntarily is or seems good or pleasant
I.11.1-5, 1370a definition
Let it be assumed by us that pleasure is a certain movement of the soul, a sudden and perceptible settling down into its natural state, and pain the opposite.
I.11.5 rational and irrational desires
I.11.5-12, 1370b hope and memory
Therefore all pleasant things must either be present in sensation, or past in recollection, or future in hope
I.11.13-28, 1371a more topics of the pleasant --revenge
--gaming, competition, and disputation
--honor and good repute
--admiration and flattery
--familiarity and change
--learning and admiring
--bestowing and receiving benefits
--imitations we learn from
--sudden changes and narrow escapes
--like things are pleasant to each other
--pleasure in one’s own likeness to oneself
--flattery, honor, children
--one’s own work
--being regarded as wise
--finding fault with neighbors
--devoting time to things in which one excels
--amusements and ridiculous things
I.11.29 the painful the contrary of all these
I.12.1-17 States of Mind of those who commit injustice --they think it can be done by them
--their action will be undiscovered or unpunished
--the punishment will be less than the profit
--they will escape due to eloquence, business sense, trial experience, influence, wealth
--or their friends have the above qualities
--if they are friends of those wronged or of the judges
--if character out of keeping with charges
--if acts are done openly
--if acts are of such a nature no one would be likely to attempt them
--if they have either no enemy or many enemies
--they have ways to conceal stolen property or means of disposal
--they can get the trial put off or corrupt the judges
--can avoid the fine or have nothing to lose
--profit is large and immediate while punishment is remote
--there is no punishment equal to the advantages
--acts are real gains and punishmnet merely disgrace
--unjust acts are creditable (i.e. vengeance) and punishment is exile or financial loss
--they have often escaped punishment
--or have often been unsuccessful
--hope for pleasure or profit immediately (intemperate)
--or the pain is immediate but the pleasure lasting (temperate)
--acted by chance rather than intent
--hope to obtain indulgence
--need whether necessary or superfluous
--highly esteemed will not be suspected
--or will be no more suspected than they are already
I.12.17-31 Character of those who suffer injustice --those who possess what others lack
--those far off (reprisal slow) or near (speedy gain)
--those not cautious or confiding
--shy people (not likely to fight back over money)
--those who have been wronged and have not prosecuted
--never or often suffered wrong (both ways, off their guard)
--those who have been slandered or are easy to slander
--those against whom the offender can concoct a slight
--enemies and friends (friends easy, enemies pleasant)
--the friendless
--the unskilled in speech and action
--those who can’t await the verdict (strangers, workmen)
--those who are wrongdoers themselves
--those who have injured us
--those we wrong to please our friends, masters, family
--those against whom we have a complaint
--those likely to be attacked by others anyway
--those for whom we will be able to repair the wrong easily
I.12.32-35 Kinds of wrong likely to be committed --those many are in the habit of committing
--we steal objects easy to conceal, dispose of or alter
--wrongs the victims are ashamed to disclose (rape)
--wrongs in which an appeal to the law would appear litigious
I.13-14 Just and Unjust Actions  
I.13.1-11 Classification
Particular (cultural) laws written
General (natural) laws  
Laws pertaining to persons individual
I.13.12-19 Unwritten laws --injustice arising from excess of virtue or vice
--whatever is omitted from written law
--Definition of equity
--Justice that goes beyond the written law. Omissions are inevitable owing to infinite number of cases.
I.14 Greater and the less applied to law (general) --Acts are greater in proportion to root injustice
--The greater potentially inheres in the less; for he who has stolen three consecrated half-obols will commit any wrong whatever
--Greater by extent of the injury done
--Greater when there is no adequate punishment
--When there is no remedy
--When victim cannot obtain satisfaction
--If victim has inflicted injury upon himself as result
--When unprecedented, first of a kind, seldom paralleled
--When frequently committed
--When because of it new penalties are required
--The more brutal
--When for a long time premeditated
--When the recital of it inspires terror rather than pity
--Heaping crime on crime
--When committed in the courtroom itself
--When accompanied by great disgrace
--When committed against a benefactor
--When it offends against unwritten law
--When it violates written law
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Forensic Topoi for Inartistic Proofs
I.15.1-12 Laws --If the written law is counter to the case
--Equity oath of the dicast
--Equity is constant and never changes, even as the general law, which is based on nature, whereas the written laws often vary
--Contradictions between laws
--Equivocal meaning
--Obsolete laws
--If the written law favors the case
--Oath does not justify decision contrary to written law
--No difference between not using the law and the law not being enacted
--No advantage in being wiser than the physician
I.15.13-19 Witnesses --Ancient
--Poets and traditionists
--Interpreters of oracles
--Well-known decisions
--Those who share the risk of the trial
--No witnesses: Rely on probabilities
--Opponent has no witnesses: Rely on evidence
I.15.20-25 Contracts --If on our side, prove worthy of credit
--laws give force to legal contracts
--law is a kind of contract
--most transactions are contractual
--If contract favors opponent, discredit it
--we refuse to obey ill-made laws, likewise contracts
--judge dispenses justice, not contract
--contract differs from law in that it can be entered into fraudulently
--Contrary to written law, general law, other contracts
opposed to the interest of the judges
I.15.26 Torture If in our favor, assert it is the only true kind of evidence
If against us, tell the truth about all kinds of torture
1.15.27- Oaths in four kinds Do not tender
Do not accept
Do Not Tender --Men readily perjure themselves
--He will not repay the money
--If he does not take it the dicasts will condemn him
Do not accept --Oath only taken with view to money
--A scoundrel would have taken it at once
--If you do not accept you will lose, thus your refusal is due to moral excellence
Accept --Your confidence is in yourself not your opponent
--Monstrous to refuse while the judges must take it
Tender --Act of piety to leave matter to gods
--you allow opponent to make the decision himself
--ridiculous he should be unwilling to take oath when he --demands dicasts take one
Combinations of the above