The discussion …

“Quarreling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are.” [CS Lewis]

“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone.” [Confucius]

“But logical thinking – Reasoning – has to be the pivot of arguments because, of all the claims which the human mind puts forward, the claim of Reasoning to be valid is the only one which the Naturalist cannot deny without (philosophically speaking) cutting his own throat”. [C S Lewis]

In his book Rhetoric, which is said to be “the most important single work on persuasion ever written”, the Greek philosopher Aristotle divides the art of persuasion into two distinct forms, dialectic and rhetoric …“Before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.” Rhetoric is much more forgiving of falsehood, and in fact, it’s not even strictly possible to say that a rhetorical statement is a lie. Rhetoric consists of the construction of what Aristotle describes as enthymemes— which are not proper logical syllogisms, but incomplete or invalid arguments that merely take the form of syllogisms—in which all that matters is that persuasion is achieved by means of the “proof” provided, or more accurately, the apparent proof. For the purposes of following this vital philosophical distinction, it might be easier to think in terms of “logically sound” and “not logically sound” rather than in simple terms of true and false. The point is that you can construct a logical syllogism that proves or a pseudo-logical enthymeme that apparently proves, but in either case, they can both be used to correctly point the person with whom you are speaking towards the relevant truth of the matter.(see SJW always lie p572)

Rhetoric – is the theory and the practice of the art of speaking fluently, persuasively and well, it was used primarily in the art of persuasion. In the democracy of Ancient Greece the most “Sophisticated” man with the greatest command of words and language, the one who could successfully persuade and influence the most people, was most respected and most powerful. The main purpose of Greek “Sophist” education therefore, was to teach clear, logical and fluent speech – “rhetoric”. Rhetorical communication was thus the key discipline through which, and at which young Greeks were educated and prepared for their role within the city state democracy.

The speaker or orator needed only a good memory and the ability to imitate and improvise on his predecessors. He had a general idea of what was expected of him, and used platitudes to hold his audience’s attention, all his speaking was “off the cuff”, not prepared but spontaneous at the moment for the moment. His emphasis was on the communication feature of the communication process, not the Truth in the message content. What he did not do was theorise deeply about or personally experience the content of what his art communicated. The innovation of rhetoric, as used by the Ancient Greek Sophists (and which similar traces may be found also in Ancient Indian and Ancient Chinese traditions (see Difficulties in the way of Persuasion by Han fei Tzu 300 BC) ) succeeded in not only shifting the focus of competence in thinking onto the competence of verbalizing thoughts, but also in smothering the dialectic of arriving at Truth. ] [WHAT IS COMMUNICATION by M van SCHOOR]

Greek thinkers moved the complete intellectual communication process, and hence the discipline of reasoning and philosophy, off the absolute foundations of objective Truth, cause and effect or the dialectic argument, onto the expedient, shifting sands of rhetoric or human relative ability and potential. Parmenides, a pre-Socratic philosopher was going around teaching that the only things that are real are the things that never change, and Heraclitus, also a pre-Socratic philosopher, was teaching that everything changes. The reality and truth that the great intellects of the day were teaching their disciples was in fact, if you superimpose their teachings – nothing is real. Obviously some things are real, so the enormous intellects which founded the art of reasoning and philosophy must have thrown logical rational thought processes out of the window somewhere along the line. Socrates perceived the irrationality in their thought processes, understood its causes and developed a system to ensure it would not be reintroduced – “dialectic” dialogue or “Cause and effect”

“DIALECTIC” in the modern Marxist sense is Hegelian in origin, it must be completely set aside when we speak of Medieval or ancient dialectic. Dialectic is concerned with “proving”. In the Middle Ages there are three kinds of proof;

from REASON – establishes geometrical truth

from AUTHORITY – establishes a historical truth

from EXPERIENCE – establishes that oysters do, or do not, agree with us.

Unfortunately the word “experience” is not always used for the third type of proof . To ‘feel’,  or even more misleading to “know by experience” is used as proof. Neither the grammar nor the rhetoric had anything to say about the point of view or the individual sensibilty. The ancient teachers of rhetoric saw no distinction or anthithesis  between RHETORIC and POETRY but by the Middle Ages it has become literary, its precepts addressed quite as much to poets as to advocates.

The Socratic method of arriving at truth and then communicating it is demonstrated by Socrates himself, in dialogue with the Sophist Georgias, he explains…
“Socrates: Let me explain the point which surprised me in what you said, Gorgias – it may be that you were right and I didn’t understand you properly. You say that you can make an orator of anyone who likes to learn from you?
Gorgias: Yes.
Socrates: And consequently he will be able to get his way before a popular audience not by instructing but by convincing?
Gorgias: Certainly.
Socrates: You said just now that even on matters of health the orator will be more convincing than the doctor?
Gorgias: Before a popular audience – yes, I did.
Socrates: A popular audience means an ignorant audience, doesn’t it? He won’t be more convincing than the doctor before experts I presume.
Gorgias: True.
Socrates: Now, if he is more convincing than the doctor he is more convincing than the expert?
Gorgias: Naturally.
Socrates: Not being a doctor, of course?
Gorgias: Of course not.
Socrates: And the non-doctor, presumably, is ignorant of what the doctor knows?
Gorgias: Obviously.
Socrates: So when the orator is more convincing than the doctor, what happens is that an ignorant person is more convincing than the expert before an equally ignorant audience. Am I right?
Gorgias: That is what happens in that case, no doubt.
Socrates: And the same will be true of the orator in relation to all the other arts. The orator need have no knowledge of the truth about things – it is enough for him to have discovered a knack of convincing the ignorant that he knows more than the experts.” [58]

Socrates challenged the Sophists by challenging Gorgias on the fact that, “Sophistic rhetoric emphasises the role of the communicator.” [59] rather than, and to the detriment of, the Truth content of the message being communicated. Socrates had good reason to be concerned about what was happening to Truth. The Sophists were teachers in the art of succeeding in public office, they were known for their dramatisation of contrasts and their controversial moral judgements and overall were not particularly concerned about grounding their arguments in consideration of reason or Truth.

“Propositions arrived at purely by logical means are completely empty as regards reality” [Albert Eienstein]

“They preferred instead to exaggerate the credibility of their viewpoints with emotional appeals and self-aggrandisement. According to Plato the Sophists preferred to advocate the appearance of truth rather than the truth itself; they were men who saw that probability is to be rated higher than truth, and who could make trivial matters appear great and great matters trivial simply by the forcefulness of their speech” [58]

Probability, when it is rated higher than Truth, is deception. Deception is the first phase of a pattern used since the beginning of time that leads people from reality to destruction. The pattern is plain and simple to understand. The phases or stages are:-


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