Aristotle on Rhetoric

Stephanie Wesson, University of Pennsylvania


Aristotle’s Rhetoric is a technical handbook for how to persuade a public audience about what is good, just, and noble. The goal of this dissertation is to explain why Aristotle thought this ability was a kind of knowledge, a craft (technē), distinct from both political expertise (politikē) and dialectical expertise (dialektikē). I aim to do this by giving an interpretation of the norms governing rhetorical persuasion. Like his conception of dialectic, Aristotle’s conception of rhetoric is primarily governed by epistemological norms: the excellent orator is someone who can present an audience with good reasons for believing some conclusion. But, I argue, these norms are specific to the subject matter for which rhetoric is needed: matters requiring public deliberation and judgment.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Wesson, Stephanie, "Aristotle on Rhetoric" (2022). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI29256668.