Perché sia necessario parlare di retorica in senso sistemico
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Rhetoric, as «art of persuasion», is active in almost all our communicative relationships but since long time it has been interpreted in a negative sense that we can overcome only recovering, as necessary condition, the systemic theory of it, founded by Aristotle. Rhetoric is at the same time a theoretical and a practical art, as the Greek word rhêtorikê means. We have to understand it as a faculty (dynamis) and not as a science (epistêmê). The author presents the Aristotelian optimistic sense of «verisimilitude» and of «persuasion», a positive judgment that we can maintain only if we resist to the temptation of identifying rhetoric with only one or two of its several constituent parts. Realizing that rhetoric is an open «system», we can understand more easily its complex structure, where each part has a specific goal connected to the one of the whole, always in relationship with the external environment. To prevent well known possible degenerations due to the strong power of this art, we must not forget that the rhetoric system is originally a subsystem 1. of the wider political/ethic system and 2. of the logic/dialectic one. The author considers – as archetypical sources for this complex systemic theory of rhetoric – works like the Greek Rhetoric of Aristotle and the Latin Rhetoric to Herennius, the contents of which can be combined and are still valid. This paper aims to propose a synthetic view of the original, systemic perspective of rhetoric, not to discuss specific problems.
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