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Aristotle on Persuasion - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 313
Persuasion/Aristotle/Keyt/Miller: (...) it is unnatural for a polis, which in Aristotle's view is a natural entity, to be a unified whole by force. This means that coercion and brute force are alien to a polis in a natural condition (the ramifications of this point are explored in Keyt, 1996)(1). In a political setting the alternative to force is its antithesis, persuasion, the source of willing obedience (for the opposition see EE II.8.1224a39). Aristotle devotes an entire treatise to this subject, and addresses the question of political persuasion specifically (Rhet. I.4, 8). >Coercion/Aristotle, >Nomos/Aristotle.
Truth/persuasion: One central issue is whether persuasion in Aristotle's view is essentially concerned with truth (compare Rhet. I.1.1355a29-33 and I.2.1356a19—20). Scholars are found on both sides of this issue and in the middle as well. (Three works that span the spectrum are Oates, 1963(2); Engberg-Pederson, 1996(3); Wörner, 1990(4).) >Justice/Aristotle.

EE: Aristotle Eudemian Ethics
Rhet. Aristotle Rhetoric


1. Keyt, David (1996) 'Aristotle and the ancient roots of anarchism'. Topoi, 15: 129-42.
2. Oates, Whitney J. (1963) Aristotle and the Problem of Values. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
3. Engberg-Pederson, Troels (1996) 'Is there an ethical dimension to Aristotelian rhetoric?' In Amélie Oksenberg Rorty, ed., Aristotle's Rhetoric. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
4. Wörner, Markus H. (1990) Das Ethische in der Rhetorik des Aristoteles. Munchen: Alber.

Keyt, David and Miller, Fred D. jr. 2004. „Ancient Greek Political Thought“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-01-25
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