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2.8: Activities and Glossary

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  • Review Questions

    1. What historical events gave rise to Athens establishing democracy for its citizens?

    2. Who was Draco, and what did he do in Athens?

    3. Under whose reign did Athens enjoy its greatest glory, and why?

    4. Who was Plato, and what form of inquiry did he advocate?

    5. Who was Aristotle, and what is he most noted for?

    6. What did the Romans borrow from the Greeks and how did they improve upon it?

    7. Why was Cicero considered to be the greatest Roman orator?

    8. What did Quintilian contribute to the art of persuasion?

    9. What role did rhetoric play in education in the Middle Ages?

    10. The Renaissance gave birth to the Humanists and Rationalists. Can you describe the differences between the two and name two representatives from each and their contributions to persuasion?

    11. What is the “epistemological tradition” and who best represent this movement?


    1. Create two teams of at least three students per team. One team will represent the dialectical approach to problem solving and the other team will represent the Aristotelian rhetorical tradition. One team will attempt to explain how a problem is solved and conclusions arrived at through the dialectical approach, the other through the rhetorical approach. The problem to be solved will be created by student consensus.

    2. The Humanists and Rationalists viewed persuasion from differing perspectives. Students should form teams that represent each perspective, choose an issue, then argue or advocate for their side using each perspective, and then compare the process of problem-solving to see how they arrived at their conclusions.

    3. Review the approaches that Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian held toward rhetoric, then identify and compare and contrast the similarities and differences between them and how these differences advanced the art of public speaking.


    Atticism An expression characterized by conciseness and elegance.

    Dialectic Dialecticcan be defined as a debate intended to resolve a conflict between two contradictory (or polar opposites), or apparently contradictory ideas or elements logically, establishing truths on both sides rather than disproving one argument.

    Draco In 621 B.C., the citizens of Athens commissioned Draco, an elder citizen considered to be the wisest of the Greeks, to codify the laws, which had remained an oral form of custom and tradition. He began the tradition of law, where cases were decided on clearly enunciated crimes and penalties determined by statute rather than by the whims of the nobility. His laws helped constitute a surge in Athenian democracy.

    Elocutionary Movement Elocutionary Movement is a movement that focused primarily on delivery. It not only involved the voice, but also incorporated the entire person with facial expressions, gesture, posture and movement.

    Epistemology Epistemology is the study of the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.

    Marcus Fabius Quintilianus Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, also referred to as Quintilian, was a celebrated orator, rhetorician, Latin teacher and writer who promoted rhetorical theory from ancient Greece and from the height of Roman rhetoric.

    Marcus Tullius Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero is considered to be the greatest of the Roman orators, and was, among other things, a lawyer, politician, and philosopher.

    Oratory The ability to speak with rhetorical skill and eloquence.

    Pericles Responsible for the installation of a pure democracy to maintain popular support, a liberalized judicial system to include poor citizens so that they could serve on juries, and the establishment of a popular legislative assembly to review annually all laws. In addition, he established the right for any Athenian citizen to propose or oppose a law during assembly. Pericles’ democracy established the need for training in public speaking.

    Philosophical Relativism Philosophical relativism is the concept that points of philosophical views have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative subjective value according to differences in perception and thought.

    Renaissance The Renaissance is the name of the great intellectual and cultural movement of the revival of interest in classical culture that occurred in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries.

    René Descartes René Descartes is one of the most important Western philosophers of the past few centuries. He was also an original physicist, physiologist and mathematician who attempted to restart philosophy in a fresh direction.

    Rhetoric Rhetoric is the faculty of discovering in the particular case all the available means of persuasion.

    Sophists 5 th century B.C. Greek philosophers and teachers who speculated on theology, metaphysics, and the sciences, and who were characterized by Plato as superficial manipulators of rhetoric and dialectic (

    St. Augustine St. Augustine had been a teacher of rhetoric before converting to Christianity in 386, and is considered to be the only major thinker on rhetoric associated with the Middle Ages.

    Syllogism A syllogism is a deductive form of argument, proceeding from a generalization to a specific application. It is a systematic arrangement of arguments consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.

    Zeno of Elea Zeno of Elea was a 5th century B.C. Greek mathematician and philosopher of the Eleatic school who is considered to be the inventor of dialectical reasoning.