Course Details

981: Aristotle (Poetry and Rhetoric)

February 5, 6, and 8, 2019
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

"Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars." (Poetics 9) "Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic." (Rhetoric I 1) We will be reconstructing Aristotle's views on poetry--tragedy, comedy, and epic--by examining his Poetics (as well as a 10th-century manuscript that some scholars consider a summary of the lost Book II, on comedy).  What does Aristotle mean by his famous idea of catharsis?  Does his theory of the tragic hero and the tragic deed (and comic hero and comic deed) explain, for example, Elizabethan drama?  And how do Aristotle's views on poetry fare when compared with Plato's? And then rhetoric:  we will be treating what Aristotle has to say about rhetorical arguments as an extension of his work on logic.  Our discussion will center on the two additional argument types that he unveils in the Rhetoric--the enthymeme (divided into probabilities and signs) and the example.

This class meets from 4:00-5:30 PM.

Class Format: Lecture and Discussion

Hours of Reading: 1-2 hours/session

Study Group Leader(s):

Donald Ross
Dr. Ross received his bachelor's degree in philosophy from Wake Forest University in 1970, his master's from the University of Iowa in 1972, and his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1979. His concentration in graduate school was in ancient philosophy, and he he has published research on Aristotle.

Reading List:

The Basic Works of Aristotle, McKeon (ed.). Modern Library, 2001, ISBN: 9780375757990.