The Art of Dialectic Between Dialogue and Rhetoric: The Aristotelian Tradition

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John Benjamins Publishing, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 239 pages
This book reconstructs the tradition of dialectic from Aristotle's "Topics," its founding text, up to its "renaissance" in 16th century Italy, and focuses on the role of dialectic in the production of knowledge. Aristotle defines dialectic as a structured exchange of questions and answers and thus links it to dialogue and disputation, while Cicero develops a mildly skeptical version of dialectic, identifies it with reasoning "in utramque partem" and connects it closely to rhetoric. These two interpretations constitute the backbone of the living tradition of dialectic and are variously developed in the Renaissance against the Medieval background. The book scrutinizes three separate contexts in which these developments occur: Rudolph Agricola's attempt to develop a new dialectic in close connection with rhetoric, Agostino Nifo's thoroughly Aristotelian approach and its use of the newly translated commentaries of Alexander of Aphrodisias and Averroes, and Carlo Sigonio's literary theory of the dialogue form, which is centered around Aristotle's "Topics." Today, Aristotelian dialectic enjoys a new life within argumentation theory: the final chapter of the book briefly revisits these contemporary developments and draws some general epistemological conclusions linking the tradition of dialectic to a fallibilist view of knowledge.
 

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Contents

Dialectic and the notion of tradition
1
1 Aristotle and the art of dialectic
11
Cicero Boethius and the scholastics
39
An introduction
59
4 The new humanist dialectic and rhetoric
65
5 The Topics and Renaissance Aristotelianism
99
6 Dialectic and dialogue
133
7 Rhetoric and dialectic
161
The epistemological value of Aristotelian dialectic
173
Notes
179
References
215
Name index
231
Subject index
237
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