Rhetoric Resources

  1. General Rhetoric Resources
  2. Logic, Dialectic, Antilogic Comparison Chart
  3. Stasis Theory

General Rhetoric Resources

Sites to help answer the question “What is rhetoric?”

Sites on the connection between rhetoric and civics

Sites about visual rhetoric

Rhetoric blogs & blogs of rhetoricians

Comparison of logic, dialectic and antilogic

Adapted from Michael Mendelson Many Sides.

Logic

Dialectic

Antilogic

subject matter: abstract

X

subject matter: practical

X

X

monovocal

X

X

polyvocal

X

has an endpoint

X

open-ended

X

X

aims for universal conclusions

X

aims for tentative conclusions

X

X

Stasis Theory

In the classical period, stasis theory helped rhetors create forensic arguments.  Judicial proceedings raise the following questions (in order):  Did an act occur?  Should the act be defined as a crime?  Can the act be justified?  What sort of judicial proceedings should be called to judge the act?  These four stases are (1) fact, (2) definition, (3) quality, and (4) jurisdiction.

Classical stasis categories branch chart: existence, definition, quality, jurisdiction

Today rhetoric and writing scholars have applied stasis to a deliberative rhetorical invention, modifying the categories as needed.  Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee in Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, for instance, offer categories of (1) fact/existence, (2) definition, (3) value/quality, and (4) policy.

Contemporary stasis category bubble chart: existence, definition, value/quality, policy/action

Stasis theory helps ensure that discussants are on the same page when engaged in an argument.  Crowley and Hawhee consider the perennial abortion debate in the U.S.  They note that discussants are rarely in stasis, as one group argues about the definition of life, while another argues about the value of women being free to make their own medical decisions (see Ancient Rhetorics 80-85).

Even if discussants converge on the same stasis category, that does not ensure their arguments are in stasis with each other.  For example, the people in this discussion are both talking about the value of voting access (too lenient/not lenient enough), but they characterize that policy in divergent and contradictory ways.  One side does not address the arguments actually made by the other side.

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