Classical Rhetoric Tutorial

    Rhetoric is a fundamental part of classical education. At it's simplest, it is the art of effective communication, whether written or spoken. Or, as Aristotle puts it, it is the art of studying the available means of persuasion in any given situation. It teaches the ability to persuade others, and the power of analyzing the attempts of others (whether politicians, news media, or books) to persuade us, to discover whether those attempts are manipulative or beneficial. But rhetoric is more powerful than these definitions suggest. It is, ultimately, the art of organizing into a systematic and coherent whole all of one's knowledge for the purposes of understanding and persuasively communicating that knowledge to others.

    Rhetoric has been a central subject in classical education for over two thousand years, because it is also the art of organizing knowledge. It is the capstone of the Trivium, the three fundamental arts of learning; once the grammar (the particular facts) and logic (the connections between the facts) of a subject have been learned, the knowledge gained must be organized and incorporated into the student's worldview in such a fashion that it can be communicated to others.

    The Rhetoric Tutorial will cover the history and basic principles of classical rhetoric, a brief review of logic, and the skill of determining the structure of spoken communication (speeches, debates, arguments) and of written works of all kinds, from the sentence level to paragraphs to whole books. It will include reading and discussing primary sources and current articles, and writing papers and short speeches to demonstrate ability in the principles studied. 

    The course is best suited to students sixteen years old and up.

Required Texts: 

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