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date: 25 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys the methods of constructing rational arguments taught in the schools of rhetoric and their impact on juridical argumentation. It surveys: the place of rhetoric in legal education; the basic tools of rhetorical invention, i.e. rhetorical syllogism and induction, general schemes of inference on which singular arguments depended (topoi), and types of questions on which court debates could concentrate (status); the difficulties one is likely to encounter when trying to identify traces of rhetorical teaching in legal sources. It is the contention of this chapter that such attempts are hardly successful, since rhetorical theory codifies, classifies, and to a lesser degree analyses types of argumentation people intuitively use, rather than create them. The mere fact that a jurist applied some pattern of reasoning as described in rhetorical handbooks is insufficient evidence to conclude either that he had some sort of rhetorical education or that he knew rhetorical theory.

Keywords: Rhetorical education, rhetorical theory, invention, rhetorical tools, methods of argumentation, syllogism, induction, status, topos

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