Corax, 476 BCE: “[Rhetoric is] the demiourgos, or artificer, of persuasion” (Kennedy, 1963). Source: Quoted in George A. Kennedy, The Art of Persuasion in Greece. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1963. 61.
Socrates, center, prepares to take the cup of hemlock at his execution.
Aristotle, 350 BCE: “Let rhetoric be [defined as] an ability, in each [particular] case, to see the available means of persuasion.” Source: Aristotle, On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. Trans. George A. Kennedy. New York. Oxford UP, 1991. 1355b.
St. Augustine, 426: "After all, the universal task of eloquence, in whichever of these three styles, is to speak in a way that is geared to persuasion." Source: St. Augustine, Teaching Christianity: De doctrina christiana. Ed. John E. Rotelle. Trans. Edmund Hill. Hyde Park, NY: New City, 1996. 4.55.
The consensus of these and other thinkers and scholars is that rhetoric is intended to persuade.
The five canons of classical rhetoric are invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery (Brooke, 2009). These canons lend themselves very well to the linearity and space of the printed page.
As Rice (2006) argues, “the space of the page . . . is tied to the single author, the individual who works in one fixed space within a fixed disciplinary focus with a single identity tied to a singly motivated reading practice tied to a single idea expressed at a single moment” (p. 130).
In contrast, Rice (2006) continues, “The space somewhere else . . . is the open space constructed out of connections where multiple writers engaging within multiple ideas in multiple media at multiple moments function. That space somewhere else is the network. . . . In that process of making networks, writers, through their work, see themselves connected to information in ways the space on the page does not allow” (p. 130).
In a similar manner, the original planners of Salt Lake designed their city to match their faith’s rhetoric of order, conformity, and uniformity. However, over time, as settlers of other faiths—or of no faith at all—moved into the city, the wide streets that conveyed openness began to fill with networks (rhetorical, social, and cultural) that challenged and competed with established ways of life.
Brooke, C. (2009). Lingua Fracta: Towards a Rhetoric of New Media. Collin Brooke. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Rice, J. (2006, November). "Networks and New Media." College English, Vol. 69, No. 2.