Philosophy of Epideictic Rhetoric

By Cem Zeytinoglu.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this essay the four aspects of epideictic discourse are discussed: (1) it is a social praise, (2) it treats its target audience as spectators (theorioi), (3) the temporal orientation in epideictic communication is largely connected to the present time, and (4) it is the rhetoric of a system that constantly encourages public to adopt a respective way of life. The main theme of the essay is that epideictic rhetoric has certain purposes, namely commendation and observance of virtues and values in a society. I examine this theme under the umbrella of two major metaphors, which are identified as praise and theoria. Under the metaphor of praise, I look at the several significant characteristics of epideictic rhetoric. I identify the types of excellence that are proliferated in epideictic discourse by looking at the general topics that are covered in persuasion. Then I look at the types of praise (encomium, eulogy and panegyrics) and the qualities of “the praised” in epideictic discourse. I examine eulogistic and dyslogistic use of language to demonstrate the function of epideictic discourse in adverting and transforming audience’s attention into attitudes. Under the second metaphor, theoria, I emphasize the role of audience as spectators in epideictic discourse as essential. Then I connect the context of ceremony to the purpose of persuasion, which ethicizes a certain system and attitudinizes audiences through aesthetic motivation. Subsequently, I define epideictic rhetoric as a social amplification of ideas, things, and people.

Keywords: Epideictic Rhetoric, Philosophy, Aristotle, Kenneth Burke, Jeremy Bentham

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.17-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 596.626KB).

Cem Zeytinoglu

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA


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