Like the words propaganda and dialectic, the word “rhetoric” has a bad reputation to overcome, given to it by Plato. If people say “that’s just rhetoric” it usually means it is talk not action; or flowery words to hide the truth. But rhetoric at its best is neither of these. It is simply the means of persuasion of an audience in a public setting. Its history sweeps from the Sophists in ancient Greece all the way through the 20th-century work of Chaim Perelman and Stephen Toulmin. Learn the differences between white and black rhetoric.
Bruce has been a night-school college teacher for 27 years and most of his teaching has been with working adults. He has taught in alternative college settings, in prisons, in the Air Force, in the Navy, and has taught in community colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has written three books on the application of Russian Lev Vygotsky’s work to world history. He is also a pen-and-ink artist.