How, if at all, has the concept of rhetoric mutated during post-modernity?

I gather than it ('rhetoric') began its life, in classical Greece, as a form of public discourse inclusive of 'poetry', 'history', etc.. But that it gradually became subordinate to 'logic' and a subset of 'poetry', losing its public function, and even anathema to 'truth' (with parallels in Plato). And with the Lyrical Ballads it became deceitful public discourse.

And what more recently?

  • 2
    You can see the SEP's postmodernism article and this wikipedia article for starters. Postmodern rhetoric "puts into question the identities of the speaker, the audience, and the messages that pass between them." It's heavily influenced (or practiced, depending on interpretation) by Derrida, Foucault, etc.
    – Not_Here
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 17:17
  • As far as I know it was refered to by Socrates with negative connotations, insofar as it has the potential to cloak the truth by means of appealing to the aesthetics of an argument as opposed to its content. He differed from the Stoics in this, who viewed it as an art form (Plato famously argued against art with a capital "A" in the Republic as dangerous, in a sense).
    – martin
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 21:12
  • ... Cicero, of course, inherited and developed this view and was a master of it. As mentioned above, modern continental philosophers (and post colonialists) have been critical of it in much the same way that Socrates was in the age of the birth of Democracy in its Athenian form.
    – martin
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 21:14
  • Related What happened to rhetoric as a branch of philosophy?, currently the more common term is theory of argumentation.
    – Conifold
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 22:08


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