The Story‎ > ‎

03 Rhetoric

“I do not seek applause, nor to amuse the people, I want to convince them.” —Abraham Lincoln

Advance Praise for The Tyranny of Public Discourse:

"I knew for sure the six elements of a proposition really worked when I started receiving student writing assignments. Not every student was at the same sophistication level, but each had significantly improved persuasive writing skills. Writing a six element proposition takes away the 'I feel' and focuses on the 'I know.'"
       —Jon Parrott, High School U.S. History Teacher, Urbandale, Iowa

2016 Dan Van Haften seven minute interview on Public Radio.

2010 Virtual Book Signing™ at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop (video).

Rhetoric: Aristotle generally is regarded as a genius who laid the foundation for modern rhetoric. The Aristotelian baseline is: Logic is fine if it "works." Aristotle's bottom line is use any tool that works. Logic not necessarily the primary tool. Anything that accomplishes the goal is pretty much okay with Aristotle. If you have ever tried to construct a syllogism, you will understand why Aristotle cannot rely on logic.

Logic: Euclid, Jefferson, and Lincoln could rely on logic because they knew its definition: essentially the scientific method. The method is the message.

Euclid (the ancient assembler of plane geometry), Jefferson (the "modern" assembler of a new country), and Lincoln (the disassembler of slavery and the preserver of the Union), used a six element baseline of fact and logic. Euclid provided the method. Proclus preserved the definitions. Jefferson and Lincoln transferred the method to persuasive speeches and persuasive letters.

Euclid’s plane geometry demonstrations are word-based, not algebraic. Arraying facts, marshaling evidence, and scientific reasoning, work the same in Euclid’s plane geometry demonstrations as they do in Jefferson and Lincoln verbal demonstrations regarding human problems. Same structure. Built with words, not equations. Language is language; the method is the same.

It appears that Jefferson and Lincoln kept their structural method proprietary. Lincoln sort of revealed what he was doing, and Jefferson left a few strong hints. The best evidence of Jefferson and Lincoln using the six elements of a proposition is their actual demarcatable writings. Iron structural force speaks for itself; it cannot permanently hide.

Used properly and skillfully, word location within six-element structure amplifies truth. Word location speaks louder than the words themselves. Writing itself becomes easier.

Purchase Structure of Reason books.


Email a Comment

Copyright 2013 - 2019 by David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften; all rights reserved.