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Chapter 10. A Refresher on the Rhetorica... > Making Web Content Credible - Pg. 121

Chapter 10 : A Refresher on the Rhetorical Modes 121 ARISTOTLE AND HIS TEACHER, PLATO In Rhetoric (translated by W. Rhys Roberts), Aristotle explains that there are three divisions of rhetoric: political, forensic, and ceremonial. (See Book I, Part 3 at http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/rhetoric.1.i.html.) Politi- cal speeches urge listeners to take action or not take action; forensic speeches either attack or defend someone; and ceremonial speeches praise or blame someone. Aristotle also links each type of speech to time. Political rhetoric is for the future; forensic is for the past; and ceremonial is for the present. Aristotle's teacher, Plato, wasn't convinced that writing was a good inven- tion. Before the written word, songs and stories were passed down from ancestors orally. In the introduction to Committed to Memory: 100 Best Poems to Memorize (Turtle Point, 2000), editor John Hollander mentions a story in Plato's Phaedrus where Socrates talks about the Egyptian gods Thoth and Ammon. When Thoth shows his written characters to Ammon, Ammon scolds him saying, "This discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories. They will trust to the external written characters and not remember themselves."