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Rhetoric, Emotional Manipulation, and Morality: The Contemporary Relevance of Cicero vis-à-vis Aristotle

Rhetoric, Emotional Manipulation, and Morality: The Contemporary Relevance of Cicero vis-à-vis Aristotle

Chapter:
(p.34) Chapter 1 Rhetoric, Emotional Manipulation, and Morality: The Contemporary Relevance of Cicero vis-à-vis Aristotle
Source:
Ethics and the Orator
Author(s):
Gary A. Remer
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226439334.003.0003

Although it is widely accepted that Aristotle forges a better relationship among rhetoric, the emotions, and political morality than Cicero, this chapter contends that Cicero, not Aristotle, offers a more relevant account of the relationship among these terms. It is argued in this chapter that, by grounding his account of emotional appeals in the art of rhetoric, Aristotle does not evade the moral problems originating in emotional manipulation. Moreover, Aristotle’s approach to emotional appeals in politics is static, unable to adapt to new political circumstances when compared to Cicero’s approach. It is suggested that Cicero’s approach to the rhetorical emotions is more acceptable to a modern audience than Aristotle’s because it is ethically based while also responsive to political realities. Cicero accommodates emotional appeals to circumstance based on his belief in decorum as a moral principle. Further, it is shown in this chapter that emotional manipulation in Cicero is not as problematical as it initially appears.

Keywords:   Cicero, Aristotle, rhetoric, political morality, emotional manipulation, emotions, decorum

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