Annual Aristotle and Aristotelianism Conference



“Rhetoric and Dialectic”

Eleventh Annual Marquette Summer Seminar on

Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition

27-29 June 2016

Beaumier Conference Center B-C

Raynor Memorial Library

Presented by the Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy

and the Aquinas and the Arabs Project

Marquette University

Department of Philosophy

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This Conference is intended to provide a formal occasion and central location for philosophers and scholars of the Midwest region (and elsewhere) to present and discuss their current work on Aristotle and his interpreters in ancient, medieval and contemporary philosophy.

ATTENDING ONLY: Send Registration check with name, address, academic affiliation.


(fees cover breakfasts, refreshments, picnic dinner one night)

Advance Registration ($50 by check) Deadline: May 1.

NOTE => After May 1 Registration only at the door: $60 cash.

CHECKS SHOULD BE MADE OUT TO: Marquette University

(Fees are waived for Marquette students, faculty and staff for on campus events only.)


Registration Form.

=> ALL ATTENDEES (including the Marquette community) are asked to register.<=








(Registration fees are waived for members of the Marquette community.)


Print the Registration Form above and send your check made out to “Marquette University” to:

Owen Goldin

Philosophy Department

Marquette University

P.O. Box 1880

Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

For housing options, see the bottom of this webpage.

Conference Schedule 2016

All sessions will be held in the Beaumier Conference Center in the lower level of Raynor Library at 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave. (See below for location link.)

MONDAY JUNE 27 :  Beaumier Conference Center, Raynor Library 

9-10:15 am [1]  Prof. Robert Bolton, Rutgers University, “Aristotle's Techne of Dialectic”

10:20-11:35 am [2]  Prof. Colin Guthrie King, Providence College, “Endoxa and authority in Aristotle’s Dialectic and Rhetoric”

11:40 am-1:00 pm Lunch: suggestions: Law School Cafe, AMU (Student Union), Subway, Jimmy John’s Subs, local Pizza restaurant, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.

1:00-2:15 pm: [3]  Prof. Yosef Z. Liebersohn, Bar-Ilan University, “Formal Elements and a Formal Art in Aristotle’s Rhetoric”

2:20-3:35 pm [4] Ms, April Dawn Olsen, Tulane University, “Enthymematic Maxims in Aristotle’s Rhetoric”

3:40-5:00 pm [5] Prof. Gary Hartenburg, Houston Baptist University, “Dialectic in an Aristotelian Education”

6:00 pm  Picnic (TBA)

Carpooling available.

TUESDAY JUNE 28: Beaumier Conference Center, Raynor Library 

9-10:15 : [6]  Prof. Terence Kleven,  Central College, “Alfarabi on the Syllogistic Art of Dialectic”

10:20-11:35  [7] Prof. Mor Segev, University of South Florida, “And He Knew The Entire World Was Wrong”: Maimonides' Deviation From Aristotelian Dialectic

11:40 am-1:00 pm Lunch: suggestions: Law School Cafe, AMU (Student Union), Subway, Jimmy John’s Subs, local Pizza restaurant, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.

1:00-2:15 pm: [8] Prof. Eugene Garver, College of St Benedict & St John’s University, Minnesota, “Border Patrol in Aristotle’s Rhetoric

2:20-3:35 pm [9]  Prof. Norman Whitman, Rhodes College, “Rhetoric and Dialectics Employed by the Law-Givers in Medieval Jewish and Islamic Philosophy”

3:40-5:00 pm [10]  Dr. Gregory Sadler, Institute for Priority Thinking, “Akrasia Due To Anger: How Precisely Does It Work?”

6:30 - 7:30 - Reception at the Home of Profs. Richard & Carolyn Taylor

30 miles Northwest of Milwaukee on Friese Lake.

(4938 Lakeview Avenue, Hubertus, WI 53033)

7:30 Dinner at the Fox and Hounds Restaurant

carpooling available

WEDNESDAY JUNE 29: Beaumier Conference Center, Raynor Library 

8:30- 9:45 am [11] Prof. Owen Goldin, Marquette University, “Pistis in Aristotle”

9:50- 11:05 am [12] Mr. Ricardo Gancz, Bar-Ilan University, “Phantasia, Rhetoric and Dialetics in Aristotle”

11:10 an -12:25 pm [13] Ms. Usha M. Nathan, Columbia University, “Why is persuasion by pathos not coercive?”


1. Robert Bolton, Rutgers University, Aristotle's Techne of Dialectic”

  1. 2.Colin Guthrie King, Providence College, “Endoxa and authority in Aristotle’s Dialectic and Rhetoric”

Aristotle famously conceives of rhetoric as the counterpart of dialectic, since both concern things in some way common for all to discern and not in the domain of any special science (Rhet. A 1, 1354a1–4). The purpose of this paper is to explore the common, non-scientific objects of dialectical and rhetorical argumentation through the concept of endoxa. I argue that this concept, central in both Aristotle’s theory of dialectical and rhetorical argumentation, serves to orient the arguer for the selection and ranking of basic premisses in non-scientific fields of discourse. A key but seldom appreciated feature of the concept for this purpose is, I argue, expressed in the notion of authority.

  1. 3. Yosef Z. Liebersohn, Bar-Ilan University, “Formal Elements and a Formal Art in Aristotle’s Rhetoric”

One of the main problems in Aristotelian scholarship is determining Aristotle's exact attitude towards rhetoric as an art. In this presentation, I shall concentrate on one related question: is rhetoric a formal art? No doubt in the Rhetoric there are traces of formality alongside other features which point to rhetoric's materia, and scholars have been arguing for and against accordingly. In this presentation I shall suggest an alternative answer. I shall argue for a vacillation in Aristotle's conception of rhetoric, which both reflects the specific historical position of rhetoric in his days, and at the same time locates him and his discussions of rhetoric in an intermediate stage between the traditional ancient Greek concept of art and our modern concept. While the traditional attitude could not even envisage combinations such as 'formal art', while the modern, present-day attitude sees in such combinations a rather natural expression, or at least an option, I shall be claiming that Aristotle identifies in rhetoric formal elements, but that he still does not attribute these characteristics to the very essence of the art. In fact Aristotle paves the way for one of the most important metamorphoses the notion of art has gone through from ancient times to the present day.

4. April Dawn Olsen, Tulane University, “Enthymematic Maxims in Aristotle’s Rhetoric

There is general agreement about the centrality of the enthymēma in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, but far less agreement about how and why it plays this central role. My paper will argue that the enthymeme is best understood through its relationship to the gnōmē or maxim. The enthymeme is initially defined as rhetorical demonstration (I.1.11), and as such it is related to the paradigm, just as the deductive syllogism is related to induction in dialectic.  However, Aristotle unexpectedly inserts gnōmē between his later discussions of paradigm and enthymeme (II.21).  Maxims are there defined as partial enthymemes because they do not state the cause behind our general assertions regarding actions. Thus the reduction of an enthymeme to a maxim seems easy, but changing a maxim into an enthymeme requires knowledge of the cause (III.17.17).  Given this relationship to gnōmē, enthymemes can be understood as that “contemplation of the cause” by means of which the art of rhetoric itself is said to be possible (I.1.2).

5. Gary Hartenburg, Houston Baptist University, “Dialectic in an Aristotelian Education”

In the Politics, Aristotle notes (8.1) that a city that neglects the education of its young hurts itself, and then he gives a general description of the type of education a good city should adopt. However, he makes no mention of how cities should undertake instruction in dialectic, and it is difficult to see where training in dialectical skill fits into the plan of education outlined in the Politics. By drawing out the connection between leisure (scholē)--Aristotle's stated goal of a good education--and dialectic, this paper explains how dialectic fits into an Aristotelian plan of education. It then compares this with the place education in dialectic came to occupy in some educational institutions organized by Aristotelian principles and explains some discrepancies between the two.

  1. 6.Prof. Terence Kleven, Central College, “Alfarabi on the Syllogistic Art of Dialectic” 

“Alfarabi on the Syllogistic Art of Dialectic”

Near the beginning of Alfarabi’s Book of Dialectic (Kitāb al-Jadal), he makes this statement: “This [Dialectic] is a genus that comprises the five syllogistic arts.” The five syllogistic arts are rhetoric, poetry, sophistry, dialectic and demonstration,” and, thus, each of these arts, including demonstration as well as dialectic itself, are species of the architectonic art of dialectic. It is not problematic to comprehend that dialectic may be both a genus and a subordinate species because the term may be equivocal and the art as a species may not be identical to the art as a genus. But what does he intend with the statement that dialectic is a genus of which demonstration is a species? The purpose of this essay is to make an inquiry into Alfarabi’s account of the relation between dialectic and the other syllogistic arts in order to indicate why he thinks dialectical syllogisms are essential to all science. 

7. Prof. Mor Segev, University of South Florida, “‘And He Knew The Entire World Was Wrong’: Maimonides' Deviation From Aristotelian Dialectic”

In the Treatise on Logic, Maimonides accepts the reliability of 'generally accepted opinions' (al-mashūrāt), relative to their prevalence, following Aristotle's acceptance of the truth of the endoxa held by all people. However, in the Guide, Maimonides downplays the status of such opinions and uses them rarely, invariably supporting them with scriptural, rabbinic or philosophical sources. I argue that Maimonides' deviation from Aristotle's dialectic on this point is best explained by his stance on creation. Maimonides thinks it used to be universally accepted that the world is eternal a parte ante. Had he considered universal endoxa reliable, he would have had to accept Aristotle's position on this crucial issue (which Maimonides thinks cannot be settled through demonstration). Maimonides' solution is to criticize the use of universal endoxa, as is reflected e.g. by his description of Abraham as a philosopher who opposed the dicta of the star-religion universally accepted in his day.

  1. 8.Prof. Eugene Garver, College of St Benedict & St John’s University, Minnesota, “Border Patrol in Aristotle’s Rhetoric

Aristotle cannot define the art of rhetoric by genus and differentia; instead, in addition to giving a definition at the beginning of the second chapter, he contrasts rhetoric with four near neighbors. I want to look at those four delimitations of rhetoric formed by four contrast classes. I then, in the second section, tie those four to Aristotle’s four causes. In the third and final section I look at four contrasts Aristotle does not draw, and highlight the implications of those four for his vision of rhetoric. Rhetoric is an art of persuading about any subject. The subject-matter of rhetoric is undefinable. Yet the art of rhetoric itself is definable; Aristotle defines it: Rhetoric, he says, is a faculty of finding the available means of persuasion (I.2.1355b20). The need to lay out these additional borders comes from the fact that rhetoric is a definable art about an indefinite subject-matter.

As a general orientation, I want to lay out the four boundaries of the art of rhetoric. The Rhetoric begins by criticizing handbook writers that teach people to persuade by speaking outside the subject and provoking emotions irrelevant to the decision at hand. Their only criterion for excellence is success at persuading an audience, and so this is a putative art of persuasion that has nothing normative about it. Second, he divides rhetorical proofs (pisteis) into those produced by the art and atechnoi, which the speaker merely has to use rather than invent or find (heurein) (I.2.1355b35ff), and he examines the atechnoi in detail in I.15. Third, he says that someone engaging in rhetoric can inadvertently find herself arguing from a scientific principle instead of a rhetorical topic, and so rhetoric is bordered by scientific knowledge. And finally, in Book III, he contrasts the reasoning that is the body of persuasion with its accessories, necessary—style and arrangement—and unnecessary—delivery. Each of these four activities outside the bounds of rhetoric is more complication and interesting than it might initially be thought.

In what follows I will correlate the difference between Aristotle’s Rhetoric and the handbook writers or sophists with whom he begins as a difference in final causes or ends, the distinction between technical and atechnical proofs as alternative efficient causes for achieving the end of rhetoric, the difference between rhetorical argument and reasoning based on scientific principles as a difference in formal causes that define and structure one’s reasoning, and the difference between the enthymeme and style and arrangement as a difference between the substance of rhetoric and its material causes.

In the final section of the paper, I point to four distinctions that Aristotle does not draw between rhetoric and a possible competitor. First, proofs and apparent proofs are equally within the province of rhetoric. Apparent proofs are neither a corruption of rhetoric nor a concession to impatient or prejudiced hearers, but are part of the art of rhetoric, as they are part of dialectic. This leads, second, to the most surprising distinction Aristotle does not draw, that between rhetoric and dialectic. The first line of the Rhetoric says that rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic. The enthymeme is a rhetorical syllogism, and the example the rhetorical counterpart of induction, but rhetoric and dialectic are both universal arts and so cannot be distinguished by subject-matter. Roman rhetoricians distinguish the two, but while Aristotle certainly says that they are distinct, their differences are not used to delimit the art of rhetoric. Aristotle does distinguish persuasion from teaching in I.1, but he doesn’t use that distinction to separate off rhetoric from dialectic. Third, Aristotle has nothing to say about the relation that so engaged Plato between rhetoric and phronêsis, practical wisdom. The sophists who claimed to teach virtue assimilated rhetorical facility to practical wisdom, but Aristotle has no interest in engaging them on this point. And last, while Book III makes comparisons between the style of oratory and that of tragedy, and contains cross-references to the Poetics, he never tries to find the nature of rhetoric through a comparison to poetics.

9.  Prof. Norman Whitman, Rhodes College, “Rhetoric and Dialectics Employed by the Law-Givers in Medieval Jewish and Islamic Philosophy”

Aristotle notes in the Posterior Analytics that “all teaching and all learning through discourse proceed from previous knowledge.” Yet, for Aristotle, dogmatic adherence to one authority or text cannot be an expression of knowledge and the living enterprise of philosophy.  Philosophy must always use dialectical definitions that challenge accepted opinions and render them expressions of knowing.  Additionally, Aristotle’s claim that rhetoric is an aspect of dialectics is justified since dialectic seeks to challenge accepted opinions via a historically appropriate definition. As a result, rhetoric can employ ethical and political devices to provoke the knower to “abandon” endoxa and transform their static and authoritative position into the habit of thinking informed by their tradition.  In this paper, I will show how medieval Jewish and Islamic Aristotelians viewed the law-givers of their respective communities as masters of rhetoric and dialectics in the service of generating knowledge for and through their intellectual-political traditions. 

10. Gregory Sadler, Institute for Priority Thinking, “Akrasia Due To Anger: How Precisely Does It Work?”

In his discussions of anger (orgē, thumos) and lack or loss of self-control (akrasia), Aristotle’s thought advances beyond his predecessors, but provides only outlines for a more fully systematic treatment. He also connects these two matters in specifying that anger can be a cause or a modality of akrasia.  Drawing particularly though not exclusively on passages from the two Ethics, the Rhetoric, the Politics, and the Topics this paper exegetically reconstructs a fuller Aristotelian account of how akrasia due to anger arises from causes, works in its processes, and produces its characteristic effects.  Particular attention is devoted to setting out how in such akratic episodes, as well as in the akratic but not vicious person, anger as an emotion seduces or subverts practical reasoning into its own service.

11. Owen Goldin, Marquette University

Within the Posterior Analytics, Aristotle argues that the first principles of a science must be grasped with a higher level of pistis than the propositions that are demonstrated on their basis.  If we interpret pistis as conviction or certainty, this is a perplexing claim, as it would seem that a conclusion inferred on the basis of certain principles, alone, would be likewise certain.   How is the cognitive grasp off a principle stronger or more secure than that of a derivative conclusion?

            In this paper I shed light on this issue through an examination of Aristotle’s use of the term pistis, primarily within the Rhetoric.  When employed in regard to a psychological state (in contrast to a logos that leads to this state) the term does not refer to an epistemological state of certainty, as we understand it in light of the sorts of arguments entertained by the ancient skeptics and Descartes.  Pistis is a psychological state of reliance, providing a support for action.  The rhetorician does not try to instill a belief impervious to doubt, but to provide a basis that is considered reliable or secure enough for doing something – whether making a legal judgment (which ramifications for the parties to a case), a political decision, or verbal praise or blame.  Pistis is a crucial element in the psychology of praxis; it is not, primarily, an epistemological matter.  In the context of science, too, pistis is reliance on demonstrative arguments as providing grounds for doing something, in this case, for making certain statements and offering certain arguments, in pedagogical or dialectical contexts.​

12. Ricardo Gancz, Bar-Ilan University, “Phantasia, Rhetoric and Dialetics in Aristotle”

This paper will deal with the following three central questions of Aristotle’s Rhet 1.1: First, there are scholars who read this chapter as reflecting an earlier Aristotle whose understanding of rhetoric is different from what features in the rest of the book. Second, regarding what the meaning of pistis is. Third, regarding what is the relationship between Aristotle’s understanding of rhetoric and dialectics. I propose an explanation of what is rhetorical persuasion based on Aristotle’s psychology, in particular how aisthetike and bouletike phantasia play an important part in it. This reading allows me to present a more nuanced view of pisteis as things that are intended to produce persuasive effects by verisimilitude. This explanation coupled with the psychological understanding of persuasion allows me to consider Rhet 1.1 as part of the whole treatise and to better understand how rhetoric can be a counterpart of dialectics.

13. Ms. Usha M. Nathan, Columbia University, “Why is persuasion by pathos not coercive?”

Abstract: Aristotle defines persuasion by pathos as “putting the hearer in a certain frame of mind” (Rhet.1356a2-4). But while Aristotle offers pragmatic reasons for this mode of persuasion, it's not obvious how it can be legitimate--for one might worry that the hearer is being coerced and her mind shaped merely according to the will of the rhetorician (cf. Gorgias, "Helen"). I argue that Aristotle has the resources to respond to such a challenge.  He holds (1) that the hearer, as an adult, is responsible for how things appear to her, since she is responsible for her affective dispositions (hexeis). Further, (2) the rhetorician's appeals are constrained by shared ethical practices and norms, given that he appeals to general affective dispositions that are arguably culturally shared, and only employs culture-specific knowledge (eikota) and reputable opinions (endoxa) of a group. Thus it seems that the audience would reflectively endorse its affective responses and relevant evaluations.

Housing Options

Among the most convenient local hotels are the four star Ambassador Hotel and the less expensive three star Ambassador Inn across the street.

See  and respectively.

Housing available at Marquette University

Room Block Dates: June 26, 2016 departing on June 30, 2016

Sleeping Room Summary

Sun., June 26 – 10 rooms

Mon., June 27 – 10 rooms

Tues., June 28 – 10 rooms

Wed., June 29 – 10 rooms

Nightly Room Rates

Straz Tower
Single Occupancy                                   $52.50       
DoubleOccupancy                               $76.00

Triple Occupancy                                   $85.00

Quad Occupancy                                     $94.50

Cut-Off Date

Cut-off date: May 26, 2016. Rooms requested after the cut-off date are subject to availability.
Check in time: After 3 p.m.*
Checkout time: Prior to 10 a.m.*
* These times are based upon Central Standard Time.

Reservation Procedures

Method of reservation is Individual/Direct. Individuals are requested to call 414-288-7887 for reservations. Individuals should let the reservations assistant know they are associated with the Aristotle Conference. 

Guaranteed Reservations

All reservations must be guaranteed with a valid credit card number. MasterCard or Visa are accepted.  Failure to check-in as scheduled without canceling the reservation at least 48 hours prior to the date of arrival will result in the guest being charged one night’s room. Failure to check-out at the posted time on the date of departure will also result in a penalty fee. There are no refunds for early departures.

Additional Policies

Rooms reserved under room blocks are not guaranteed to be located in the same area of the residence hall. It is our policy to try to keep all groups together, but special requests at times prohibit this from happening.

There is a $5 lockout policy to any guest who is locked out of his/her room.  There is a $75 key replacement fee that is billed to the guest for any key that is lost or not returned upon checkout.  Rooms are re-keyed immediately for security reasons; therefore, we cannot issue refunds for guests who send in or return keys after checkout time. 

Each guest is expected to leave his/her guest room in the same condition in which it was found at check-in.  Any damages sustained to the room during the guest’s stay will be billed directly to the guest.  Any damages noticed by a guest should be brought to the immediate attention of the desk staff.

Force Majeure

Neither party shall be considered in default in the performance of its obligations under this Agreement if such performance is prevented or delayed by Force Majeure. "Force Majeure" shall be understood to be any cause which is beyond the reasonable control of the party affected and which is forthwith, by notice from the party affected, brought to the attention of the other party, including but not limited to, severe weather, war, hostilities, revolution, civil commotion, strike, lockout, epidemic, accident, fire, wind or flood or because of any law, order, proclamation, ruling, regulation or ordinance of any government or subdivision of government or because of any act of God.

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