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 ACC 120 - Introduction to Rhetoric and Argumentation


​Rhetoric and Argumentation is a skills course. No standpoint can be formed, no supporting arguments found, no paper written, no presentation given, no textual analysis conducted without knowledge of how and why rhetoric works. Therefore it is necessary for students to have a proper understanding of what rhetoric and argumentation involves and how it can be applied consciously. This course offers the skills students need to be able to structure any future academic essay or future oral presentation in a clear, persuasive and academic way. The course consists of a historical section, a theoretical section and a practical section. 

It begins by considering the Western roots of rhetoric. This will involve the reading and studying of texts by Aristotle, Isocrates, Demosthenes, Lysias, Cicero, Quintilian and St. Augustine. 

The sec​ond section of the course starts to focus on the first three canons of rhetoric applied to the three main types of argumentation, i.e. political (deliberative), legal (forensic) and ceremonial i.e. praise/blame (epideictic). These first three canons are (1) inventio: how to formulate a thesis and how, and where, to discover arguments in order to support that thesis --- (fallacies and the three appeals, logos, pathos & ethos, will be studied here too); (2) dispositio - how to order the arguments you have in order to make them most effective, and (3) elocutio - how to improve the persuasiveness of arguments by using style figures (tropes and schemes) in specific places of a discourse. The focus here will be primarily on written texts: identifying, analysing and reproducing. 

The third part of the course moves on from focussing primarily on written discourse to consider spoken discourse. The final two canons of rhetoric: memory (memoria) and delivery (pronuntiatio) will be the main concerns here. In this more practical part of the course, the emphasis will be on the more oral aspects of argumentation in the form of debates and individual persuasive speeches.


Rhetoric & Argumentation

Additional information

  • Compulsory for all Arts & Humanities students;
  • Strongly recommended for all Law and Political Sciences majors.


Required for

This course is required in order to take the following course:


  • ACC 220 Stylistics
  • ACC 221 Aspects of Rhetoric and Argumentation