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Logic and Rhetoric

Logic and rhetoric are essential tools for effective communication. Students learn a systematic course in formal logic, rather than a sampling of logic topics. Traditional formal logic is an in-depth study of the syllogism, taught in the classic three-part method. Students learn the four logical statements, the four ways statements can be opposite, the three ways they can be equivalent, the seven rules for validity, and the medieval chant for the nineteen valid arguments. In Material Logic, the students learn the Ten Categories, the Five Predicables, the Four Causes, and the Five Elements of Classification, as well as their use in the art of thinking.

Students also learn Christian epistemology and study famous arguments from history, such as Descartes’ “I think, therefore, I am,” C.S. Lewis’ “trilemma,” St. Thomas Aquinas on the existence of God, David Hume on the problem of dil, and many others.

Classical Rhetoric is a guided tour through the first part of Aristotle’s Rhetoric. To the ancients, rhetoric was the crowning intellectual discipline, molding knowledge and logic into powerful tools of persuasion. To Aristotle, the art of rhetoric was the chief weapon in the service of truth.

Classical Rhetoric also familiarizes students with three model speeches as samples of the three branches of classical oratory: the “Appeal of the Envoys to Achilles,” from Homer’s Iliad; the “Apology of Socrates,” from the dialogue of Plato; and Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” Students will also be asked to analyze Marc Antony’s “Funeral Oration,” from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, as an example of a great speech that defies categorization.