Philosophy 331: Selected Topics: Reason and Rhetoric: Science, Spin, Sales and Sex

Fall Semester 2011 Day


INSTRUCTOR  Kent Schmor, WMX 5605



  • The Rhetorical Tradition, 2nd ed., Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg, Bedford/St. Martin's



What is the appropriate relationship between good reasoning and rhetorical techniques of persuasion? When do persuasive techniques become manipulative or at odds with the standards of good reasoning that you learned in a basic logic or critical thinking course? In this course, we'll look at these and other, related questions. Some of our analysis will be fairly abstract; this is a philosophy course, after all. However, we'll also be concerned with how these abstract analyses apply to the actual practices of science, politics, marketing and seduction. To this end, we'll look at a combination of traditional philosophical texts (starting with Plato and Aristotle) and some readings from the history and theory of rhetoric.



  • Attendance & Participation: 10% (includes weekly 1-page responses to readings)
  • Midterm exam - 20%
  • Paper proposal & draft - 5%
  • Paper-  35%
  • Final Exam - 30%

PREREQUISITES: PHIL 100 and (PHIL 201 or PHIL 203), or permission from the Instructor