Teaching the Full Force of the Art of Argumentation: A Startling Claim by Apthonius

James Selby discusses the art of argumentation.

Aphthonius makes a remarkable and initially puzzling claim that stages five and six, Refutation and Confirmation, of his Prgymnasmata impart the full force of the art of invention (the first canon of classical rhetoric theory). This workshop offers a possible explanation by demonstrating how his curriculum trains the minds of our students to generate ideas or arguments on demand. We suggest that the first six stages of Aphthonius equip students with the Quality of Invention, the full force of the art, which later formal instruction in Rhetoric will enhance with Quality.

James Selby

Jim Selby has a BA from Oral Roberts University in English Literature and New Testament Literature and a M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has taught and administered at Whitefield Academy, a classical Christian school in Kansas City, for the last eleven years. Jim currently teaches Great Books/Humanities, Rhetoric and English Literature as well as Logic in previous years. Founder of Classical Composition he authored a writing curriculum used both in the classroom and in the homeschooling community.

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