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

Apthonius makes a remarkable and initially puzzling claim that stages five and six, Refutation and Confirmation, of his Progymnasmata impart the full force of the art of invention (the first canon of classical rhetorical 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 Quantity.