Home > Uncategorized > Downfall of rhetoric in 20th century

Downfall of rhetoric in 20th century

from Asad Zaman

One of most effective and powerful among modern forms of rhetoric is the use of statistics to conceal the ancient methods for persuasion. How this is done is the main topic of our essay.

In a sequence of posts ( Lies, Damned Lies, and StatisticsSubjectivity Concealed in Index NumbersThe Values of a Market SocietyCross-Country Comparisons of Wealth, and Purchasing Power Parity), I have tried to explain how the statistics we use conceal arbitrary value judgments. This is the modern form of rhetoric, which is deadly, because the values are built into numbers, hidden in the process by which the numbers are manufactured, and not open to discussion and dispute. The initial post gives a brief hint as to how this state of affairs emerged. This post elaborates some more on the history of how and why ancient forms of rhetoric were rejected in the 20th Century, and replaced by this modern form of rhetoric.  read more

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