Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 19, 2015

Demarcating Aristotelian Rhetoric: Rhetoric, the Subalternate Sciences, and Boundary Crossing

Marcus P. Adams
From the journal Apeiron


The ways in which the Aristotelian sciences are related to each other has been discussed in the literature, with some focus on the subalternate sciences. While it is acknowledged that Aristotle, and Plato as well, was concerned as well with how the arts were related to one another, less attention has been paid to Aristotle’s views on relationships among the arts. In this paper, I argue that Aristotle’s account of the subalternate sciences helps shed light on how Aristotle saw the art of rhetoric relating to dialectic and politics. Initial motivation for comparing rhetoric with the subalternate sciences is Aristotle’s use of the language of boundary transgression, germane to the Posterior Analytics, when discussing rhetoric’s boundaries, as well as the language of “over” and “under” found in APo. First, I discuss three passages in Rhetoric Book I and argue that Garver’s (1988) account cannot be correct. Second, I look to the subalternate sciences, especially focusing on optics and the distinction between “unqualified” optics and mathematical optics. Third, I discuss rhetoric’s dependence on both dialectic and politics.

Published Online: 2015-1-19
Published in Print: 2015-1-1

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston