Ramus the Radical

Pattie Crider

WRT 305

Response 14

October 11, 2013

Ramus the Radical

Ramus was intent on separating philosophy and rhetoric and redefining rhetoric as a whole. His method of arguing was rather harsh as he called out Quintilian. I was particularly struck by his argument about the morality of rhetors and basically stating that one did not have to be of high ethics to speak rhetorically. This was the complete opposite of what we have been learning, but a more honest approach.

Perhaps Ramus, with his graphic representations, was onto something, other than bashing other rhetors. Ramus came from a lowly background and had to work as a servant to the wealthy kids in college as he earned his degree.  Maybe this made him a little bitter. No matter the reason, he believed that rhetoric consisted of only style and delivery and morality had nothing to do with the process. Even if Ramus was incredibly rude and was eventually murdered, I have to agree with him. The morality of a person really has nothing to do with their ability to teach.

Ramus didn’t believe the skills taught at college would prepare students for using rhetoric after graduation. He wanted rhetoric and logic separated and more focus placed on effective language, even language other than Latin. He also recognized the importance of language being recorded and happily sent his work off to be printed. His focus on dialectic dealt with reason and grammar while rhetoric dealt with speech and was split between style and delivery.

Basically, Ramus broke away from the 5 canons and developed his own concept, breaking the rules that had been written in the past. This rule breaking and rudeness is what most likely cost him his life but he was alive long enough to make his ideology known.

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