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Aristotle's Rhetoric is an ancient Greek treatise on the art of persuasion, dating from the 4th century BC. In English, its title varies: typically it is titled the Rhetoric, the Art of Rhetoric, or a Treatise on Rhetoric. Like the other works of Aristotle that have survived from antiquity, the Rhetoric seems not to have been intended for publication, being instead a collection of his students' notes in response to his lectures. The treatise shows the development of Aristotle's thought through two different periods while he was in Athens, and illustrates Aristotle's expansion of the study of rhetoric beyond Plato's early criticism of it in the Gorgias (ca. 386 BC) as immoral, dangerous, and unworthy of serious study. Plato's final dialogue on rhetoric, the Phaedrus (ca.370 BC), offered a more moderate view of rhetoric, acknowledging its value in the hands of a true philosopher (the "midwife of the soul") for "winning the soul through discourse." This dialogue offered Aristotle, first a student and then a teacher at Plato's Academy, a more positive starting point for the development of rhetoric as an art worthy of systematic, scientific study.
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