Uncategorized

Rhetoric and Politics

Rhetoric and politics encompasses a heterogeneous area of research. There is a long history and study of the subjects that give anything but a straightforward conclusion regarding their interrelation. The core concepts that are discussed in these topics include leadership, power, inequality and values. In a bid to expound on the matter, this essay will analyze the writings of four individuals namely Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Wayne Booth. In addition, the analysis evaluates logical fallacies used by the authors.

            To begin with, Plato’s Gorgias discusses two conflicting kinds of rhetoric. Firstly, he describes rhetoric as a pseudo-art. He explains that rhetoric is a mere knack that is based on one’s experience and not on a person’s real knowledge of a subject matter. On the other hand, Plato states that the most important thing in a person’s life is to discover the truth. The writing is a debate/dialogue between Socrates and Gorgias regarding the influence and relevance of rhetoric and philosophy. Socrates writes, “Rhetoric is one of those arts that work mainly by the use of words” (Plato, & Sachs, 2012).

            Plato introduces the topic by providing a clear distinction between philosophy and rhetoric. He states that philosophy deals with truth while rhetoric deals with presentation or how the dialogue unfolds. He expounds the subject by stating that philosophy is considered an art of self-mastery. In contrast, rhetoric can be said to be the art seeking to master others. Plato describes oratory power as the ability to use speech in persuading judges in a law court, assemblymen or councilors in a meeting. His argument defends rhetoric by stating, “Nothing transcends human language or expression” (Plato, & Sachs, 2012). Principally, human beings are bound to the confines of language and oratory experience in order to eliminate mystery. In Gorgias, he deploys the rhetoric as a weapon that is capable of good and evil.

            In a bid to further elaborate the topic, Plato uses Socrates’ example of a shipwright or craftsman. He states that for every election held, the council should chose the most skilled craftsman to build the harbors and ships. The article further expounds rhetoric by mentioning the need to use rhetoric in a fair way. Rhetorician can speak for all men and they can persuade a multitude of them but only in a truthful manner. One should not take advantage of their skills/ knowledge by defrauding artists of their reputation. For instance, he writes, “For they taught their art for a good purpose, to be used against enemies or evil-doers, in self-defense, not in aggression” (Plato, & Sachs, 2012).

            In Wayne Booth’s rhetorical stance, he combined the study of literature and rhetoric. He argues that it is possible to teach the art of persuasion by combining three factors namely: mastery of the subject matter that one is speaking about, the audience that one is addressing and the influence generated by communicator’s voiced. Therefore, the concept of ‘rhetorical stance’ pays attention to the three aforementioned factors (Booth, 1983). Booth further explains rhetoric and politics by relying exclusively on mastery. This means that the rhetor persuades others with her knowledge which invariably leads to resentment rather than acceptance of the message. On the other hand, the advertiser’s stance persuades potential supporters by using strong statements without knowledge or understanding of the issues at hand. Essentially, Wayne Booth advocates for a rhetorical situation that balances the position of the speaker, audience and subject. In his article he writes, “Rhetorical stance depends on discovering and maintaining a proper balance among the subject, interest and peculiarity of the audience” (Booth, 1983). More so, he notes, “rhetoric is the art of finding and employing the most effective means of persuasion of any subject that is considered independent mastery of a subject.” He compares rhetoric to poetry or art but he improves the ideology by advocating for continued practice and experience. Therefore, the art of persuasion is learnt through experience (Booth, 1983).  

            Similarly, Aristotle explains rhetoric on tangible realities of the world by describing, organizing and classifying the subjects. His approach contrasts with Plato’s technique to philosophy by classifying different appeals or tools on the basis of persuasive arguments. In the first chapter, Aristotle discusses the importance of rhetoric by establishing pathos, logos to logic and ethos. Pathos appeal to emotion while logos appeal to reasoning (logic) and finally, ethos appeal on the character of the speaker. He highlights deductive reasoning by dividing and classifying phenomena. It inquires the reasons why speakers succeed through practice (Aristotle & Kennedy, 1991).

            The author further explains importance of rhetoric by using an example of administrators and law makers. Aristotle states that lawmakers should be capable of legislating and administering justice, and this can be made easier by the application of rhetoric. He explains this subject by using a speech on judicial species that is delivered in a court scenario. The agenda of the rhetoric is explained by employing two tripartite divisions.  Firstly, his speech produces persuasion using the character and secondly by evaluating emotional state of the audience. Thirdly, he considers the subject or argument targeted to its listeners. By referring to the speech, the jury had to judge whether a past event was just or contrary to the law (Aristotle and Kennedy, 1991).

            Aristotle also stresses rhetoric as a counterpart to dialectic. The two topics are substantiated by common features such as reliance on accepted sentences and dependency on the p principles of specific sciences. Also, rhetoric and dialectic depend on on the deduction and induction theories and they are both essential in practical and public matters. In his writing, he states, “One can use rational speech to unjustly do great harm or do good things” (Aristotle & Kennedy, 1991). Principally, Aristotle is convince that rhetoric useful in outwitting the audience by concealing their main aims.

            In Augustine’s From on Christian Doctrine, the author rebutes Christians’ who view rhetoric as a pagan artifact that should be eschewed.  Augustine explains that rhetoric can be used to prove truth as well as falsehood. He explains the subject by using infants who cannot speak but can only learn words from those who can speak. He writes, “If the hearers need teaching and are friendly and attentive, the matter treated of must be made fully known by means of a narrative” (Augustinus & Green, 1999). In a bid to further explain this point, his article writes, “It would be unwise to concede to concede the most useful persuasive tools to those with evil intentions” (Augustinus & Green, 1999). Therefore, to be persuasive, he recommended his audience to listen to the most eloquent Christians and imitate or apply what they see. Those individuals with eager minds are more likely to learn eloquence by listening to the eloquent rather than following the written canons of eloquence. If the capacity to learn this type of eloquence is missing, then it would be hard to comprehend the rule of rhetoric.

Conclusion

            In summary, the four philosophers analyze rhetoric and politics in different ways. However, most of them agree that the art of persuasion is gradually acquired through time and experience. Plato explains rhetoric by comparing it with philosophy. On the other hand, Augustine uses rhetoric to distinguish between the truth and falsehood. Aristotle explains the subject by classifying different appeals or tools on the basis of persuasive arguments. Lastly, Wayne booth writes that the art of persuasion is directly related to the subject matter, the audience and the influence generated by communicator’s voice.

Forces behind Population Change

            Researchers and demographers have always tried to forecast the population changes. There are various factors that play a major role in influencing the population. There are four forces that have been established to be the main influencers of population changes. These include fertility rates, migration, and the mortality rate.

            Fertility rates keep changing over time and this has an influence on the population. In cases where the fertility rate is high, the population grows at an increasing rate. Contrarily, a decrease in the fertility rate leads to a decrease in the population hence the alternating rates creates a disparity in population over various times. With regard to migration, the population changes only in some regions of the world. However, with constant movement of people from one area to another, the population of one area declines as the other increases.

            Mortality rate is another determinant that has a great influence on the dynamics of the population. Mortality rate is defined as the death rate of the population. The age structure of the population influences its mortality rate. The elderly and the infants are perceived to be at a higher risk of dying than the middle-aged. It is presumed that communities with high populations of either the elderly or infants experience variations in populations.

Effects of Urbanization on the Environment

            Urbanization refers to the increase in the population and the number of industrialization settlements being established. It involves the increase in the extent and also the number of urban centers. Due to increase in urbanization, there have been both negative and positive impacts. Increased levels of urbanization is caused by either natural or growth of the population or increased migration into the already established urban centers. The forces behind urbanization include opportunities and services that are perceived to be in the towns. In most cases, there are positive relationships between the national levels of population growth and the rate of urbanization.

            Urbanization causes various effects on the environment that lead to environmental degradation. Management of the urban environmental sustainability may pose difficulties. Some of the negative environmental effects brought by the increased urbanization include land insecurity within the regions close to the towns, poor water quality, and increased air pollution as a result of increased industrialization, noise pollution increases, and more waste disposal problems (Cui et al 2012). It is impossible to inhibit urbanization but the effects of the population increase may be controlled through imposition of certain measures by the responsible authorities.

Population Changes Approaches

            The structural functional approach defines the society as a structure that has several interdependent parts. It depicts the society with regard to the various elements such as traditions, norms, customs, and institutions. The societal structure is emphasized and placed centrally during the analysis. Many functionalist approach aspects are similar to those of other approaches. Some of these alike aspects are the function, influence and origin, as well as the evolutionary changes. External factors and conflicts tend to have an effect on the general population changes (Macionis 2011).

            Symbolic interactionism addresses the method in which people formulate and maintain the society through meaningful interrelations. The approach deems that the society ultimately shapes the character of an individual. Individuals within the society use designated signs and language during communication (Macionis 2011). The society has a role in influencing characteristics such as migration which is mostly a result of individual perceptions. If individuals decide not to relocate from one region, the population may not change but if the individuals migrate constantly due to negative perceptions due to influence from the society, the people emigrate from the area thus influencing the population dynamics.

            The other previously discussed approaches of sociology do not cover the issue of conflicts within them. The approach focuses on the society that is constituted of social bonds, interaction of the members, and the means of socialization. The approach also describes the society as comprising of stratified social classes that may influence the population negatively or positively towards changes (Macionis 2011). Under this approach, the population changes may be influenced by the aspects covered under this category such as the social bonds. Where there are no strong social bonds, the fertility rate may be influenced negatively hence lowering the population and vice versa.

Conclusion

            There are various forces that bring about divergence of the population over time. The changes also impact the environment if the population increases in the urban centers. These environmental issues affect the living conditions of the persons within the towns. There are various approaches that the governments and other responsible authorities that try to address the issues of the impacts of the urbanization on the environment. One of the most effective ways through which the environmental conditions can be addressed is through controlling the housing schemes within the towns so as to address the issue of housing problems. Also, there should be established measures that restrict the industries being set up within the towns.

Society and Technology

Question 1

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994 and involving 179 nations established that increased women’s responsibility and education would assist in the reduction of fertility rates. The International Conference pointed out that there is an inextricable relationship between population and education, and that if women are empowered, and their need for education and health are met, there would be both personal progress and balanced advancement necessary for reducing fertility. Furthermore, by increasing women’s responsibility and education, there would be a considerable reduction in cases of violence against women, advancement in gender parity, and give women more authority over their own fertility. By gearing toward providing universal education to women, therefore, the International Conference hoped it would concurrently reduce infant, child, and maternal mortality by guaranteeing women’s access to procreative healthcare by the end of 2015.

While the main objectives of the International Conference centred on the provision of global education with the hope of ensuring a decline in the rates of infant, child, and maternal mortalities, the sub-issues dealt with the need to pay more attention to the rights and needs of individuals instead of just focussing all resources in the attainment of demographic objectives (Dris & Jain, 2004). Similarly, the other sub-issues related to the need to reduce or eliminate the gap between more advanced and less advanced nations about life expectancy, pointing out the necessity of increasing life expectancy to at least seventy-five years or more.

Question 2

From a pro-growth viewpoint, a rapid growth of the world population is a desirable outcome as it has a positive bearing on the development of the economy by increasing demand for goods and services. Also, the occupation of different territories by an expanding population offers protection to those parts by discouraging occupation by external and neighbouring forces or nations. Lastly, supporters of pro-growth position indicate that population growth reinforces military and political authority.

On the other hand, those who support the use of birth control reiterate that the unmonitored growth of a population is solely responsible for increasing levels of abject poverty, diseases, environmental degradation, in addition to several other social challenges. They point to the necessity of using coercion to control undesirable population increases in light of the desperation of the situation. Also, they hold that the use of population programs, even though commendable, do not entirely address the emergency and lack the capability to deal urgently with the worsening situation.

The position of most Western countries is that even though there is great demand for fertility control in all nations, such a demand is yet to be met. Consequently, these countries are the biggest campaigners for the use of birth controls to regulate population growth, and they advocate for the unlimited provision of modern fertility control to willing communities. Being ardent supporters of birth control, they assert that population service programs fail to meet their objectives because of the inadequacy of birth control methods. Therefore, modern technologies need to catch up with current trends (Dris & Jain, 2004). On the other hand, non-western and developing nations’ viewpoints are quite similar as they view the use of birth controls a taboo and instead, view having more children a blessing.

Question 3

Rates of fertility in the world are calculated by taking measurements in several countries throughout the world and finding their average, which is consistent with the characteristics of statistics. Nevertheless, for fertility rates to have a significant impact on the population of the world, the word fertility rates have to take into consideration the rates of breeding of fertile women within a population. A side-by-side model would allow for the comparison of world fertility rates, current rates of fertility and the rate of population growth.

Question 4

The difficulty in applying carrying capacity to human populations is informed by the fact that unlike other organisms, whose movement are constrained by their food resources, human beings can change their environment. Because humans can use fertilizers to increase food harvests, they can move from one country to another (United Nations, 2000). For organisms, especially those living in the wild, they experience a slight drop back and increased occasions of disease transmission if they reach their carrying capacity, which is not the case with human beings. Similarly, the possibilities of contracting infectious diseases are limited by the availability of health care.

Question 5

Contrary to the misconception that the production of food has to increase in accordance with population growth, statistics show that the availability of food determines the growth rate of human population. Therefore, an increase in human population is always prompted by increased food production. Consequently, addressing the universal problem of rapid population growth requires an understanding of the nexus between increased food production and increases in population sizes.

Part II

By 2025, it is expected that the word population will increase from the current 7.2 billion to about 8.1 billion. In 2050 and 2100, it is expected to have reached 9.6 billion and 10.9 billion, respectively, mainly due to the reduced fertility in nations with large families and increased fertility in many nations with an average of two children (Stein, 2015). Least developed countries are characterized by large young cohorts with children below the fifteen years representing twenty-seven percent of the population and youths between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four making up another seventeen percent. The large and escalating numbers of kids and youths, currently at a combined 2.8 billion, poses serious educational, medical, and economic challenges for LDCs. There is a lot of persistency in the circumstances in the LDCs as twenty percent of the entire population is made up of people between the age of fifteen and forty. Compared to developed nations, children and youths make up sixteen and twelve percent of the population, respectively.

One similarity between developed and least developed nations, however, is that they are both characterized by a high concentration of people in the employment age of between twenty-five and fifty-nine years. The figures, respectively, are 608 million and 2.6 billion. Nevertheless, while the number peaked in more advanced nations in 2013 and are currently on a decline, in LDCs those numbers are always burgeoning (Stein, 2015). Consequently, the number of people in the working bracket is expected to increase by more than four hundred million over the consequent ten years.

Part III

The increasing population growth implies critical resources such as land and water will be greatly limited, thereby reducing access to resources required to meet the primary needs of a population. In the future attempts to increase food production will be hindered by the massive relocation of persons from rural to urban regions and unequal distribution of land, which, ultimately will deepen levels of poverty and accelerate land degradation (Stein, 2015). Considering that world population is increasing at the rate of nearly two hundred and fifty thousand people a day, there is the need to urgently meet food requirements. While currently, about four hundred people are chronically malnourished, this number is expected to increase to affect the more than eleven million children below the age of five dying annually from famine. Therefore, the rapid population growth, if not controlled, will cause land fragmentation and subsequently negatively affect the production of food.