judge, hammer, auction hammer

THE PRACTISE OF RHETORIC IN THE COURTROOMS

Abstract

Rhetoric is a figure of speech used for the primary purpose of persuasion. It may be used by politicians in a public speech about their agenda, by two individuals talking about the upcoming election, as well as by a journalist in a newspaper report. In this paper, I shall examine rhetoric as a way of communication in the courtrooms. I will be drawing a conclusive statement after examining the history of rhetoric, the difference between the ancient and the modern rhetoric, the use of moral and immoral rhetoric. All of which is mostly discussed through the ideologies of Plato and Aristotle.

KEYWORDS: RHETORIC, PLATO, ARISTOTLE, COURTROOM, LAW

INTRODUCTION

Rhetoric is the very art of convincing for a desirable action to occur. Rhetoric plays a vital role, in putting arguments in the most efficient manner and for desirable actions. The possibility that the rhetoric can still be attacked cannot be overlooked.

The use of rhetoric is not a new concept. But today rhetoric is badly reputed because it has a negative social connotation with disagreements. It is therefore important to understand the essence of rhetoric, to be able to use it wisely along with protecting ourselves from being falsely persuaded. The use of rhetoric has recently become very fashionable, thereby making it an important topic of discussion. The history of Rhetoric can be traced back to the Akkadian princess and in the Priestess Enheduanna writing, which were later exampled in the Sennacherib in the Near Assyrian Empire. In ancient Egypt, at least from the Middle Kingdom, rhetoric prevailed. It was a skill of great value. They also had specified rules as to when this art shall be used and made it very clear that knowing when not to speak is vital. As a result, “their approach to rhetoric reflected a balance of eloquence and deliberate silence.” In China, the rhetoric can be traced back to the ancient philosopher, Confucius. They emphasised on social conformity that maintains the conservative status quo and believed that it should represent and not threaten its citizens.

Research Methodology

Doctrinal research is utilised to cover all of the topic’s sources. Doctrinal research, often known as library research, is concerned with the reading and interpretation of primary and secondary data. I used materials from a variety of internet sites, journals, and student papers in my work.

Review of Literature

Hannusch, Shelly L., “Plato and the notion of a dialectical rhetoric: pedagogical implications for composition studies” (1992). https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/rtd/135

Plato’s rhetoric has been clarified by this paper. Plato has provided us with a powerful and successful method of inquiry. He has shown us the beauty as well as the dangers of language, and he has given us the means to comprehend and learn.

Danielle Barnwell, “Rhetoric and Law: How Do Lawyers Persuade Judges? How Do Lawyers Deal with Bias In Judges And Judging?” Department of English, Georgia State University https://scholarworks.gsu.edu/

This article has aided me in comprehending the proceedings in a law court, as well as the effective use of rhetoric when combined with the prejudices of lawyers and judges. It provided fuel for thought and assisted me in analysing the potential effect rhetoric could have on the legal profession.

Rhetoric& its principles (a review), https://courses.lumenlearning.com/sanjacinto englishcomp2kscope/chapter/research-rhetoric/

This article has aided me in developing an in-depth understanding of Aristotle’s rhetoric. It’s written in easy language and comes to a conclusion about ethos, logos, and pathos, as well as how they’re used together.

Emmanuelle Danblon. (2013). The Reason of Rhetoric. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 46(4), 493-507. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/philrhet.46.4.0493

This paper has aided in my knowledge of rhetoric as an anthropology of speech and as the foundation of society, as well as the importance of rhetoric in argumentation.

Research Aim and objectives:

The aim of this research paper to examine rhetorical communication in courtrooms.

Rhetoric in law courts

Rhetoricians use their appeal of rage, jealousy, and pity to drive the judges to their decision. Aristotle says that enable judges to take decisions on these grounds, implies “measuring something with a crooked ruler”. Aristotle therefore advises, “laws as much as possible define everything and leave as little as possible to the judges.” By restricting judge’s will, the advice of Aristotle also restrict rhetoricists’ control. As Aristotle says, “increasing the scope of the law could offer love, hate, or private interest, less scope”.

We could ask if the framing of laws itself would not include love, hatred, and private interest. Aristotle finds this interference to be less inclined to legislate than to judge because of the distinct existence of the two practices. As the rule applies to the entirety of society and may in the future, last as opposed to court rulings, including cases, the lawmaker is somewhat detached from his considerations that the judge ignores.

Whereas the judgment of the legislature concerning the structuring of the law “does not include a particular case, but is universal and involves the future”, Aristotle writes, the judgment of the judge, implemented in individual cases in the present case, is always “obscured by private pleasure and pain and cannot consider the truth adequately” Through their participation in the legislative process, men could be drawn from their personal needs to a public good conscience. It seems to Aristotle that the expansion of the application of the law excludes that of rhetoric, and to some degree that is valid. While there is less opportunity for rhetoric in human cases to indulge in pleasure and pain, rhetoric is more apt to divert men’s eyes from certain pleasures and sorrows from public or uniform legislative determination, in law-making.

It is the existence of a public sphere of dialogue, which makes human politics more a conflict of private desires and passions, which promotes the cities that are formed, the communities that speak of the advantages and of justice for the sake of life.

Paradoxically, deliberative rhetoric is not only a matter of public or general interest but also of a broader set of private interests and concerns than forensic. It is not only nobler and more statesmanship than forensic. To the degree that the Rhetoricians align public goods with personal interests while deliberating on the rules of his culture, his language presents a complex view of justice. This is not an art, that is morally neutral.

In contrast, the forensic rhetorician has no impulsion to look above individuals’ personal preferences for the common good or to change their position to take the needs of others into account. The complex interplay between public and private interests is what distinguishes Aristotle’s political life, is evident in legislation.

Concentrated in the enthusiasm of passion in the law courts, former philosophers neglected what is most important for the language of rhetoric is evidence. Although pisteis is generally translated to be “proof,” more broadly Aristotle means the pisteis “reason for or cause of belief.” Pistis are a way to persuade that the task is to find the rhetoric. According to Aristotle, the speech of the Rhetoric writer contains three types of pisteis. “The first lies in the character of the speaker, the second in disposing the hearer in a certain way, and the third in the speech itself, in what it proves, or appears to prove” The three rhetoric proofs thus point to the link between the listener and the speaker. Communication is rhetoric. In addition, in the best case the three proofs of rhetoric are indissoluble.

Aristotle’s argument distinguished the use of emotion from the forensic speakers he had initially criticised from the relation between reason and passion. While Aristotle’s passionate arguments did not apply to the merits of the case, his degree of passion was related to the argument of the speech itself. We would also especially consider the rhetoric to inflict wrath. Aristotle claims that indignation is the drive for vengeance if anyone seems to make him or his family or friends small and the minor is unjustified.

Although longing is excruciating, Aristotle says that joy follows rage because of the thought of vengeance that the angry man believes is possible. According to this analysis, rage is too intense a passion given what it produces, the man who is insulted is considered worthless.

In the first place to evoke indignation, the rhetorician must portray this practice as scandalous, alluring to his hearer’s sense of his own value, which has been exploited. His rhetoric would demonstrate that the man who rejected it failed to show respect. This manifests a sense of justice, which is based on human being’s ideals or integrity and can be protected by fair intervention. A man pursuing vengeance asserts by his actions, as the rhetorician does by his speech, that justice must be a matter of men’s interactions.

Aristotle even proposes the “excitement of fear” to be another way of “calming anger”. Much like Plato struggled to develop a craft of political rhetoric that represents the human essence of his beneficiaries, he did not develop a philosophy of equity. He did not believe that the political system, “be it the discourse of its rhetoricians or the justice of its courts of law, could demonstrate the moderation needed to make exceptions, given his understanding of the dichotomy between reason and passions and between the public and private dimensions of life.”

In their judgements and courtrooms, judges aim for a balance between fairness and justice. “Bias exists when either of these is harmed, or when judicial discretion appears to be handed out or enforced arbitrarily or capriciously. Because judges are human, they have preferences, and lawyers do not always know how to become familiar with judges’ styles and previous judgements, bias is inherent. Lawyers try to persuade judges that their argument is superior to that of opposing counsel and deserves to be heard. Understanding rhetoric provides lawyers with the tools they need to speak with judges successfully and win cases.”

In the courtroom, “the advocate’s weapons are methods, tactics, and strategies, all of which have in common the ultimate goal of persuasion.” The psychological process of perception is linked to the art of persuasion. In fact, an individual must apply their own sense of perception in order to accept or reject a lawyer’s case. As a result, the lawyer’s goal is to persuade his or her listener to change their beliefs, or, as Clements puts it, frame of reference. If a lawyer is effective in changing the listener’s vision, he or she can persuade a court to see facts and the law in the same light as the lawyer. This is because “a smart lawyer understands that narratives, ideas, and ideologies, not facts, are what fuel the world.” Rhetoric is used when a lawyer uses legal arguments with informal fallacies. “The lawyer can use the listener’s innate cognitive biases to persuade the listener to see things the way the lawyer sees things,” for example.

Lawyers are well-versed in their strategies and are aware of the intended impact of their arguments. Even though they are diverse in nature, excellent legal arguments and proper judicial proceedings invariably incorporate both sorts of reasoning errors, and lawyers and judges must be aware of their positive and bad implications. Individuals can think about specific information using informal fallacies, and this knowledge is used to regulate exactly what they perceive or come to believe. Not only do listeners, such as jury members, go through the persuasion and perception process, which is influenced by cognitive biases and informal fallacies, but lawyers and judges do as well. This is particularly true when a judge’s ideas and preferences are at play. “Judges, regardless of their political party affiliation or ideology, are all too capable of understanding and relating to a lawyer’s vision, rather than legal logic, and it is this link that ultimately produces a prejudice between the two. He goes on to say that some judge prejudice is conscious/crass, while others is unconscious/stable.”

A lawyer’s ethics is a potent tool for persuasion. Because many lawyers fail to see that not all audiences are the same, it’s critical for them to be able to properly recognise theirs. “A thorough understanding of human nature, habits, needs, and emotions is best served by a comprehensive comprehension of one’s rhetoric to one’s audience,” according to Paul Sandler. “Not every audience will share the same attitudes or ideas, nor will they understand the same type of data presented by a rhetor in the same way. Lawyers can also employ the five canons, which include invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery, as a guidance for writing speeches and other written work.

First, a lawyer’s case is frequently based on the invention process. “Discovering the best possible means of persuasion, according to Aristotle, is what invention is all about.” A lawyer must evaluate his audience at this phase, then gather all supporting evidence to put together his case. Facts, legislation, eyewitness testimony, and expert witnesses are all examples of evidence. Jan Schlichtmann, for example, spent over two million dollars on geographical records and medical reports in A Civil Action, and called in expert witnesses to testify”. Ultimately, however, all of the information he obtained was insufficient to win the lawsuit since he failed to show that the businesses had poisoned the water, and the Judge believed they had not. Again, different sorts of evidence and how that evidence is presented convinces different audiences, especially judges; consequently, it is the lawyer’s obligation to study his audience. He can accomplish this by “Reading a judge’s previous opinions and writings, contacting people who are familiar with the judge, witnessing the judge in other cases, and, in some cases, conducting Internet research on the judge are all things that can be done.” This type of background study will assist a lawyer in avoiding fighting against a client preconceived conceptions or even past opinions of a judge.

Next, the structure of a lawyer’s speech and written work has a big impact on his or her capacity to persuade. The structure of an argument conveys a sense of readiness, which a lawyer can use to establish his credibility, or ethos; also, arrangement, or the order in which facts and arguments are presented, influences perceptions and can strengthen or weaken a case. Arrangement is used by a lawyer when they organise the facts and all the applicable law. “Classical rhetoricians divided their speeches into six parts: an introduction, a narration of the facts, an outline of the speech’s structure, a proof of the argument, a rebuttal of opposing arguments, and a conclusion (or peroration)” in earlier centuries. Lawyers begin their cases with opening speeches, direct and cross examinations, rebuttal evidence, and finally closing arguments in modern language. A solid argument starts with the facts of the case, providing a road plan for the judge to follow so he doesn’t get lost. “Place the strongest points first, followed by lesser arguments, and closing with strong arguments says Cicero, an ancient Roman philosopher and jurist.A lawyer can develop ethos and begin to build on logos by drawing an audience in from the start. The attorney must make statements that persuade and convince the audience. Second, a compelling argument is supported by facts, such as credible testimony and/or circumstantial evidence, such as blood or DNA evidence.” Following that, it will be useful to highlight the flaws in the opposing side of the case in order to strengthen an argument.

The idea that the litigant generally has a “symbiotic connection” with the judges of the Court in general and that this symbiotic relationship transforms the Court’s agenda depends on a kind of court or a kind of litigant vs a person provides or responds to indications.

When it comes to bias in the courtroom, there is no apparent link between lawyers and judges. Regardless of prejudice, “the trial lawyer will utilise rhetorical tactics and talents to present clearer, logical arguments in the hopes that the argument would effectively persuade the court toward balance and justice. Judges and lawyers are both prone to bias, which causes them to hold opposing views on the law and values. Lawyers represent their clients in courtrooms. Lawyers build solid cases based on evidence and convey their clients’ positions by arguing legal points and interviewing witnesses using rhetorical strategies. Lawyers urge judges to rule in their favour by making opening and closing speeches. Judges preside over the proceedings, ensuring that all parties obey the rules and procedures in order to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.” Judges strive for balance and fairness in their judgements and courtrooms, as previously said. However, if either balance or fairness is ever harmed in any manner, bias will undoubtedly alter the trial’s outcome.

Suggestions

The distinction between Plato and Aristotle might be fascinating to think. Academics admire Aristotle for his reasoning, plain explanation or lack of passion: if again a set of character phrases, a well-finished thought and a diction is combined, you can’t almost deliver the requisite dramatic effects, and play that is insufficient in that regard, but has a plot and a work of art. (Aristotle Poetics 35)

Plato deliberately and imaginatively addresses his subject with a greater degree of moral and artistic zeal. “But the region above the heaven was never worthily sung by the earthly poet, or will it ever be. It is, however, as I shall tell; for I must dare to speak the truth especially as truth is my theme. For the colourless, formless, and intangible truly existing essence, with which all true knowledge is concerned, holds this region and is visible only to the mind, the pilot of the soul (Phaedrus 247c3-7).” The message of Plato is clearly apparent. “Moral discourse is not necessarily merely prudential discourse. The highest morality frequently demands the discourse of the true lover” (Winterowd14). Then, possibly, the rhetoric of Plato focuses on language as an act and a moral outcome.

Rhetoric is the art of using argument to persuade someone to believe something they don’t already believe. When utilised as legal precedents, the employment of rhetoric in a courtroom can be problematic since it can lead to a misleading reading of the law favouring the client at the time. To avoid falling into rhetorical traps, it is necessary to understand rhetoric in order to utilise it wisely and to be able to spot rhetorical methods. It can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how it is used.

Conclusion

Rhetoric is embedded in the core political and legal activities. Rhetoric is not all hollow words. Rhetoric is the study and practise of writing and speaking. Rhetoric can be used to express dissatisfaction, while rhetorical instruments can be used to convey compelling arguments. Understanding how to recognize examples for rhetoric may save you from being falsely challenged by the convincing quality of words. Plato’s views on compelling expression gives us a valuable range of methods in determining the importance of rhetoric in contemporary public life. His criticism describes, first, our propensity in democratic politics to respond suspiciously to the expertise of a convincing speaker. The concern here is not the use of convincing speech as a result, but to subvert, or eliminate, the capacity of critical judgment of an audience by a variety of successful rhetoricians. Plato’s criticism tends to illuminate not just the essence of bad rhetoric but also the nature of good rhetoric. When it is a self-moving matter to have a mind, and our capacity to think for ourselves is important to the self-motion of the soul, so a prudent use of rhetoric would encourage that ability. We should not react cynically if we meet convincing speakers of this type in the political field. Instead, such experiences should be encouraged, as they provide an opportunity to enlist our ability to see and appreciate our passions at the same time.

Aristotle, on the other hand, famously referred to as rhetoric as the “antistrophe” of philosophy. Thus, it indicated that all sciences were complementary, if different. The methods of philosophy’s theoretical discipline were considered as rhetorically by Aristotle: philosophy was used to discern reality, rhetoric to prove it. He warned against improvised or irrational use though, like Plato. Aristotle himself sees his rhetoric method as something beneficial, but rhetorical skill as such is not determined by good reasons for which rhetoric is useful. Aristotle thus would not fail to admit that his rhetorical art can be misused, on the one hand. However, on the other hand, it reduces the risk, offset by the benefits of rhetoric.