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What is deliberative rhetoric?

Rhetoric is a discipline developed by Aristotle: it is the science of discourse , of how discourse is constructed. The term derives etymologically from the Greek words rhetoriké and téchne , art. In the Aristotelian structure, speech had three genres: the genus judiciale (the judicial genre), the genus demonstrativum (demonstrative or epidictic genre) and the genus deliverativum .(deliberative genre), which dealt with the exposition of political issues. Deliberative rhetoric deals with speeches intended to persuade the audience to perform certain actions. According to Aristotle’s definition, judicial rhetoric deals with past events, while deliberative rhetoric deals with future events. The political debate is framed in the deliberative rhetoric.

Aristotle Aristotle

According to Aristotle’s writings, deliberative rhetoric has to be a speech intended to exhort or persuade the audience to promote a future good or avoid harm. Deliberative rhetoric refers to contingencies within human control. As the speaker deals with topics such as war and peace, national defense, trade, and law, in order to assess what is harmful and what is good, he must understand the relationships between the various means and ends. Deliberative rhetoric is concerned with expediency, that is, it is concerned with the means to achieve happiness, rather than with what happiness actually is.

Philosopher Amélie Oksenberg Rorty asserts that deliberative rhetoric is directed at those who must decide a course of action, such as members of a legislature, and is generally concerned with what will be useful or harmful as a means to achieve specific ends. in defense, war and peace, trade and legislation.

Deliberative discourse is about what we should choose or what we should avoid. There are certain common denominators in the appeal that is used in deliberative discourse to exhort the audience to do or stop doing something, to accept or reject a particular vision of the passing of reality. It is about persuading the audience by showing them that what we want them to do is good or advantageous, and the appeals in the speech are basically reduced to what is good and worthy, and what is advantageous and conveniently useful. In turning the speech towards one of these two appeals, what is worthy or what is advantageous will depend to a large extent on the nature of the topic being addressed and the characteristics of the audience.


Amélie Oksenberg Rorty. The Directions of Aristotle’s Rhetoric . In Aristotle: Politics, Rhetoric and Aesthetics . Taylor &Francis 1999.

Antonio Azaustre Galiana, Juan Casas Rigall. An Introduction to Rhetorical Analysis: Tropes, Figures, and Syntax of Style . University of Santiago de Compostela, 1994.

Tomas Albaladejo Mayordomo. rhetoric . Editorial Synthesis, Madrid, 1991.

Tomas Albaladejo Mayordomo. Cultural Rhetoric, Rhetorical Language, and Literary Language . Autonomous University of Madrid. Accessed November 2021.