Ars Topica is the first full-length study of the nature and development of
topoi, the conceptual ancestors of modern argument schemes, between
Aristotle and Cicero.
Aristotle and Cicero configured topoi in a way that influenced the
subsequent tradition. Their work on the topos-system grew out of an
interest in creating a theory of argumentation which could stand between
the rigour of formal logic and the emotive potential of rhetoric. This
system went through a series of developments and transformations resulting
from the interplay between the separate aims of gaining rhetorical
effectiveness and of maintaining dialectical standards.
Ars Topica presents a comprehensive treatment of Aristotle’s and Cicero’s
methods of topoi and, by exploring their relationship, it illuminates an
area of ancient rhetoric and logic which has been obscured for more than
two thousand years.
Through an interpretation which is philologically rooted in the historical
context of topoi, the book lays the ground for evaluating the relevance of
the classical approaches to modern research on arguments, and at the same
time provides an introduction to Greek and Roman theory of argumentation
focussed on its most important theoretical achievements.