How Stories Seduce Us
About the Course
From the courtroom to the bedroom, arguments are woven throughout our private and public lives: they are how we decide what’s right, what’s true and what we should do. With examples ranging from Milton’s Paradise Lost to the legalization of same sex marriage and Donald Trump, Fish shows us how the rules of engagement shift between contexts - and how rhetoric is the key to success in all of them.
Drawing from his bestselling book Winning Arguments, Fish makes the controversial claim that facts are merely opinions that have been made to stick - and what makes them stick is nothing more than successfully deployed arguments.
Take the course to learn:
- What Milton’s Paradise Lost teaches us about the power of rhetoric and the first ever domestic quarrel
- The techniques Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony uses to provoke his audience to violence
- What characterizes Donald Trump’s rhetorical style – and how it breaks all the rules
- How the case for same sex marriage was really won through a cultural shift rather than careful legal argument
- The tricks climate change deniers use to sow doubt
- The Five Key Truths about domestic quarrels – and why self-help guides to marital harmony almost never work
About the Instructor
American literary theorist, legal scholar and public intellectual, NYU professor Stanley Fish is the author of Winning Arguments.
Part One: Rhetoric as a Malign Influence
Part Two: Rhetoric as a Positive Influence
Suggested Further Readings
Conway, E. and Oreskes, N. (2010) Merchants of Doubt, Bloomsbury Publishing
Fish, S. (2016) Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn’t Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom and the Classroom. HarperCollins