Friday, January 23, 2009

January 23: Pascal Knew Men and Triangles (Vol. 48, pp. 400-411)

Blaise Pascal, the 17th century French philosopher and mathematician, tries to impose a mathematical formula to rhetorical skills in today's selection from his essay "The Art of Persuasion."

While there is a process, I don't think it can be easily boiled down to a formula. However, he doesn't discount the human element, and the universal need to be pleased. Pascal also believes that this is less apt to be reduced to a formula; that persuasion is as much pleasing as it is convincing. That much is undoubtedly true.

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