1

I've always understood that the term rhetoric specifically referred to the conveyance of some concept that is not represented at all in the literal meaning of the words used.

A few examples:
These refugees just keep crossing our borders.
Their crossing of borders is axiomatically bad.

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
We are the same.

These so-called experts think we need more supervision.
We don't need more supervision, and their expertise is in question.

I've just started digging into the subject of rhetoric, and found I've been very wrong in my definition, but still find the concept of that unstated component interesting.

Is there a term for it, and if so, what is it?

  • This sounds like subtext. – Josh Friedlander Apr 27 '17 at 6:50
  • Are these not just implications? An implicit statement meant to be inferred from the context of the explicit statement that is made? – Flater Jul 26 '17 at 11:16
  • You would probably learn a lot by reading the Wikipedia entry on rhetoric – WS2 Sep 24 '17 at 18:34
1

An argument with an unstated but implied premise is an enthymeme.

From the Silva Rhetoricae:

Enthymeme

  1. The informal method of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a "truncated syllogism" since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites.

The implicit premise itself doesn't have a dedicated term which I'm aware of, but you might call it a enthymemetic premise or a suppressed premise or even a tacit premise (as opposed to an explicit premise).

These are the kinds of premises embedded, but hidden, in loaded questions (in fact, they are the very thing the question is loaded with!).

0

You might call them assumptions, or presuppositions if you are referring to something more closely related to one's mindset or worldview.

Assumption noun 1 A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof:
‘they made certain assumptions about the market’
[with clause] ‘we're working on the assumption that the time of death was after midnight’
- ODO

Presupposition noun A thing tacitly assumed beforehand at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action:
‘both men shared certain ethical presuppositions about the universe’
- ODO

  • How about implicit assumptions or premises? – aparente001 Nov 28 '16 at 7:41
  • @aparente001 Implicit assumptions fall under the definition of presuppositions, as do premises, axioms and the like. – Lawrence Nov 28 '16 at 8:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.