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Word Count: 2,085
Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton is a collection of essays arranged into a self-help-style book Its purpose is to find consolation for a variety of modern-day problems such as a lack of money or unpopularity within the works and beliefs of the great influential philosophers Rather than to support the idea of philosophy being out-dated and no longer relevant in our lives de Botton brings together the ideas of six philosophers to re-ignite its fundamental practicality Ben Rogers said in The Sunday Telegraph that de Botton has done a great service in reminding us of their existence When writing essays Cicero stated in his Rhetorica ad Herennium that there were six main rhetorical devices to implement Exordium catching the audience Narration setting forth the facts Division setting forth the points stipulated and points to be disputed Proof setting forth the arguments that support ones case Refutation refuting ones opponents arguments and peroration summing up the argument and stirring the audience We can see many examples of these requirements in De Bottons Consolations of Philosophy To look into de Bottons use of rhetorical technique it is easiest to progress through each essay and philosopher in turn One of the techniques we come across in the books first essay on the philosophy of Socrates is de Bottons use of images an example of exordium There are two main purposes of these pictures the first being to support the text by adding simple visual information The second concerns the choice of images included in the essay To start they seem naive lacking certain detail and of poor quality but this is not a result of poor choice by the author or even of lack of available material By choosing these humble images de Botton manages to make the book look and read more simply and in turn makes it more approachable to the average reader Secondly the position and order of the pictures is an important
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