thesis or theme thesis
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Theme or argument is "a logical examination of a subject under investigation" and could be political or theoretical in nature. It is the first exercise to introduce arguing on two sides of a given question. Typical subjects for political themes include matters one would debate in a deliberative body such as, Should the city be walled? and general social issues such as "Should one marry?". Speculative or theoretical themes included such questions as "Is the heaven spherical?" As opposed to the hypothesis (see declamation), the thesis was not applied to a specific individual or a given pragmatic concern, but argued generally (as the Commonplace progymnasmata exercise, from which it borrows its headings).

Directions for Composition

Examine a political or speculative question from both sides (thesis and antithesis):

  1. Begin with an exordium
  2. Add narratio , if appropriate
  3. Present confirmatory arguments (proof)
  4. Rebut opposition (refutation)
  5. Conclude with epilogue.
  6. In proceeding, consider arguments based on
    • legality
    • justice
    • expediency
    • practicability
    • decency
    • consequences
Related Figures See Also

Sources: Quintilian 2.4.24-25

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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