Pullman begins chapter three by illustrating that deliberate practice leads to improved performance because it isn’t just repetition. It allows one to improve their skills by constructing new ideas via a process of trial and error. Pullman also mentions the five canons of rhetorical performance, which include, invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Each of these canons affects the intensity of an argument. The most interesting canon that Pullman illustrates is that of memory. He notes that memory doesn’t merely allow you to regurgitate what you read or hear, but it helps one become more persuasive and accepting of other arguments. I also found it interesting that the way in which an argument is presented (the medium) plays a major role in the acceptance of the argument. Since people read and think differently it is important how you decide to deliver a message. For instance, a teenager would be more inclined to read a twitter post rather than read a lengthy article from The New York Times.
In this chapter Pullman introduces dialectic, which he considers a mental discipline. I think that it is important to understand why Pullman delves so deeply into dialectic because it isn’t something that can be easily taught. This mental discipline involves testing beliefs in order to correct values and opinions. Therefore, this means that dialectic is a technique that involves investigation. Not only is it important for testing beliefs but when evaluating or creating arguments, “Dialectic is the conversational equivalent of reading against the grain.” (pg. 131)
Pullman’s suggestions on the ways in which Plato and Aristotle taught dialectic is also quite interesting because it illustrates the complex, yet ornate beauty of rhetoric. Plato taught dialectic in such a way that did not explicitly define the rules of it. Instead, he provided a series of examples to narrow down the idea of dialectic. On the other hand, Aristotle believed his “method of invention was superior.” (pg. 135) Aristotle created topics that illustrates various patterns that would promote further invention. I can appreciate this method more because it did not provide students with solutions, instead he taught them how to create their own. I believe that the creation of new ideas and the application of them to rhetoric help lead to a successful and more orchestrated mastery of the art.