A brief history of the French verb convaincre
Keywords:History of language
As a technical equivalent of the Latin probare or fidem facere, the French convaincre (“to convince”) does not appear in a rhetorical treaty before 1688 (via Pascal), for a simple reason: conuincere is not a technical word in the ancient or modern treatises in Latin. I will show that convaincre comes from another world, the disputatio, and contend that the goal it implies, uictoria, is not the goal of rhetoric qua rhetoric. With the distinction between rhetoric vs. disputatio, the rhetorical proof is equal in dignity to the scientific proof. Otherwise, it is necessarily inferior.
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