John Macksoud's Other Illusions: Inquiries Toward a Rhetorical Theory
Craig Smith has provided an introduction and edition of John Macksoud's Other Illusions. This posthumous work, which was completed in 1973, reinforces a strain of relativistic theory that retrieves the Sophists and extends through Jacques Derrida to the present where many of us deal with constructed realities in our rhetorical theories. Macksoud was also offering a warning about pseudo-scientific research, a Philipic against the quantitative approach to communication theory. He not only attempted to reveal the rhetorical nature of their use of the scientific method, he tried to show that science itself was at base rhetorical. In form, the short book threatened the established order of the academic community. The book uses anecdotes, sayings, stories and even jokes to mark off sections and to initiate new lines of thought. These devices were deemed subversive rather than performative because they are rarely if ever used in academic prose and because the messages they carry undercut normal ways of thinking.
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