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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agnosticism alternative analytic analytic proposition answer applied argument assumption attitude axiological behavior causal communication context convention corpse correlation criteria criterion deconstruction definition Derrida and Macksoud determine elegance empirical example explanation fact Fuzzy logic Humpty Humpty Dumpty hypotheses identity Illusions Imagine implies inclined interpretation iterability Jacques Derrida judgment justification Kenneth Burke language-using law of identity Law of Language limits linguistic literal logic Macksoud argues magician meaning metaphor metaphysical motive necessarily notion object objectivist observation Ockham's razor operative stimuli ordinary particular past experience perception perspective persuasion phenomena philosophical possible post-structural prediction problem proposition question radically strategic reason recontextualization reference relativity relevant response Rhetorical Theory rules scientific method scientist seen selection sense similarity sort statement stimulus-response stimulus-response model Suppose swine flu tell tests things tion truth undecidability understanding variables want to say words