Norms of Rhetorical Culture
Rhetoric is widely regarded by both its detractors and advocates as a kind of antithesis to reason. In this book Thomas B. Farrell restores rhetoric as an art of practical reason and enlightened civic participation, grounding it in its classical tradition--particularly in the rhetoric of Aristotle. And, because prevailing modernist world views bear principal responsibility for the disparagement of rhetorical tradition, Farrell also offers a critique of the dominant currents of modern humanist thought.
Farrell argues that rhetoric is not antithetical to reason but is a manner of posing and answering questions that is distinct from the approaches of analytic and dialectical reason. He develops this position in a number of ways: through a series of bold reinterpretations of Aristotle's Rhetoric; through a detailed appraisal of traditional rhetorical concepts as seen in modern texts from the Army-McCarthy hearings to Edward Kennedy's memorial for his brother, Mario Cuomo's address on abortion, Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique, and Vaclav Havel's inaugural address; and through a fresh appraisal of theories on the character of language and discourse found in contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, anthropology, deconstructionism, Marxism, and especially in Habermas's critical theory of communicative action.
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