The other cannot be absolutely exterior to the same without ceasing to be the other; and consequently, the same is not a totality closed in upon itself, an identity playing with itself, having only the appearance of alterity. --Jacques Derrida, Violence and Metaphysics (126) I have to confess that I often find it curious that many scholars align the study of rhetoric with the so-called linguistic turn in the human and social sciences. Indeed, rhetorical scholars frequently refer to a supposed "rhetorical turn" in scholarship that they treat as more or less synonymous with the "linguistic turn" of the last thirty years. For many, this "linguistic turn" indicates an intellectual trajectory wherein the signifying movement of language becomes the paradigm for analyzing a whole host of diverse phenomena. If this is the case, it's not clear to me that this paradigm is necessarily identical with rhetoric.1 Many scholars locate the kindred spirit of this linguistic turn in its emphasis on the primacy of language. But there are many different ways of prioritizing language, and for the discourses usually associated with the linguistic turn, this emphasis is on language as a signifying operation. That is, the linguistic turn's commitment
Philosophy and Rhetoric – Penn State University Press
Published: Apr 26, 2007
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