Rhetorical Criticism and the Challenges of Bilateral Argument

Rhetorical Criticism and the Challenges of Bilateral Argument To assume editorial responsibilities for Philosophy & Rhetoric after Henry W. Johnstone was to have assumed rather a lot. He was, for starters, a philospher, and I am not. This much appeared to bother Henry not a bit, and in fact it proved the occasion of many productive discussions and facilitated my apprenticeship in ways for which I am still grateful. By trade a rhetorical critic, I was particularly interested in what might be called philosophical style, and in what sense that style might differentiate itself from modes of expression that characterize my disciplinary conventions. Pressed on the subject, Henry observed that one such distinction turned on our respective ways of initiating an argument. Philosophers, he said, start their arguments in mid-sentence. Now that is a curious thing to say, even by Henry's standards, and I have dwelt on it frequently in the years since his passing. At first I thought he must be referring to the various stratagems with which scholars inaugurate a line of thinking--the appeals to established literature, the staking of terrain within a crowded field of commentary, the documentary requirements that can burden the opening of a case nearly unto death. And indeed there http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy and Rhetoric Penn State University Press

Rhetorical Criticism and the Challenges of Bilateral Argument

Philosophy and Rhetoric, Volume 40 (1) – Apr 16, 2007

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by The Pennsylvania State University. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1527-2079
Publisher site
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Abstract

To assume editorial responsibilities for Philosophy & Rhetoric after Henry W. Johnstone was to have assumed rather a lot. He was, for starters, a philospher, and I am not. This much appeared to bother Henry not a bit, and in fact it proved the occasion of many productive discussions and facilitated my apprenticeship in ways for which I am still grateful. By trade a rhetorical critic, I was particularly interested in what might be called philosophical style, and in what sense that style might differentiate itself from modes of expression that characterize my disciplinary conventions. Pressed on the subject, Henry observed that one such distinction turned on our respective ways of initiating an argument. Philosophers, he said, start their arguments in mid-sentence. Now that is a curious thing to say, even by Henry's standards, and I have dwelt on it frequently in the years since his passing. At first I thought he must be referring to the various stratagems with which scholars inaugurate a line of thinking--the appeals to established literature, the staking of terrain within a crowded field of commentary, the documentary requirements that can burden the opening of a case nearly unto death. And indeed there

Journal

Philosophy and RhetoricPenn State University Press

Published: Apr 16, 2007

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