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
Philosophy and Rhetoric – Penn State University Press
Published: Apr 16, 2007
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