Deep Rhetoric Philosophy, Reason, Violence, Justice, Wisdom
by James Crosswhite
University of Chicago Press, 2013
Cloth: 978-0-226-01634-4 | Paper: 978-0-226-01648-1 | Electronic: 978-0-226-01651-1
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.001.0001
ABOUT THIS BOOKAUTHOR BIOGRAPHYREVIEWSTABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

“Rhetoric is the counterpart of logic,” claimed Aristotle. “Rhetoric is the first part of logic rightly understood,” Martin Heidegger concurred. “Rhetoric is the universal form of human communication,” opined Hans-Georg Gadamer. But in Deep Rhetoric, James Crosswhite offers a groundbreaking new conception of rhetoric, one that builds a definitive case for an understanding of the discipline as a philosophical enterprise beyond basic argumentation and is fully conversant with the advances of the New Rhetoric of Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca.

Chapter by chapter, Deep Rhetoric develops an understanding of rhetoric not only in its philosophical dimension but also as a means of guiding and conducting conflicts, achieving justice, and understanding the human condition. Along the way, Crosswhite restores the traditional dignity and importance of the discipline and illuminates the twentieth-century resurgence of rhetoric among philosophers, as well as the role that rhetoric can play in future discussions of ontology, epistemology, and ethics. At a time when the fields of philosophy and rhetoric have diverged, Crosswhite returns them to their common moorings and shows us an invigorating new way forward.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

James Crosswhite is associate professor of English at the University of Oregon. He is the author of The Rhetoric of Reason, and has directed writing programs at the University of California, San Diego, and at the University of Oregon, where he founded the Program in Writing, Speaking, and Critical Reasoning.

REVIEWS

“Committed to an idea of rhetoric that addresses and leads others to transcend themselves, James Crosswhite enacts the role of a thoughtful lecturer engaged in a serious inquiry. His readings are compelling and careful and fresh—Deep Rhetoric will be essential reading for almost every serious thinker eager to find a basis for making good arguments in our time.”
— Don Bialostosky, University of Pittsburgh

“This is not just a study of but a call for reconfiguration of the disciplines. Recognizing the depth of rhetoric as a general paideia. James Crosswhite broadens the scope of deep rhetoric beyond argumentation and repositions rhetoric in relation to the whole liberal arts curriculum. Rhetoric’s tradition grants it the right to make this challenge, and this is the right time for it.”
— John Arthos, author of Speaking Hermeneutically: Understanding in the Conduct of a Life

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0001
[philosophy, rhetoric, reconceptualizing, deep rhetoric, philosophical theory, rhetorical theory]
This book addresses the conflict between philosophy and rhetoric, but is not a direct attempt to resolve the controversies as they have traditionally been formulated. The aim, rather, is to engage in a reconceptualizing of rhetoric in a way that develops its deeper philosophical dimensions. The chapters in this book inevitably go back and forth across deep rhetoric, a philosophical theory of rhetoric, and rhetorical theory. One movement of the work is to pursue rhetorical theory in order to discover, explore, and activate its neglected philosophical background. Another movement is to pursue deep rhetoric for the purpose of preparing for more philosophically informed rhetorical theory. Rather than attempting to construct a new rhetorical theory, the book attempts to paint a new rhetorical imaginary—a background against which we can do our thinking about rhetoric and rhetorical theory. (pages 1 - 15)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0002
[deep rhetoric, ordinary rhetoric, evidence, language, human transcendence]
This chapter addresses the question of deep rhetoric by explaining what ordinary rhetoric is and then describing the difference between deep rhetoric and ordinary rhetoric. In the last few centuries, rhetoric has been relegated to little more than a derogatory term that implies a manipulative and dishonest use of language, a use of language that tries to trick or coerce people into believing something that they would not believe on the basis of the evidence alone. This notion is far from much of what has been written about rhetoric throughout history and drastically out of line with the idea of rhetoric developed in this book. Rhetoric is a form of human transcendence, a way we open ourselves to the influence of what is beyond ourselves and become receptive, a way we learn and change. Rhetoric is also a way the world and others become open to us, open to our giving and our participation. (pages 16 - 63)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0003
[rhetoric, communication, philosophical endeavor, logos, ideology, philosophical rhetoric]
The previous chapter presented a distinction between two kinds of rhetoric—rhetoric as a specific art or discipline that treats communication in specific, limited contexts, and rhetoric as a more philosophical endeavor that is concerned with logos itself in all of its dimensions and uses. This chapter is primarily concerned with the latter kind, which is more like the deep rhetoric this book is trying to define. It begins by addressing the question of ideology directly, and connecting the project of a deep rhetoric with the history of philosophical rhetoric in the twentieth century, especially after the Second World War. Tracing the historical development of deep rhetoric will help in giving further definition to the idea, explaining the practical significance of deep rhetoric, and clarifying the nature and the value of rhetoric as a discipline—as a field of teaching and research. (pages 64 - 105)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0004
[rhetoric, communication, deep rhetoric, plato’s dialogues, gorgias, conceptual alienation]
This chapter argues that rhetoric is not a discipline but is, in a way, metadisciplinary; it is a way of understanding not only all language and symbolic activity but also all communication. Since deep rhetoric is, in some respects, a return to philosophical concerns and approaches to rhetoric that are found in Plato’s dialogues, it is worth exploring this connection explicitly. Plato’s dialogues explore several conceptions of rhetoric that are incompatible with one another, and have been read as attacks on rhetoric. Approached in the light of a deep rhetoric, however, they read quite differently. The following sections track Plato’s wrestling with the possibility of a deep rhetoric, particularly in the Gorgias. Rhetoric cannot be rhetoric and philosophy cannot be philosophy until their conceptual alienation from one another is overcome. The project of a deep rhetoric is an attempt at developing this idea. (pages 106 - 133)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0005
[rhetoric, violence, conflicts, contemporary thinkers, nonviolence, reason]
This chapter illustrates the intimate relation of rhetoric to violence. On the one hand, rhetoric is considered an alternative to violence—a sort of renunciation of violence. On the other, it is suspected as violence masquerading as language and reason—every bit as coercive as an armed interlocutor. Some contemporary thinkers even consider language itself as a permanent host of this violence, with rhetoric inevitably becoming the deployment of it. The relation is intimate because rhetoric is defined as the other to violence, because it is suspected of harboring violence, and because, even in its defining itself as nonviolence, it claims to be able to accomplish exactly what violence accomplishes. Traditionally, rhetoric has been studied as the art that can fulfill the promise of reason—to settle conflicts without violence and through reasoning that properly appreciates and evaluates the different perspectives that have come into conflict. (pages 134 - 173)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0006
[conflicts, reasoned argument, violence, deep rhetoric, transcendence, argumentation, justice, heidegger, philosophical rhetoric]
This chapter proposes a new rhetoric project that offers an account of reasoned argument as an alternative to violence, a way to undergo and pass through conflicts nonviolently. The purpose of the project is “the justification of the possibility of a human community in the sphere of action when this justification cannot be based on a reality or objective truth.” This project can be clarified and explained more completely by a deep rhetoric—one that is much more considerate to the ethical and communicative dimensions of transcendence and to the theory of argumentation as a theory of justice at the level of transcendence itself. The passage through Heidegger will help to make the break with traditional ways of conceptualizing rhetoric, and the conversation with and critique of Heidegger will provide the context for a philosophical rhetoric. (pages 174 - 224)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0007
[individual authenticity, sociality, Heideggerian project, Dasein, logos, transcendence]
This chapter shows the essential weaknesses in the Heideggerian project, making the encounter with Heidegger also a critique of him and his work. His radical isolation of Dasein in its individual authenticity neglects the sociality of authenticity. His diminishment of logos throughout is also an exaggeration that obscures the inevitable need for logos in all transcendence. Heidegger’s attempt to move beyond the limitations of his accomplishments of the 1920s and the Dasein-analysis project and to think being directly exposes him to the charge of irrationalism. His failures, however, are instructive and capable of giving direction because they map the misleading trails one faces on this difficult philosophical ground. Heidegger’s errors are indicative of the dangers any philosophical project will encounter on this terrain. If a deep rhetoric is a rapprochement with, as well as a rejoinder to, philosophy, it will have to test its capability in negotiating these same dangers. (pages 225 - 261)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0008
[new rhetoric, perelman, Olbrechts-Tyteca, reason, heidegger, violence, rhetoric, argumentation]
This chapter takes up the challenges left by the three preceding chapters. It will show that Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca’s new rhetoric project is a philosophical enterprise that both develops themes and approaches found in Heidegger’s philosophical work and also addresses the primary failure of that philosophical project—the absence of any genuine elaboration of the communicative dimensions of human existence and a consequent absence of any affirmative account of reason. It will also show that the new rhetoric project is a philosophical response to the problems of violence in that it offers an account of the peace of rhetoric as the justice of argumentation. The theory of argumentation is a theory of the practice of peace and justice as dynamic activities of shared transcendence in logos. (pages 262 - 314)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

- James Crosswhite
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226016511.003.0009
[deep rhetoric, wisdom, theoretical understanding, definition, experience]
This chapter explores the connections between the emerging conception of a deep rhetoric and some traditional conceptions of wisdom. It further defines some of the interactions and interdependencies of rhetoric and philosophy. It is argued here, however, that writing about wisdom is not a wise undertaking. In doing so, one risks offending the gods, who seem to have a corner on what is for mortals the hubristic claim to wisdom. Furthermore, not only does the word come to us with linguistic and cultural lineages that stretch way beyond any mortal’s ability to track and master, but the idea is partly defined by its own resistance to definition. However wisdom is defined, it will always be dependent on experience. Wisdom is not simply theoretical understanding, or knowledgeable practical activity, or creative innovation, and yet wisdom has been explained in all three of these ways, as well as many others. (pages 315 - 370)
This chapter is available at:
    University Press Scholarship Online

Notes

Works Cited

Index