The Rhetorical Turn Invention and Persuasion in the Conduct of Inquiry
edited by Herbert W. Simons
University of Chicago Press, 1990
Cloth: 978-0-226-75901-2 | Paper: 978-0-226-75902-9 | Electronic: 978-0-226-75903-6


We have only recently started to challenge the notion that "serious" inquiry can be free of rhetoric, that it can rely exclusively on "hard" fact and "cold" logic in support of its claims. Increasingly, scholars are shifting their attention from methods of proof to the heuristic methods of debate and discussion—the art of rhetoric—to examine how scholarly discourse is shaped by tropes and figures, by the naming and framing of issues, and by the need to adapt arguments to ends, audiences, and circumstances. Herbert W. Simons and the contributors to this important collection of essays provide impressive evidence that the new movement referred to as the rhetorical turn offers a rigorous way to look within and across the disciplines.

The Rhetorical Turn moves from biology to politics via excursions into the rhetorics of psychoanalysis, decision science, and conversational analysis. Topics explored include how rhetorical invention guides scientific invention, how rhetoric assists political judgment, and how it integrates varying approaches to meta-theory. Concluding with four philosophical essays, this volume of case studies demonstrates how the inventive and persuasive dimensions of scholarly discourse point the way to forms of argument appropriate to our postmodern age.


Herbert W. Simons is professor of rhetoric and communication at Temple University. He is the author of Persuasion: Understanding, Practice, and Analysis and the editor of numerous books, including Rhetoric in the Human Sciences and The Legacy of Kenneth Burke.



Introduction: The Rhetoric of Inquiry as an Intellecutal Movement

Part One: Rhetorics of Science

1. Bio-Rhetorics: Moralizing the Life Sciences

2. Scientific Discovert and Rhetorical Invention: The Path to Darwin's Origin

3. The Origin of Species: Evolutionary Taxonomy as an Example of Rhetoric of Science

4. Psychoanalysis: Science or Rhetoric?

5. Discursive Constrains on the Acceptance and Rejection of Knowledge Claims: The Conversation about Conversation

6. The Rhetoric of Decision Science, or Herbert A. Simon Says

Part Two: The Politics of Rhetoric and the Rhetoric of Politics

7. Arguing over Incommensurable Values: The Case of Machiavelli

8. Narrative Figures and SUbtle Persuasions: The Rhetoric of the MOVE Report

9. The Rhetoric of the Commons: Forum Discourse in Politics and Society

10. Political Foundations for the Rhetoric of Inquiry

Part Three: Philosophical Probes and Reflections

11. The Checkmate of Rhetoric (But Can Our Reasons Become Causes?)

12. Reconciling Realism and Relativism

13. Symbolic Realism and the Dualism of the Human Sciences: A Rhetorical Reformulation of the Debate between Posivitism and Romanticism

14. Rhetoric and Its Double: Reflections on the Rhetorical Turn in the Human Sciences