The posthumous publication of The Argument and the Action of Plato's "Laws" was compiled shortly before the death of Leo Strauss in 1973. Strauss offers an insightful and instructive reading through careful probing of Plato's classic text.
"Strauss's The Argument and the Action of Plato's 'Laws' reflects his interest in political thought, his dogged method of following the argument of the Laws step by step, and his vigorous defense of this dialogue's integrity in respect to the ideals of the Republic."—Cross Currents
"The unique characteristics of this commentary on the Laws reflect the care and precision which were the marks of Professor Strauss's efforts to understand the complex thoughts of other men."—Allan D. Nelson, Canadian Journal of Political Science
"Thorough and provocative, an important addition to Plato scholarship."—Library Journal
"The major purpose of the commentary is to provide a reading of the dialogue which displays its structural arrangement and the continuity of the argument."—J. W. Dy, Bibliographical Bulletin of Philosophy
"The reader of Strauss's book is indeed guided closely through the whole text."— M. J. Silverthorne, The Humanities Association Review
Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago.
This volume brings together Seth Benardete's studies of Hesiod's Theogony, Homer's Iliad, and Greek tragedy, of eleven Platonic dialogues, and Aristotle's Metaphysics. These essays, some never before published, others difficult to find, span four decades of his work and document its impressive range. Benardete's philosophic reading of the poets and his poetic reading of the philosophers share a common ground that makes this collection a whole. The key, suggested by his reflections on Leo Strauss in the last piece, lies in the question of how to read Plato. Benardete's way is characterized not just by careful attention to the literary form that separates doctrine from dialogue, and speeches from deed; rather, by following the dynamic of these differences, he uncovers the argument that belongs to the dialogue as a whole. The "turnaround" such an argument undergoes bears consequences for understanding the dialogue as radical as the conversion of the philosopher in Plato's image of the cave.
Benardete's original interpretations are the fruits of this discovery of the "argument of the action."
The great expositors of Blake and those who have followed in their footsteps have clarified the most minute particulars of Blake's vision. Now, in the place of traditional exegesis, comes a significantly new set of critical problems and interpretive methods. In this volume of essays, the major shift in Blake studies, already under way in practice, is addressed, gauged, analyzed, and debated.
The contributors assembled here, leading exponents of contemporary critical methods as well as close students of Blake, argue the grounds, purposes, and validity of each approach and then apply its method in detailed readings of Blake's works. We see deconstruction, psychoanalytic interpretation, feminist critique, semiotic analysis, Marxist criticism, revisionism, and other methods brought to bear on Blake's texts and into confrontation with one another by those best able to do so.
Through the essays themselves and in the reaction they will certainly provoke, Critical Paths will bring increased theoretical awareness to the study of Blake and will further the ongoing redefinition of Blake's art. At the same time, the collection investigates the general problem of methodology in literary studies by means of a casebook examination of modern critical approaches. Blake criticism and current literary theory here come together; the encounter illuminates and enriches both.
In Deliberate Conflict: Argument, Political Theory, and Composition Classes, Patricia Roberts-Miller argues that much current discourse about argument pedagogy is hampered by fundamental unspoken disagreements over what democratic public discourse should look like. The book’s pivotal question is, In what kind of public discourse do we want our students to engage? To answer this, the text provides a taxonomy, discussion, and evaluation of political theories that underpin democratic discourse, highlighting the relationship between various models of the public sphere and rhetorical theory.
Deliberate Conflict cogently advocates reintegrating instruction in argumentation with the composition curriculum. By linking effective argumentation in the public sphere with the ability to effect social change, Roberts-Miller pushes compositionists beyond a simplistic Aristotelian conception of how argumentation works and offers a means by which to prepare students for active participation in public discourse.
Are feminists really angry, unreasoning, man-haters who argue only from an emotional perspective as some claim? Does the incessant repetition of this trope make anti-feminism and misogyny a routine element in everyday speech? And does this repetition work towards delegitimizing feminist arguments and/or undermining feminist politics? How do skilled feminist writers deploy affect to advance feminist ideas? In Feminismand Affect at the Scene of Argument, Barbara Tomlinson addresses these questions, providing a lucid examination of the role of affect in feminist and antifeminist academic arguments.
Using case studies from controversies in socio-legal studies, musicology, and science studies, among other disciplines, Tomlinson examines the rhetorics of anger, contempt, betrayal, intensification, and ridicule. She employs a set of critical tools—feminist “socio-forensic” discursive analysis—that will prove indispensible for understanding and countering tropes like that of the angry feminist. Moreover, these tools will advance feminism, which, she argues, is generated in and by arguments with allies and antagonists.
In an era of debates that generate more heat than light, Feminismand Affectat the Scene of Argument offers a timely provocation for transforming the terms of reading and writing in scholarship and civic life.
Michigan is the only state in the country that has a death penalty prohibition in its constitution—Eugene G. Wanger’s compelling arguments against capital punishment is a large reason it is there. The forty pieces in this volume are writings created or used by the author, who penned the prohibition clause, during his fifty years as a death penalty abolitionist. His extraordinary background in forensics, law, and political activity as constitutional convention delegate and co-chairman of the Michigan Committee Against Capital Punishment has produced a remarkable collection. It is not only a fifty-year history of the anti–death penalty argument in America, it also is a detailed and challenging example of how the argument against capital punishment may be successfully made.
What role does reason play in our lives? What role should it play? And are claims to rationality liberating or oppressive? For the Sake of Argument addresses questions such as these to consider the relationship between thought and character. Eugene Garver brings Aristotle's Rhetoric to bear on practical reasoning to show how the value of such thinking emerges when members of communities deliberate together, persuade each other, and are persuaded by each other. That is to say, when they argue.
Garver roots deliberation and persuasion in political friendship instead of a neutral, impersonal framework of justice. Through incisive readings of examples in modern legal and political history, from Brown v. Board of Education to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he demonstrates how acts of deliberation and persuasion foster friendship among individuals, leading to common action amid diversity. In an Aristotelian sense, there is a place for pathos and ethos in rational thought. Passion and character have as pivotal a role in practical reasoning as logic and language.
Historians know about the past because they examine the evidence. But what exactly is “evidence,” how do historians know what it means—and how can we trust them to get it right? Historian David Henige tackles such questions of historical reliability head-on in his skeptical, unsparing, and acerbically witty Historical Evidence and Argument. “Systematic doubt” is his watchword, and he practices what he preaches through a variety of insightful assessments of historical controversies—for example, over the dating of artifacts and the textual analysis of translated documents. Skepticism, Henige contends, forces us to recognize the limits of our knowledge, but is also a positive force that stimulates new scholarship to counter it.
Because of their spectacular, naturalistic pictures of plants and the human body, Leonhart Fuchs’s De historia stirpium and Andreas Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica are landmark publications in the history of the printed book. But as Picturing the Book of Nature makes clear, they do more than bear witness to the development of book publishing during the Renaissance and to the prominence attained by the fields of medical botany and anatomy in European medicine. Sachiko Kusukawa examines these texts, as well as Conrad Gessner’s unpublished Historia plantarum, and demonstrates how their illustrations were integral to the emergence of a new type of argument during this period—a visual argument for the scientific study of nature.
To set the stage, Kusukawa begins with a survey of the technical, financial, artistic, and political conditions that governed the production of printed books during the Renaissance. It was during the first half of the sixteenth century that learned authors began using images in their research and writing, but because the technology was so new, there was a great deal of variety of thought—and often disagreement—about exactly what images could do: how they should be used, what degree of authority should be attributed to them, which graphic elements were bearers of that authority, and what sorts of truths images could and did encode. Kusukawa investigates the works of Fuchs, Gessner, and Vesalius in light of these debates, scrutinizing the scientists’ treatment of illustrations and tracing their motivation for including them in their works. What results is a fascinating and original study of the visual dimension of scientific knowledge in the sixteenth century.
Political Vocabularies: FDR, the Clergy Letters, and the Elements of Political Argument uses a set of letters sent to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 by American clergymen to make a larger argument about the rhetorical processes of our national politics. At any given moment, national politics are constituted by competing political imaginaries, through which citizens understand and participate in politics. Different imaginaries locate political authority in different places, and so political authority is very much a site of dispute between differing political vocabularies. Opposing political vocabularies are grounded in opposing characterizations of the specific political moment, its central issues, and its citizens, for we cannot imagine a political community without populating it and giving it purpose. These issues and people are hierarchically ordered, which provides the imaginary with a sense of internal cohesion and which also is a central point of disputation between competing vocabularies in a specific epoch. Each vocabulary is grounded in a political tradition, read through our national myths, which authorize the visions of national identity and purpose and which contain significant deliberative aspects, for each vision of the nation impels distinct political imperatives. Such imaginaries are our political priorities in action. Taking one specific moment of political change, the author illuminates the larger processes of change, competition, and stability in national politics.
Opening with an overview of the renewal of interest in rhetoric for inquiries of all kinds, this volume addresses rhetoric in individual disciplines—mathematics, anthropology, psychology, economics, sociology, political science, and history. Two essays draw from recent literary theory to suggest the contribution of the humanities to the rhetoric of inquiry, and several essays explore communications beyond the academy, particularly in women’s issues, religion, and law. The final essays speak from the field of communication studies, where the study of rhetoric usually makes its home.
There are few issues more divisive than what has become known as “the right to die.” One camp upholds “death with dignity,” regarding the terminally ill as autonomous beings capable of forming their own judgment on the timing and process of dying. The other camp advocates “sanctity of life,” regarding life as intrinsically valuable, and that should be sustained as long as possible. Is there a right answer?
Raphael Cohen-Almagor takes a balanced approach in analyzing this emotionally charged debate, viewing the dispute from public policy and international perspectives. He offers an interdisciplinary, compelling study in medicine, law, religion, and ethics. It is a comprehensive look at the troubling question of whether physician-assisted suicide should be allowed. Cohen-Almagor delineates a distinction between active and passive euthanasia and discusses legal measures that have been invoked in the United States and abroad. He outlines reasons non-blood relatives should be given a role in deciding a patient’s last wishes. As he examines euthanasia policies in the Netherlands and the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the author suggests amendments and finally makes a circumscribed plea for voluntary physician-assisted suicide.
Shakespearean Metadrama was first published in 1971. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In a new approach to Shakespeare criticism, the author interprets five of Shakespeare's early plays as metadramas, dramas that are not only about the various moral, social, political, and other thematic issues with which critics have so long been concerned but also about the plays themselves. Professor Calderwood demonstrates that in these five plays Shakespeare writes about his dramatic art -- its nature, its media of language and theater, its generic forms and conventions, its relationship to truth and the social order.
In an introductory chapter the author explains his theory of metadrama, placing it in a general critical context as well as in the specific framework of Shakespeare's plays. He distinguishes between the meaning of metadrama and the similar terms "metaplay" and "metatheare." He points out that the dominant metadramatic aspect of the five plays under study is the interplay of language and action in drama. A separate chapter is devoted to the interpretation of each of the plays.
Professor Calderwood is aware that in presenting his critical theory and interpretations he may be met with skepticism by other scholars and critics. He anticipates such a situation in the introduction: "To the critic trying on introductory styles for a book on Shakespearean metadrama," he writes, "the plight of Falstaff at the Boar's Head Tavern comes all to readily to mind. 'What trick," he must ask himself, 'what device, what starting-hole, canst thou now find out to hide thee from this open and apparent shame?'"
Taking the position that style has a value in its own right, that language forms a major component of the story a nonfiction writer has to tell, Anderson analyzes the work of America’s foremost practitioners of New Journalism—Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Joan Didion.
Anderson does for nonfiction what insightful critics have long been doing for fiction and poetry. His approach is rhetorical, and his message is that the rhetoric of Wolfe, Capote, Mailer, and Didion is a direct response to the problem of trying to convey to a general audience the sublime, inexplicable, or private and intuitive experiences that conventional rhetoric cannot evoke.
The emphasis in this book is on style, not genre, and the analysis characterizes the distinctive styles of four American writers, showing how the richness and complexity of their prose discloses an important argument about the value of language itself. Their prose is complex, nuanced, layered, affecting, always aware of itself as style. This self-consciousness, Anderson contends, prepares the reader to regard style as argument, a “tacit but powerful statement about the value of form as form, style as style.”