Democracy and Rhetoric
John Dewey on the Arts of Becoming
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
Series Editor’s Preface
In Democracy and Rhetoric: John Dewey on the Arts of Becoming, Nathan Crick explores what it would mean for rhetoric to act as a means of radical democracy. He claims that the American philosopher John Dewey (1859–1952) points us to an understanding that rhetoric must reassert its status as an art that engages ethics, intellectual inquiry, and aesthetics. ...
This book is a product of the environment of which I am but a part. Its origins are not found in scholarly debates about the meanings of concepts; it grows out of the soil of experience in which the seeds of ideas were fortunate to take root. A few people who formed that environment are thus worth recognizing. ...
Rhetoric is the radical expression of a radical faith. Dewey calls this faith “democratic,” but democracy is merely its political manifestation. The faith that makes both rhetoric and democracy radical is the faith in the constitutive and communicative power of art unfettered.2 ...
Chapter 1: Rhetoric and the Ethics of Democracy
What does it mean to say that rhetoric and democracy have an “ethics”? Traditionally the answers fall into one of two categories. On the one hand Kantian rationalism dictates that persuasive and political acts must follow from universal moral principles. In rhetoric one finds this ethics expressed most fully by Richard Weaver, ...
Chapter 2: The Rhetoric of Inquiry
If inquiry represents a disciplined act of concentration, rhetoric has traditionally been seen as its polar opposite—an unruly distraction. The Platonic caricature of rhetoric, in other words, has always associated it with a knack for manipulating circumstances for one’s own benefit. ...
Chapter 3: Rhetoric and Aesthetics
If the philosophical understanding of the relationship between logic and rhetoric has traditionally been one of master and slave, the relationship between rhetoric and aesthetics has been more complex. For instance, from the rationalistic perspective of a metaphysical logic, rhetoric is a fundamentally aesthetic practice. ...
The great lesson of Dewey’s mature philosophy is that the constitution of civilization is intrinsically an accomplishment of art—the intelligent and sympathetic process of doing and making that makes our shared world a richer place to inhabit. As he writes, “It is by creation of the intangibles of science and philosophy, and especially by those of the arts, ...
About the Author
Nathan Crick is an assistant professor of communication studies at Louisiana State University. His research has appeared in College Composition and Communication, Philosophy and Rhetoric, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech.