Being Made Strange
Rhetoric beyond Representation
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: State University of New York Press
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The title of this book is meant to convey a double meaning. On the one hand, the word being may be taken as a noun. The nature of something familiar has been altered. According to the subject matter of this book, that thing is a kind of being: human being. Presently, we understand who we are in profoundly...
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Prior to the twentieth century, the discipline of rhetoric could boast of Western culture’s most complete and integrated system for understanding the manifold uses of language in human affairs. The following synopsis documents, in the most general terms, how rhetorical scholars historically...
Part I: Beyond Representation
Chapter 1: The Subject and Object of Representation
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To date, both philosophers and rhetoricians have only superficially explored the potentially profound significance of rhetoric to contemporary reflections on the nature of language, reason, and human being. Newton Garver posits that the philosophical study of language in the twentieth century has followed...
Chapter 2: The Ideal of Rhetoric
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Even commonsensical notions of language and communication presuppose critical, but frequently unexamined, assumptions about their value to human affairs. In our heritage, one can trace the presumed value of language as merely a transparent conveyance of objective meaning to the influence of early Western philosophy...
Part II: Being Otherwise
Chapter 3: Rhetoric in the Middle Voice
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Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus typically are linked in disciplinary narratives concerning the classical Greek origins of rhetoric. Such narratives couple these dialogues in order to present an ostensibly complete portrait of Plato’s thinking on rhetoric and his related concerns over truth, knowledge, and...
Chapter 4: Style without Identity
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In the previous chapter, I provided a rationale for, and conceptual outline of, rhetoric in the middle voice. Not surprisingly, explorations of theoretical questions often raise subsequent methodological considerations—in this case, questions concerning how, exactly, one should analyze the ethos of a discursive...
Part III: Rhetoric and the Politics of Self and Other
Chapters 3 and 4 demonstrated that the ethos of social, political, and ethical relations manifests a rhetoric of subjectivity in which notions of self and other, individual and community, or good and evil acquire meaning and value from changing discursive conditions. The final pairing of chapters in...
Chapter 5: Jefferson’s Other
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In 1827, two male slaves named Madison and Eston Hemings were freed by the terms of Thomas Jefferson’s will. Within five years of their emancipation, Madison and Eston both married women who, like them, were of racially mixed heritage. In 1835, the brothers moved to southern Ohio, where, no...
Chapter 6: The Rest Is Silence
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In the previous chapter, I showed how the ethos of the past, embodied in symbolic personae such as Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, provides the discursive conditions according to which we define our relationship to such historical figures in defining ourselves as inheritors of their troubled...
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The very idea of rhetoric, its institutional meaning and value, is based on universal notions of human being. By definition, rhetoric originally was conceived as a pedagogical, cultural, and political practice uniquely suited to the expression of essential human truths, values, and virtues. Even contemporary rhetoricians...
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Page Count: 229
Publication Year: 2004