The Challenge of Speaking with Others: A Pragmatist Account of Democratic Rhetoric
Abstract

abstract:

This article explores what the contours of a pragmatist theory of rhetoric would be like in its democratic instantiation. The threat of partisan thought and dogmatism in argument is examined as a threat to the sort of democratic community pragmatists such as John Dewey desired to create. Partisans fail to realize not only their own limitations in pursuing the true and the good but also the fact that solving problems through overly partisan forms of reasoning or argument only creates future obstacles to community life. This provides an extended reading of what Dewey meant by free communication: communication not only free from legal constraints and censorship but also free from the binding habits of thought and interaction that can be identified as “partisan perfect reasoning.”