Abstract

This article gives an account of the nature and purpose of Kant’s poetic rhetoric in Dreams of a Spirit-Seer Elucidated by Dreams of Metaphysics. I argue that Kant employs a poetic mode of rhetoric in order to provoke a passionate, enthusiastic response in his audience. I go on to show that Kant became increasingly skeptical of poetic rhetoric’s pathetic power after publishing Dreams. Ultimately, I demonstrate that Kant’s confrontation with the Sturm und Drang led him to formulate a moral critique of poetic rhetoric and its tendency to undermine its audience’s rational autonomy. I conclude by highlighting the significance of this critique in and for the development of Kant’s mature rhetorical theory.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2079
Print ISSN
0031-8213
Pages
pp. 73-95
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-16
Open Access
No
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