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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FOR THE FIRST EDITION The germ of the book was presented as a talk to the old program in Politics, Economics, Rhetoric, and Law as I left the University of Chicago in 1979-1980. Wayne Booth asked me to talk on "The Rhetoric of Economics," and I said, "Sure. Glad to. Uh ... What is it?" The prospect of a public hanging in the presence of Booth, Ira Katznelson , Edward Levi, Philip Kurland, and the like wonderfully concentrated my intellect. (The hanging proceeded as planned.) I had read Paul Feyerabend's Against Method a little earlier, picking it up by accident in a bookstore, and found it congenial. Booth's Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent and, on Booth's recommendation, Michael Polanyi's Personal Knowledge prepared me for the Chicago talk, and a little bit later I read the book of another Chicago colleague, Stephen Toulmin's The Uses of Argument, picked up again by chance in a bookstore. Glory be to bookstores. In my first year at Iowa I discussed these matters with my new colleagues , and started with Alan Nagel a colloquium on rhetoric. Every two weeks, winter and summer, since 1980 it has met to discuss pieces of argument and the art of argument. There early in the 1980s I received from Nagel, and from Gerald Bruns, Evan Fales, Bruce Gronbeck, Paul Hernadi, John Lyne, Michael McGee, Allan Megill,Jay Semel, and above all John Nelson the elements of an education in literary theory, philosophy , and speech communication. The colloquium gradually expanded in ambition, though keeping its focus on what we came to call the "rhetoric of inquiry." It is a way of understanding and perhaps improving the conversations of scholarship, by listening to the "rhetoric" of a paper in mathematics or law or economics. In 1984 the colloquium led to a conference financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities , the Iowa Humanities Board, and the University of Iowa. Out of this came a book (Nelson, Megill, and McCloskey 1987) and the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry (Poroi), with two book series, one here at Wisconsin and the other at the University of Chicago. I had spent the summer of 1982 at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Australian National University thinking about this "rhetoric of ecoxv xvi Acknowledgments nomics." The intense intellectuality of the groups at Australian National in economic history, economics, philosophy, and history of ideas was wonderful, and I was especially fortunate to overlap for a month with Richard Rorty. Talking to him, and reading his book Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, made many things clear. I then dined out on the work for years. In the antipodes during 1982 seminars heard the paper at Australian National itself; Adelaide, Melbourne , Monash, New South Wales, and Western Australia; and Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington. Although everywhere I was startled at the warmth of the reception economists gave to a paper critical of their way of talking, the reception at the University of Tasmania was especially inspiriting. Back home in the United States one or another chapter was given to the Speech Communication Association's Third Conference on Argumentation at Alta, Utah, in 1983; to the Conference on Codes at the Humanities Center of Brooklyn College, CUNY, in 1983; to the Rhetoric of Economics conference at Middlebury College in 1984; to the Temple University/Speech Communication Association Conference on Kenneth Burke at Philadelphia in 1984; and to the American Economic Association convention at Dallas in 1984. Seminars at the World Bank, the National Science Foundation, the Washington Area Economic History Workshop, the Columbia Economic History Seminar, and Miami University of Ohio heard pieces, as did groups at the universities of British Columbia, California at Davis, Chicago, Connecticut, Nebraska, the Pacific, Pennsylvania, Toronto, Virginia; Baruch (CUNY), Grinnell, Queens (CUNY), Union, and Williams colleges; and Ball State, Emory, Indiana, Iowa State, McMaster , North Carolina State, Princeton, Rutgers, Simon Fraser, Wesleyan, and Yale universities. Each audience raised points that had escaped me, which shows that even now I don't know what I am talking about. No wonder. Like oratory, argument depends for its virtues on the virtues of its audience, and develops as a conversation. Unlike machines, conversations are by nature surprising. Fred Carstensen, A. W. Coats, Stanley Engerman, Arjo Klamer, Robert Higgs, Thomas Mayer, and Robert Solow wrote comments on the work early and often. Many other economists and economic historians have commented in writing on drafts of the chapters or on...


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