By C. Jan Swearingen
This pathbreaking examine integrates the histories of rhetoric, literacy, and literary aesthetics as much as the time of Augustine, concentrating on Western techniques of rhetoric as dissembling and of language as misleading that Swearingen argues have bought interestingly favourite emphasis in Western aesthetics and language thought. Swearingen reverses the conventional specialize in rhetoric as an oral agonistic style and examines it as an alternative as a paradigm for literate discourse. She proposes that rhetoric and literacy have within the West disseminated the interrelated notions that via studying rhetoric contributors can learn how to manage language and others; that language is an unreliable, manipulable, and contingent car of concept, which means, and communique; and that literature is a physique of beautiful lies and beguiling fictions. In a daring concluding bankruptcy Swearingen aligns her thesis relating early Western literacy and rhetoric with modern severe and rhetorical thought; with feminist reports in language, psychology, and tradition; and with experiences of literacy in multi- and cross-cultural settings.
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Extra resources for Rhetoric and Irony: Western Literacy and Western Lies
It is also common to all—that is, a "common bond" [xunon] — the unity binding the harmonious universe and the principle of coherence of statements about that unity. Heraclitus' One and the Many are of words and of realities at the same time. Plato expresses the same relationship in a way that is plausibly the descendant of Heraclitus in that it sustains the coextensive emphasis on words and things, and the dunamis linking definition of terms and the conjuring of 34 RHETORIC AND IRONY essences. 34 The first definitions of the "all" the "one," and "that which is common to all" emphasize that it is invisible to the ordinary eye and beyond the immediate.
For those who love wisdom, he asserts, dialogical dialectic can be conducted only in a series of discussions among interlocutors possessing knowledge, candor, and good will. In contrast to the numerous modern views of Plato as the first abstract idealist, or as the first fully literate and literary philosophical writer, I emphasize his ties to and defense of elements in the traditional oral paideia, and his exposition of the merits of avoiding and suspecting closure, conclusion, and monologue textuality.
42 Parmenides' use of poetic and oracular language may be a bow to convention or a conscious utilization of the only formula then in existence for talking about the sources and nature of knowledge. An alternate way of understanding Parmenides' use of this formula is as a consciously transitional use of the authority of "myth" as a vehicle for a new order of knowledge. The hybrid medium of the text prefigures an alteration in the relationship between epic, poetic shamanistic, and conceptual philosophical expressions of being and not-being.