So much for animals , which cannot , after all , be threatened at all . The type of
event that occurs when a stick is raised over an animal capable of responding is
a reaction , not a transaction . Humans , too , can react to raised sticks — and
Author: Eugene Edmond White
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
By examining ways of conceptualizing and exploring rhetorical experience, this book contributes to a better understanding of the nature and uses of rhetorical communication. Since World War II traditional concepts of rhetoric have been undermined, producing a crisis of identity. Instead of the comfortable assumptions formerly shared by Aristotle, John Quincy Adams, Woodrow Wilson, and most academicians, many of today's humanists and some social scientists have become confused concerning the meaning, substance, and scope of rhetoric even concerning the distinction between the rhetorical and nonrhetorical. Partly under the impact of logical positivism, some critics have dismissed persuasive discourse as mere rhetoric"--an anomaly in the age of such rhetoricians as Churchill, Roosevelt, de Gaulle, and Martin Luther King. Others have deprecated spoken discourse in favor of written composition, despite the enthusiasm for speechmaking of Yeats and other literary giants--an anomaly in the age of broadcasting. Five of the ten chapters in this contributed book address the nature of the phenomenon we call rhetoric, and five concern the useful or valuable application of theory to the practical employment of rhetoric (in politics and public affairs, in social and natural science, in religious and ethical teachings, in ceremony, and in literature). The contributors, among the most distinguished of the nation's rhetoricians, are James R. Andrews, Carroll C. Arnold, Lloyd F. Bitzer, Edwin Black, Douglas Ehninger, Henry W. Johnstone, Jr., Lawrence W. Rosenfield, Robert L. Scott, Herbert W. Simons, and Eugene E. White. One way to sum up the book's message would be: even if rhetoric never regains the exalted place it held in the medieval trivium, it deserves far more serious attention than many moderns give it. The position in today's curriculum eventually assumed by rhetoric will be determined basically by the identity it chooses, the credibility of the theoretical concepts claimed as rhetorical, and the useful application of such theory to the practical concerns of society.