Rhetoric and Philosophy
Edited by Richard A. Cherwitz, Henry W. Johnstone Jr.
Routledge – 1990 – 336 pages
This important volume explores alternative ways in which those involved in the field of speech communication have attempted to find a philosophical grounding for rhetoric. Recognizing that rhetoric can be supported in a wide variety of ways, this text examines eight different philosophies of rhetoric: realism, relativism, rationalism, idealism, materialism, existentialism, deconstructionism, and pragmatism. The value of this book lies in its pluralistic and comparative approach to rhetorical theory.
Although rhetoric may be the more difficult road to philosophy, the fact that it is being traversed by a group of authors largely from speech communication demonstrates important growth in this field. Ultimately, there is recognition that if different thinkers can have solid reasons to adhere to disparate philosophies, serious communication problems can be eliminated. Rhetoric and Philosophy will assist scholars in choosing from among the many philosphical starting places for rhetoric.
"…the essays are exceptionally well-written and give the clearest arguments yet for their respective positions."
—Philosophy and Rhetoric
"There is much to praise in these essays. They offer clear and informed accounts of the respective philosophical schools. Their discussions of the intersections with rhetoric are illuminating….Each chapter is argued assertively, provoking pointed contrasts. These qualities will make Rhetoric and Philosophy especially useful for graduate seminars…"
—Quarterly Journal of Speech
"The most important contribution of this book, in my opinion, is just the recognition that there is a variety of ways in which rhetoric could be undergirded, none altogether without defect. This is the hard road to philosophy. That this road can be taken by a group of authors largely from Speech Communication shows that this field is coming of age in at least one important respect."
Contents: H.W. Johnstone, Jr., Foreword. R.A. Cherwitz, The Philosophical Foundations of Rhetoric. J.W. Hikins, Realism and Its Implications for Rhetorical Theory. B. Brummett, Relativism and Rhetoric. C.J. Orr, Critical Rationalism: Rhetoric and the Voice of Reason. J. Lyne, Idealism as a Rhetorical Stance. M. McGuire, Materialism: Reductionist Dogma or Critical Rhetoric? M.J. Hyde, Existentialism as a Basis for the Theory and Practice of Rhetoric. J.A. Aune, Rhetoric after Deconstruction. J.A. Mackin, Jr., Rhetoric, Pragmatism, and Practical Wisdom.