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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2010

Michael F. Bernard-Donals
Affiliation:
University of Missouri, Columbia
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Summary

In the face of the multifaceted critiques of modernity, no one needs to be reminded of how fragile [local forms of civil community] are, how easily they are coopted and perverted. But at a time when the threat of total annihilation no longer seems to be an abstract possibility but the most imminent and real potentiality, it becomes all the more imperative to try again and again to foster and nurture those forms of communal life in which dialogue, conversation, phronesis, practical discourse, and judgment are concretely embodied in our daily life.

(Richard Bernstein, Beyond Objectivity and Relativism, 229)

The 1980s and 1990s have been good decades for rhetoric. Stanley Fish, using Richard Lanham's terms, noted the rise of homo rhetoricus, suggesting that it was just such a “species” of intellectual that would point us to the future not just of academic inquiry but of human inquiry as well. Such an intellectual would investigate not the world as it is reflected in our scientific practice, but how those reflections themselves are constructed. “[T]he givens of any field of activity – including the facts it commands, the procedures it trusts in, and the values it expresses and extends – are socially and politically constructed, are fashioned by man rather than delivered by God or Nature” (Fish, Doing 485), and two of the fields most directly affected by the upswing in the fortunes of “rhetorical man” are economics and science.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Practice of Theory
Rhetoric, Knowledge, and Pedagogy in the Academy
, pp. 1 - 16
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1998

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  • Introduction
  • Michael F. Bernard-Donals, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Book: The Practice of Theory
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511585142.001
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  • Introduction
  • Michael F. Bernard-Donals, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Book: The Practice of Theory
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511585142.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Michael F. Bernard-Donals, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Book: The Practice of Theory
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511585142.001
Available formats
×