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Deep Rhetoric

Philosophy, Reason, Violence, Justice, Wisdom

Deep Rhetoric

Philosophy, Reason, Violence, Justice, Wisdom

“Rhetoric is the counterpart of logic,” claimed Aristotle. “Rhetoric is the first part of logic rightly understood,” Martin Heidegger concurred. “Rhetoric is the universal form of human communication,” opined Hans-Georg Gadamer. But in Deep Rhetoric, James Crosswhite offers a groundbreaking new conception of rhetoric, one that builds a definitive case for an understanding of the discipline as a philosophical enterprise beyond basic argumentation and is fully conversant with the advances of the New Rhetoric of Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca.

Chapter by chapter, Deep Rhetoric develops an understanding of rhetoric not only in its philosophical dimension but also as a means of guiding and conducting conflicts, achieving justice, and understanding the human condition. Along the way, Crosswhite restores the traditional dignity and importance of the discipline and illuminates the twentieth-century resurgence of rhetoric among philosophers, as well as the role that rhetoric can play in future discussions of ontology, epistemology, and ethics. At a time when the fields of philosophy and rhetoric have diverged, Crosswhite returns them to their common moorings and shows us an invigorating new way forward.

424 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2013

Rhetoric and Communication


“Committed to an idea of rhetoric that addresses and leads others to transcend themselves, James Crosswhite enacts the role of a thoughtful lecturer engaged in a serious inquiry. His readings are compelling and careful and fresh—Deep Rhetoric will be essential reading for almost every serious thinker eager to find a basis for making good arguments in our time.”

Don Bialostosky | University of Pittsburgh

“This is not just a study of but a call for reconfiguration of the disciplines. Recognizing the depth of rhetoric as a general paideia. James Crosswhite broadens the scope of deep rhetoric beyond argumentation and repositions rhetoric in relation to the whole liberal arts curriculum. Rhetoric’s tradition grants it the right to make this challenge, and this is the right time for it.”

John Arthos | author of Speaking Hermeneutically: Understanding in the Conduct of a Life

Table of Contents


1   What Is Deep Rhetoric?
What Is Rhetoric?
Origins of Rhetoric
Toward a Deep Rhetoric
Some Theologies and Teleologies of Rhetoric
Suspecting Universality
Deep Rhetoric and Big Rhetoric
Rhetoric and Humanism
Rhetorical Capabilities

2   What Is Deep Rhetoric? II
Rhetoric and Ideology
The Deep Rhetoric of the Late Twentieth Century

3   The Deep Rhetoric of Plato’s Gorgias
Deep Rhetoric: An Overview
Plato and the Sophists
A Failure of Transcendence: Rhetoric and Narcissism
Deep Rhetorical Nomos and the Care of the Soul
Two Kinds of Rhetoric: A Deep Rhetorical Critique 
The Ethical Ontology of Deep Rhetorical Decorum 

4   Rhetoric and Violence 
The Rhetorical Origin of Human Sociality: The Great Myth of Protagoras
Rhetoric Is Violence: Walter Benjamin
Deep Rhetoric: Otherwise Than Violence
Suffering Violence

5   Through Heidegger: Transcendence and Logos 
World and Logos
Understanding, Interpretation, and Meaning
Logos and Discourse
Transcendence: Grounds and Reasons

6   Beyond Heidegger: False Trails and Re-readings
Solus Ipse v. Logos
Silence and the Diminishment of Logos
Beyond Reason
The Ghostly Other
Re-reading Heidegger

7   Reason and Justice: The Deep Rhetorical Dimensions of the New Rhetoric Project
Deep Rhetoric and Justice
Reconstructing The New Rhetoric

8   Rhetoric and Wisdom
Wisdom in the Rhetorical Tradition
The Origin of Rhetoric in the Oresteia of Aeschylus
The Prajnaparamita Sutras
Hebrew Wisdom
Socratic Wisdom
Burkean Wisdom
New Rhetorical Wisdom
Athena’s Practical Wisdom
After Athena

Notes             Works Cited             Index

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