Re: argumentation

Christopher Pound (pound@IS.RICE.EDU)
Sat, 9 Apr 1994 13:48:58 -0500

> Somehow, Yee was supposed
> to recognise a reference to "Futuristic (as in the avant
> garde art movement)..." Omigod, even I didn't get that one,

It was mentioned just a day or so ago in successive posts by
Seeker1 and myself. Seeker1 gave a brief definition.

> truly it's become rhetorical, all just so much rhetoric.

Although it might damn me and all of the so-called postmodernism from a
neo-Platonic perspective, this is a point I will happily concede.
Rhetoric "finds fertile ground only in a situation in which
one doubts that truth may exist outside the interaction of human beings,
their exchange and comparison of opinions that necessarily occur through
language" (Barilli, _Rhetoric_).

Saying that "it's ... all just so much rhetoric" really shows you've been
paying attention. As you see in that little quote from Barilli, rhetoric
doesn't dispense with truth at all, rather it sets it aside from the
nasty trick of "correctness in representation" and frees other kinds of
discourse from their relativization with respect to the Truth game.

That Plato mistrusted rhetoric and _doxa_ in favor of dialectic and
_episteme_ is well-known as the birth of the "Ivory Tower" and as the moment
when ethics was incorporated into and made subordinate to truth. But,
maybe Plato has pulled a big joke over on Platonism here, since he wrote
that no one would ever understand him through his writings alone and since
so many of his dialogues seem to "come to nothing" as Hamilton/Cairns say.
In those dialogues, dialectic is something I appreciate as well.

P.S. That book by Barilli is a really nice one.

Christopher Pound ( | They think they are Parisians, but
Department of Anthropology, Rice U. | they are nothing. -- Pierre Bourdieu