Reason and Rhetoric Course Notes by Stephen Hague (2024)

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Reasoning, argumentation, and persuasion with special application to Hebrew wisdom literature and Hebrew wisdom scholarship

2011 •

Aurel Ionica

Traditionally, it is believed that human thinking is captured and shaped by the so-called logic, and the relationship between language and meaning/thought is based on the notions of “true” and “false” that Aristotle chose and on which the current binary logic is based. The work outlines the process by which Aristotle arrived at these two notions and shows that he chose them through a process of elimination of options; that explains why logic has no applicability to analyzing language, establishing meaning, and capturing the human thinking. Then the work introduces a complex reasoning square that includes not only the notions of “true” and “false,” but also all other oppositions that Aristotle had discarded and are involved in any human discourse, therefore it establishes the true structure that is involved in any thought process. In order to show that this is not just a theoretical model but the actual structure that is involved in any discourse, the rational or reasoning square is applied to various literary forms such as metaphors, similes, syllogisms, informal arguments, narratives, humor, and so on. The second part of the study analyses the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, a notoriously difficult book to understand, and outlines its thinking and what might be the problems with accepting it. In the last part, the dissertation analyses some scholarly works on Ecclesiastes not only to understand how scholars deal with a text, but also the scholarly arguments that are used to support their claims. The work has profound implications for all academic disciplines that come under the broad umbrella called “humanities” because it defines for the first time what “meaning” in language is, a notion that has proved so far to be illusive as any scholar knows. Since the work proves that the current binary logic is unable to establish meaning in language, all current research on artificial intelligence based on such logic is doomed to failure and instead it should be based on the theory advanced in this work. Once these rational structures are properly understood, not only the meaning of any discourse can be accurately established and analyzed, but it can also be replicated by machines.

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Scott R. Stroud

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2010 •

Jeffrey J Maciejewski

Although rhetoric might be thought of as nothing more than an archaic art of manipulation, its ability to bring about action-particularly as the intellect and will engage in acts of persuasion amid the operations of the practical intellect-is a possibility that has gone largely unnoticed among philosophers of human nature. In this paper I explore the possibility that natural rhetoric, much as it serves the practical intellect in precipitating action, serves the speculative intellect as it stimulates acts of cognizing and understanding, thus leading to the acquisition of knowledge. While much attention has been given to explorations of human acts, surprisingly little attention has been directed toward acts of communication. This is unfortunate, for it is hard to imagine a life of human well being without it. Equally as unfortunate is that we have only perfunctory explanations of what it is about communication that is uniquely human. Jean Porter goes far in addressing this oversight by observing that what makes human communication different from, say, animal communication, is 'referential flexibility:' That is, the ability 'to employ symbols tethered to abstract ideas, which can be detached from an immediate referential context and expressed in the form of modal propositions.' 1 However, Porter does not elaborate on what this form of communication is, and so her account (though valuable) shares in the shortcomings of others who have been largely unable to identify the ontological importance of human communication. 2

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Advances in the History of Rhetoric

Arguing Over Texts: The Rhetoric of Interpretation

2018 •

David Frank

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“Rhetoric.” 2015. Vocabulary for the Study of Religion, Vol. 3, edited by Kocku von Stuckrad and Robert Segal, 227–234. Brill: Leiden.

Religions, viewed as long-lasting communicative social systems, are strongly reliant on rhetoric. Adherents need to be persuaded, their commitment maintained, and interpretive patterns need to be kept plausible, especially when established religions are challenged by religious or other competitors in the social field of meaning making, for example by science or philosophy. Moreover, religions as interpretive systems use and produce core metaphors and analogies which give form to transcendent spheres or figures. When gods are imagined as a family-like social group, as is the case in Greek religion; or when a divine presence is addressed as an impersonal light, or energy, for adherents, these metaphors and analogies develop their inherent plausibility and give meaning to reality. In this sense rhetorical forms and figurations are essential for the specific character of a religious tradition and its broader influence on culture. In a scholarly approach this intrinsic “rhetoricity of religion” is taken as an important point of departure for analyzing the emergence and the changes of religious plausibility patterns over time.

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CMS 390P Foundations of Rhetoric Syllabus [Graduate; Fall 2018]

Scott R. Stroud

This course is a theoretical-historical review of writings about rhetoric in the Western tradition up through the Enlightenment. It is based upon the assumption that there is no single, stable entity in that tradition called " rhetoric. " Instead, different writers organize that term in relationship to terms referencing other discourses and practices. Each way of situating rhetoric in a world of texts and action is also a way of understanding human experience in general. This course will cover various important figures in the history of rhetoric. We start our investigation with the thinkers from ancient Greece-Plato, Protagoras, Gorgias, Isocrates, and Aristotle. We will examine what they believe rhetoric is, what its value is, and what role it should play in ethics and politics. Important thinkers from the Roman world will also be examined. We'll talk about how Cicero, Quintilian, Christine de Pizan, Immanuel Kant, the American pragmatists and various stoics conceptualized and practiced rhetoric. Attention will be given to the promises and challenges of diversifying the rhetorical canon with female and international voices. We will emphasize primary sources for most of these figures, although I will expose you to selected secondary sources when it seems beneficial. My goals in the class are twofold: (1) I want you to gain a mastery and appreciation for the thought of ancient and classical thinkers " on their own terms. " (2) I want you to become proficient at making and evaluating arguments, both in writing and in speech.

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The Heythrop Journal

Persuasion, natural rhetoric and the gift of counsel

2019 •

Jeffrey J Maciejewski

Counsel, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, avails one to the wisdom of God and enables one to act on His wisdom. What is not fully understood in the literature, however, is how counsel is actu- alized. I assert that to effectuate action, counsel must employ a form of persuasive discourse, as interior words or an inner voice, to induce or compel the human intellect to act according to God’s will. As a discursive quasi-verbal mechanism that is believed to facilitate reasoned action, I propose that natural rhetoric is this persuasive discourse. As it brings about the ends of human action, to which its dispositional properties are aimed, natural rhetoric serves the gift of counsel by making its propositions intelligible and therefore actionable. Consequently, I suggest that counsel requiring a form of persuasive discourse in order to make itself known to the intellect and to compel action has important implications for the practices of reflection and discernment. Ultimately, by experiencing the way that God communicates His will one discov- ers the good of persuasion as it obtains in divine intervention.

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Pragmatics & beyond

Rhetoric and cognition

2016 •

Steve Oswald

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A Rhetorical Perspective on the Sentence Sayings of the Book of Proverbs

Dave L. Bland

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"The Rhetoric of Disjointed Proverbs," JSOT 29 (2004: 165-77.

Michael V. V Fox

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Reason and Rhetoric Course Notes by Stephen Hague (2024)
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