Academics and Coaching
Thu Mar 19 15:29:49 CST 1998
With all due respect, please let us not limit our view of the last
several years of rhetorical theory to the positions advocated by the
poststructuralists. I would argue that there is nothing wrong with
debate and dialectic as modes of discourse. The dialogic is fine for
many things, but it may be, too, that the dialogic when it strives for
critical thinking and when unlimited time is impossible becomes more
like the dialectic. There is room and value in *argument* and the clash
of ideas. This does not mean, of course, that the debate should be
uncivil but I don't really see the problem with saying that one
person/team does better in a given instantiation of discourse than
another. Foucault not withstanding.
Univ of North Carolina
Pat J Gehrke wrote:
> Kevin Kuswa argues:
> >5. Rhetoric could become more central in our argumentation
> practices. This
> >means more than simply kritiking the opposition's language:
> >a) it means discussing CITATIONS, QUALS, the nature of evidence and a
> >of other issues that often fall by the wayside.
> >b) it means adding introspection to the debate process--what do
> >styles and conventions do to certain arguments?
> >c) it opens up a virtually unexplored area of research. Great cards
> >the connections between policy and rhetoric can be found all over the
> >CSMC, Comm. Monographs, the regional speech journals, and tons of
> >studies journals.
> >d) it makes graduate work in comm. studies more interesting.
> >e) it grounds much philosophical or critical argument in solid
> >(rather than email cards :) ).
> I think that reconnecting debate to rhetoric requires much more than
> Debate appears almost the oppossite of recent trends and movements in
> rhetorical theory. This is an odd quandry. Debate does not look like
> really has incorporated the rhetorical theories developed in the
> latter half
> of the twentieth century. Debate's form and function is much more
> akin to
> that advocated in the Phaedrus -- public speaking is used only to sway
> others to some pre-existing truth that the wiser person (the speaker)
> already discovered. Yeah, we fix things between rounds -- we reflect
> decide we might need to change our advocacy or opinions, but we are
> precluded from engaging each other outside of a polemical binary
> within the
> debate round.
> Start with the burden of stable advocacy in rounds. This _requires_ a
> polemical exchange, never dialogue, between the debaters. Authentic
> dialogue, in my opinion, requires we be able to shift our advocacy.
> In my
> opinion, the very form and function of the acitivity (right down to
> core) will need some reworking if we are to bring it aside
> rhetorical theory
> The kind of move advocated by Kevin is very attractive to me, but we
> not take this step clutching tightly to all our assumptions and
> presuppositions that came before. We need to think seriously, again,
> how to restructure the activity so that it does not require
> What would Foucault say about our style of discourse? Check out the
> few pages of "Polemics, Politics, and Problematizations" in Ethics,
> Subjectivity, and Truth: vol. I. Paul Rabinow, Ed.
> With hope for the future,
> Pat Gehrke
> penn state
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