Chapter

Introduction: The Classical Background

in Rhetoric, Modality, Modernity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226777481
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226777504 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226777504.003.0001
Introduction: The Classical Background

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This chapter considers rhetoric as a kind of inquiry and argues the importance of a specific investigative interest, simultaneously basic, pervasive, and elusive—modality. “Modal rhetorics” need to be juxtaposed to modal logics. Modal logics may define structures of validity, inferential sequences; modal rhetorics deal in patterns of use. This chapter focuses on mode as color or valence, regarded as of the utmost importance to issues of political capacity and action. It assumes that in civil inquiry the opposition philosophical/rhetorical inquiry is of intrinsic interest; that an inquiry's allegiance to a particular modality defines its most basic strategies; and that the mechanics of representing a modal allegiance generate a refined, perspicuous account of investigative goals. The Classical, and archetypical “contest of faculties,” rhetoric vs. philosophy, originated, and persisted, not simply as a rivalry of pedagogic practices and academic interests, but as a conflict of claims and counter-claims concerning morality, truth, and utility in inquiry.

Keywords: rhetoric; modality; philosophy; utility; inquiry; morality; truth; modal logics; modal rhetorics

Chapter.  3341 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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