Since antiquity, philosophy and rhetoric have traditionally been cast as rivals, with the former often lauded as a search for logical truth and the latter usually disparaged as empty speech. But in this erudite intellectual history, Nancy S. Struever stakes out a claim for rhetoric as the more productive form of inquiry.
Struever views rhetoric through the lens of modality, arguing that rhetoric’s guiding interest in what is possible—as opposed to philosophy’s concern with what is necessary—makes it an ideal tool for understanding politics. Innovative readings of Hobbes and Vico allow her to reexamine rhetoric’s role in the history of modernity and to make fascinating connections between thinkers from the classical, early modern, and modern periods. From there she turns to Walter Benjamin, reclaiming him as an exemplar of modernist rhetoric and a central figure in the long history of the form. Persuasive and perceptive, Rhetoric, Modality, Modernity is a novel rewriting of the history of rhetoric and a heady examination of the motives, issues, and flaws of contemporary inquiry.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Nancy S. Struever is professor emerita in the History Department and the Humanities Center at the Johns Hopkins University. Her most recent book is The History of Rhetoric and the Rhetoric of History.Review:
“A scintillating account of the classical and early modern roots of political rhetoric, this book could not be more welcome or more timely. In an era threatened on all sides by pessimism and moralism, Struever’s response is to ask how one can produce possibility out of negation. Her answer lies in this vigorous, bold, and often edgy set of reflections which celebrate the powers of positivity, capacity, and life itself. Retrieving rhetoric as civic engagement, Struever offers a completely novel explanation of modernity as modality—less as an epochal marker than as a grasp of potentials and possibilities, and as a rejection of hegemonic determinism. Almost as a bonus, the book is filled with astonishing and original readings of a number of writers, from Aristotle to Hobbes, Vico, and Benjamin, to contemporary interpreters of modernity. Rhetoric, Modality, Modernity is a great gift from a wonderfully resourceful mind, and a joy to read.”
(James I. Porter, University of California, Irvine)
“In this brilliant and provocative essay, Nancy Struever revisits the quarrel between rhetoric and philosophy and argues that rhetoric is uniquely able to deal with the realm of possibility—the civic or political realm in which actions take place. Struever argues for the neglected modernity of early modernists such as Hobbes and Vico against the classical philosophical and Enlightenment paradigms, for which rhetoric lacks explanatory power. Hobbes and Vico secede from classical philosophical paradigms by virtue of their focus on modality and possibility rather than truth and necessity. Their insights find a modern equivalent in the work of Walter Benjamin, whose investigations into modernity are guided not by philosophy but by a rhetoric that is political at its core. Ranging widely from Aristotle and Cicero to Hegel, Hintikka, Peirce, and Williams, Struever challenges us to rethink the history of philosophy as well as rhetoric, and their relation to our own postmodern moment.”
(Victoria Kahn, University of California, Berkeley)
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Since antiquity, philosophy and rhetoric have traditionally been cast as rivals, with the former often lauded as a search for logical truth and the latter usually disparaged as empty speec.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 158 pages. 0.386. Bookseller Inventory # 9780226777481
Book Description 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Since antiquity, philosophy and rhetoric have traditionally been cast as rivals, with the former often lauded as a search for logical truth and the latter usually disparaged a.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 158 pages. 0.386. Bookseller Inventory # 9780226777481
Book Description University Of Chicago Press, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110226777480