Democracy and Rhetoric
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In Democracy and Rhetoric, Nathan Crick articulates from John Dewey's body of work a philosophy of rhetoric that reveals the necessity for bringing forth a democratic life infused with the spirit of ethics, a method of inquiry, and a sense of beauty. Crick relies on rhetorical theory as well interdisciplinary insights from philosophy, history, sociology, aesthetics, and political science as he demonstrates that significant engagement with issues of rhetoric and communication are central to Dewey's political philosophy.

In his rhetorical reading of Dewey, Crick examines the sophistical underpinnings of Dewey's philosophy and finds it much informed by notions of radical individuality, aesthetic experience, creative intelligence, and persuasive advocacy as essential to the formation of communities of judgment. Crick illustrates that for Dewey rhetoric is an art situated within a complex and challenging social and natural environment, wielding influence and authority for those well versed in its methods and capable of experimenting with its practice. From this standpoint the unique and necessary function of rhetoric in a democracy is to advance minority views in such a way that they might have the opportunity to transform overarching public opinion through persuasion in an egalitarian public arena. The truest power of rhetoric in a democracy then is the libertyfor one to influence the many through free, full, and fluid communication.

Ultimately Crick argues that Dewey's sophistical rhetorical values and techniques form a naturalistic "ontology of becoming" in which discourse is valued for its capacity to guide a self, a public, and a world in flux toward some improved incarnation. Appreciation of this ontology of becoming—of democracy as a communication-driven work in progress—gives greater social breadth and historical scope to Dewey's philosophy while solidifying his lasting contributions to rhetoric in an active and democratic public sphere.



Publié par
Date de parution 24 août 2012
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611172355
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,2650€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Studies in Rhetoric/Communication Thomas W. Benson, Series Editor

© 2010 University of South Carolina

Cloth edition published by the University of South Carolina Press, 2010 Ebook edition published in Columbia, South Carolina, by the University of South Carolina Press, 2012

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Crick, Nathan.
Democracy and rhetoric: John Dewey on the arts of becoming / Nathan Crick.
p. cm. (Studies in rhetoric/communication)
Includes bibliographical references and (p. ) and index.
ISBN 978-1-57003-876-1 (cloth: alk. paper)
1. Dewey, John, 1859–1952. 2. Rhetoric Philosophy. 3. Democracy Philosophy.
I. Title.
B945.D44C67 2010
191 dc22

ISBN 978-1-61117-235-5 (ebook)
For my father, for whom excellence was a habit and precision was beauty
Series Editor’s Preface
CHAPTER 1: Rhetoric and the Ethics of Democracy
Protagoras and the Ontology of Becoming
Finding the Rhetorical Situation
Experience and Nature
Continuity and Transaction
Events and Objects
The Rhetorical Situation as Event
Mind, Consciousness, and Free Will
The Habitual Self
Propaganda and the Mass Society
Rhetoric and Character
Locating the Public
Public Opinion and the Public Sphere
Constitutive Rhetoric
Assembling Social Democracy
Intelligence and Freedom
CHAPTER 2: The Rhetoric of Inquiry
Logos, Logic, and Rhetoric
The Colonization of the Lifeworld
The Rhetoric of Science
Naturalism in Logic
Science and Common Sense
Contextualism and Warranted Assertions
Recoupling Science and Common Sense
The Stages of Inquiry
Science, Art, and Democracy
CHAPTER 3: Rhetoric and Aesthetics
The Rhetorical and the Poetical
Enjoyment and Interest
Subject and Substance
Perception and Recognition
The Fine and the Useful
Imagination and Morality
The Universality of Art
Solidarity and Self-creation
Categories of Rhetorical Experience
The Experience of Eloquence
Remaking the Self
Room, Volume, Spacing, Position
The Art of the Possible
Criticism and Construction
Kairos and Decorum
In Democracy and Rhetoric: John Dewey on the Arts of Becoming, Nathan Crick explores what it would mean for rhetoric to act as a means of radical democracy. He claims that the American philosopher John Dewey (1859–1952) points us to an understanding that rhetoric must reassert its status as an art that engages ethics, intellectual inquiry, and aesthetics. In developing a model of rhetorical action based on Dewey’s approach, Professor Crick goes beyond Dewey’s own statements on rhetoric and persuasion to reflect on the implications for rhetorical thought and action of the broad range of Dewey’s philosophical writings on democracy, intellectual inquiry, and aesthetics. Crick’s reflections thus explore what a rhetorical way of thinking can do with the thought of John Dewey and what John Dewey’s views can do for rhetorical theory.
Professor Crick argues that, for Dewey, democracy implies faith that men and women can act together to improve their lives. Dewey was suspicious of the claim that democracy was merely a collection of individuals acting separately in their own interests. At the same time, he saw the need not only for conversation and cooperation but also for leadership and persuasion, and for the advocacy of minority views. Rhetoric in this view is a mode of advocacy called for in situations of “moral conflict, cognitive uncertainty, and practical urgency.” Dewey’s philosophy leads to a rhetoric that can be transformative and radical, and it is for this reason, argues Professor Crick, that rhetorical theorists needs to go beyond Dewey’s writings on communication to understand more fully his writings on human character and experience as ever in a process of becoming. In Dewey’s writings on nature, knowing, and aesthetics as human experiences, Professor Crick discovers the radically democratic rhetorical theory that Dewey’s philosophy makes possible.
This book is a product of the environment of which I am but a part. Its origins are not found in scholarly debates about the meanings of concepts; it grows out of the soil of experience in which the seeds of ideas were fortunate to take root. A few people who formed that environment are thus worth recognizing. I would like to thank my father for his love of inquiry and my mother for her love of culture, my sister for the gift of humility and my brother for proving that life is an adventure, Joe Gabriel for showing me that much that is worthwhile is kept hidden, Ernest DeNapoli for giving music to life, John “May I call you John?” Miller for the challenge of literature, Elizabeth Cohen for applying dialectical method to the imagination, Nathan Swanson for the joy of emancipation, Norman Sims for the art of the pointed question, David DuBois for opening up more than one world, Thom Randall for welcoming me to the wilderness and John Manson for visiting me there, Matthew Arnold for the experience of an artistic community, Sandra Baril and Richard Jarvis for the opportunity to engage with science and Greg Dardis for showing me how it is done, Pam for joining me on the adventure of life, and William, Dean, Sofia, and Leo for continuing to make it one.
The trajectory of this book also would not have been possible without the fortune to be at the University of Pittsburgh during a time of great energy and ideas. And this is, indeed, a “fortune,” for I am in debt to John Lyne for stealing my application from the History and Philosophy of Science Department and introducing me to rhetoric. Perhaps I may regret this path on the day that rhetoric breathes its last, but I hope that I will contribute to its health and not its decline. I would like to thank Gordon Mitchell for his unabashed commitment to democratic action, Peter Simonson for introducing me to the pragmatic tradition, Ted McGuire for asking, “What about ‘time’?,” and my dear friend John Poulakos for always striving to make the modern university a Greek symposium. If I learned anything from John, it is that one finds the greatest gleams of gold in a darkening office as the sun is going down and the conversation is too intense to get up and turn on the light. I am forever grateful to have crossed paths with a true philosopher a lover of the wisdom found in the act of dialogue. Lastly, my presence at Pitt coincided with a “class” of students of exceptional character and talent Eli Brennan, Alessandra Beasley, Zachary Furness, Jessica Mudry, Marcus Paroske, and David Cram-Helwich. Not untypical of graduate student life, I much of my education occurred with my peers at the bar or over the pool table than in the formal seminars.
The final draft of this manuscript, however, was produced in my Louisiana State University office, which looks out on the beautiful quad lined by live oaks that were planted here in 1928, the year the Communication Department was founded. It is an honor to be a part of a long tradition of rhetoric at LSU, a tradition represented at its best by the same Andy King who still “walks the land” here in Baton Rouge and on campus. In large part through his example and leadership, a sense of community that remains rare in the modern university exists here. Finally, then, I would like to recognize my colleagues and Andy King for their incredible support of my research since I arrived here in 2006. As any professional scholar quickly realizes, the myth of the heroic scholar is wholly a fantasy; the only people who still believe that are those who work in a lonely world. Genuine scholarship arises out of an interaction between a scholar and his or her professional, cultural, and natural environment. Thus I am fortunate to have landed once again on fertile soil.
The end of democracy is a radical end. For it is an end that has not been adequately realized in any country at any time. It is radical because it requires great change in existing social institutions, economic, legal and cultural. . . . There is, moreover, nothing more radical than insistence upon democratic methods as the means by which radical social changes be effected. . . .It is easy to understand why those who are in close contact with the inequities and tragedies of life that mark the present system, and who are aware that we now have the resources for initiating a social system of security and opportunity for all, should be impatient and long for the overthrow of the existing system by any means whatever. But democratic means and the attainment of democratic ends are one and inseparable. The revival of democratic faith as a buoyant, crusading and militant faith is a consummation to be devoutly wished for. But the crusade can win at the best but partial victory unless it springs from a living faith in our common human nature and in the power of voluntary action based on collective intelligence. 1
Rhetoric is the radical expression of a radical faith. Dewey calls this faith “democratic,” but democracy is merely its political manifestation. The faith that makes both rhetoric and democracy radical is the faith in the constitutive and communicative power of art unfettered. 2 A truly radical art thus eschews both the elitism of aristocratic metaphysics and the easy radicalisms of mass culture, which wallow in the shallow sensa

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